Posted by: CCHadmin@1 | January 22, 2010

New quake jolts Haiti

PANICKED Haitians screamed as a powerful earthquake shook the devastated capital region overnight, as one aid agency claimed lack of proper medical care was costing 20,000 lives a day.

In an urgent bulletin posted Tuesday on its website, Partners in Health said: “TENS OF THOUSANDS OF EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS NEED EMERGENCY SURGICAL CARE NOW!!!!! Our medical director has estimated that 20,000 people are dying each day who could be saved by surgery.”

The statement, which didn’t give the basis for the estimate, said the death toll and incidence of gangrene and other deadly infections would keep rising “unless a massive effort is made to open and staff more operating rooms and to deliver essential equipment and supplies”.

Residents poured onto the streets last night after a new tremor estimated at magnitude 6.1 shook the region.

The January 12 quake was rated at magnitude 7.0 and is said to have killed between 100,000 and 200,000 people.

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The epicentre was west of Port-au-Prince, which was razed by last week’s devastating quake.

Witnesses reported a low vibration and then a thunderous rumbling but there was no immediate sign of significant new damage.

There have been a series of big aftershocks since January 12 but rescuers have kept up their search and have been elated by their success in finding survivors who defied the quake’s deadly odds.

Hoteline Losana, 25, was found in the wreckage of a supermarket yesterday only hours after Anna Zizi, who is about 70, sang as she was carried out of the ruins of Port-au-Prince cathedral. A three-week-old baby girl, Elisabeth, was dug out of rubble in the city of Jacmel.

Ms Losana was said to be “conscious and in good form” by Thiery Cerdan of the French group Rescuers Without Borders, which carried out the nine-hour operation with Haitian firemen and American experts.

She had been in an apartment over a supermarket when the quake struck on January 12. Rescuers said she had no food or water, could barely move, and owed her survival to the position in which she was stuck.

“We pulled someone out seven days after an earthquake, that is quite extraordinary,” said Bruno Besson, another member of the French team.

Hours earlier, Mexican firefighters rescued Ms Zizi from under the ruins of the Roman Catholic cathedral.

“It seems rescuers were communicating with her and managing to get water to her through a tube. She was singing when she emerged,” Sarah Wilson, of British charity Christian Aid, said.

Some of the rescuers were so overcome that they started crying.

Baby Elisabeth was found alive in a house in Jacmel in southern Haiti, again after surviving for a week without food, French radio reported today.

French rescuers found the 23-day-old girl in a hollow beneath the ruins after spending five hours trying to get through to her, France Inter station said, adding she was mainly unhurt and had been taken to an American field hospital.

The United Nations said 121 people had been rescued by international teams in the past week and that there were still hopes of finding more.

But Major General Daniel Allyn, deputy commander of the military operation in Haiti, said US forces would soon switch the focus of the operation to recovering bodies rather than looking for survivors.

The Haitian government gave a latest toll of 75,000 dead, with another 250,000 injured and more than a million left homeless.

US troops fanned out across the ruined capital, where the pace of the relief operation has heightened street tensions.

Camped out under makeshift tents among the rubble, survivors faced a desperate hunt for food and water. For many looting was the only way.

“Look, when you are hungry and poor, nobody helps, you have to steal,” a defiant young man named Vincent said, as people plunged into the ruins of a flattened supermarket.

Yesterday, US paratroopers secured the ruined presidential palace, now surrounded by a squalid refugee camp. About 100 marched to Port-au-Prince’s general hospital, which is swamped with injured.

US Marines also landed southwest of Port-au-Prince to link up with UN peacekeepers before more troops and equipment arrive.

State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said there were 12,000 troops in or around Haiti, with about 2,200 Marines and sailors also expected to take part in the relief operation.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously to send 3,500 extra UN troops and police to Haiti to help maintain order and protect aid convoys.

Relatives said that Haitian police killed a 15-year-old girl, Fabienne Cherisma, while firing warning shots over looters in the capital.

Some witnesses in the angry crowd, including the girl’s father, said a policeman aimed deliberately at the girl, while others spoke of a warning shot that went astray.

The US deputy military commander, General Allyn, said there were now about 200 daily flights into the capital’s damaged airport, and that two more airstrips, in the coastal city of Jacmel and in San Isidro in neighbouring Dominican Republic, would be in use by tomorrow.

In a huge global effort, more than $US1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) has been pledged in aid funding for Haiti, according to UN data.

International efforts are also focusing on rebuilding the country, with a major donor conference set for Tuesday in Montreal.

PANICKED Haitians screamed as a powerful earthquake shook the devastated capital region overnight, as one aid agency claimed lack of proper medical care was costing 20,000 lives a day.

In an urgent bulletin posted Tuesday on its website, Partners in Health said: “TENS OF THOUSANDS OF EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS NEED EMERGENCY SURGICAL CARE NOW!!!!! Our medical director has estimated that 20,000 people are dying each day who could be saved by surgery.”

The statement, which didn’t give the basis for the estimate, said the death toll and incidence of gangrene and other deadly infections would keep rising “unless a massive effort is made to open and staff more operating rooms and to deliver essential equipment and supplies”.

Residents poured onto the streets last night after a new tremor estimated at magnitude 6.1 shook the region.

The January 12 quake was rated at magnitude 7.0 and is said to have killed between 100,000 and 200,000 people.


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