Three million Haitians affected by earthquake

The International Red Cross has said three million people - a third of Haiti's population - have been affected by the earthquake.

The international body also estimates that between 40,000 to 50,000 people have been killed in the massive quake.

 

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake which hit Haiti - the poorest nation in the western hemisphere - on Tuesday flattened hillsides, knocked out communication systems, blocked roads, and rendered Haiti's main seaport unusable.

 

Rescue and relief workers have arrived and begun the grim task of recovering the dead and dying from the rubble.

 

Aid workers hoping to distribute food, water and other supplies to Port-au-Prince are warning their efforts may need more security as Haitians grow increasingly desperate and impatient for help.

 

United Nations peacekeepers patrolling the capital said people's anger is rising that aid hasn't been distributed quickly, and the Brazilian military warned aid convoys to add security to guard against looting.

 

President Barack Obama said he had dispatched U.S. troops and ships to Haiti to assist in earthquake rescue and recovery efforts.

 

Obama also said the United States would spend $100 million for immediate relief efforts, Reuters reported.

 

From Europe, Asia and the Americas, more than 20 governments, the UN and private aid groups were sending planeloads of high-energy biscuits and other food, tons of water, tents, blankets, water-purification gear, heavy equipment for removing debris, helicopters and other transport, the Associated Press reported.

 

The UN World Food Program began organizing distribution centers for food and water Thursday, said Kim Bolduc, acting chief of the large UN mission in this desperately poor country.

 

Bolduc said it was remarkable there were no widespread reports of looting, but added that "the risk of having social unrest very soon" made it important to move quickly.

 

Families struggle to bury dead

 

Some of the dead in this shattered city line the roads. Others are carried into the hills for quick burials.

 

The living and the dead share the same space - the sidewalks, the public plazas, the hospitals, according to the Washington Post.

 

The living are frightened of being inside in case another earthquake hits; the dead are everywhere.

 

For now, few know what to do with the bodies. People say they're being left on roadsides and doorsteps so relatives who may have survived can find them, or for families to find transportation for burials.

 

PA/PA

END

MNA

 

News Code 38004

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