In Port-au-Prince, despair threatens to turn into anger

While the planes land, the voices are silent, little by little under the rubble of Port-au-Prince. International aid arrives at the gates of the capital, but time flies and chaos threatens to settle.

Several observed that the atmosphere is responsible for anger. People move, looking haggard. The CEO of World Vision, Johanne Depelteau, that Le Devoir was attached to Port-au-Prince by telephone, said that « aggressive rises in view of the lack of food. This does not improve until there is not a massive arrival of commodities.  »

In the streets, victims wander among the ruins, violence and corpses. Many people have still received no help.

The military doctors and rescuers begin a race against anarchy and death, hour by hour, gaining ground on hope. The port is still unusable and roads clogged with debris and cracked, slow deployment of emergency teams.

The balance of the earthquake on Tuesday could reach 200 000 people, yesterday told Reuters the Haitian Minister of Interior, Paul Antoine Bien-Aime. « We have already collected about 50 000 bodies and we expect there to be a total of between 100 000 and 200 000 deaths, even if we never know the exact number, » he said. The divergent sources vary between 50 000 and 200 000 people. With 300 000 wounded and 2 million homeless estimated survivor in unsanitary conditions, the fatal breakdown threatens to grow.

On the threshold of chaos

Images showing small groups of youths armed with machetes began circulating yesterday. « They take everything. What can we do? « Asked a reporter from the AP Michel Gros, who waited outside his house that assists to release, dead or alive, seven members of his family trapped in the debris.

Secretary of State for Public Security, Aramick Louis, told Reuters the gangs had begun to invest the capital in ruins. « People in refugee camps can not find food and assistance and are angry. Our message is to stay calm.  »

In protest, some have erected barricades of body blocking the streets of some quadrilaterals, shows a photographer from Time magazine. « We run the risk of riots, feared the Brazilian Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim.

Maintaining public order rests on the shoulders of the 3000 police and UN troops.

The director of World Vision said it lacks everything: food, water, gasoline, but also heavy machinery to accelerate the search for victims alive. Ms. Depelteau tells also that 62 people were trapped under the rubble of a grocery store. « These people are still alive. They are in contact with the outside. They have air, water and food, but it will not last ad infinitum. It would take heavy equipment to clear them, « laments she said.

Survivors are still dug up from the ruins and feed hope. French services say they have identified 30 people in 24 hours. Between despair and violence, religious songs emerge as spontaneously silence.

It is also urgent to rid the streets of corpses that litter. At least 15 000 bodies had already been deposited in mass graves. Secretary of State of Haiti to the Public Safety even talk of 40 000 planted.

Across the country, the survivors wait for aid, some in more remote areas, burning of SOS to the sand beaches. Tent camps housing thousands of refugees, but « can not cook, can not do anything, » said one nurse.

By Monday, 9,000 10 000 military U.S. will lend a hand to the UN and other agencies on site, themselves hard hit by the earthquake.

Aid that is organized slowly

After the confusion and overload occurred at the airport in Port-au-Prince yesterday, the U.S. military took control of the terminal without a control tower or radar, where the soldiers landed material in front of hundreds of Haitians and foreigners who hope to escape.

A first field hospital set up by the Belgians, was overwhelmed with wounded from the opening yesterday afternoon. According to Doctors Without Borders, hundreds of people waiting for surgery.

The U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is on the horizon, with some of the 600 000 food rations and 100 000 liters of water promised by the Americans. It has three operating rooms and should serve as a floating base for helicopters.

« We realize that Haiti needs more aid. Much more. And we will continue to provide « promised U.S. President, Barack Obama, in a press briefing after talks on the phone with the Haitian president, René Préval. The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton will visit the site tomorrow to show support to the Haitian people and see the extent of damage.

The United Nations announced yesterday that its secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, would go to Haiti tomorrow to assess humanitarian needs and appealed to the international community to raise 562 million U.S. dollars, intended to help Haitians . Approximately 270 million has been pledged to date.


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