Don't miss




Apology accepted? Facebook's European charm offensive

Read more


Trade truce: US-China tensions cool, but is a trade war still possible?

Read more


Viva Technology conference opens in Paris as Macron seeks French dominance

Read more


Does the NFL's new ultimatum on kneeling pander to Donald Trump?

Read more


What's in a name? France moves to protect regional term for chocolate croissant

Read more


Macron and Kagame meet to repair strained ties over Rwandan genocide

Read more


Remembering Philip Roth

Read more


Film show: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story', 'Angel Face' and 'Peeping Tom'

Read more


Iraq: Children of Fallujah try to rebuild their lives

Read more


7,000 buried in mass grave as foreign aid starts pouring in

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-01-15

Haiti’s President Rene Preval said 7,000 victims of Tuesday’s earthquake have already been buried in a mass grave. A large international aid operation is underway to rescue the tens of thousands of Haitians still trapped under the rubble.

A massive aid operation is underway in Haiti with dozens of international rescue teams and thousands of military personnel converging on the quake-hit Caribbean island. Even as the various teams arrive, the islanders buried 7000 of their dead in a mass grave, indicating just how difficult the task ahead will be.   

Troops and planeloads of food and medical supplies are headed to assist stricken Haitians, still rattled by aftershocks from the massive earthquake that flattened homes, government buildings and buried countless people.

The US is leading relief efforts with 3,500 soldiers and 300 medical personnel while President Barack Obama underlined the effort by promising Haitians they would not be forgotten and by setting aside 100 million dollars in immediate aid.


Securing the relief effort


The Pentagon, meanwhile, is sending an aircraft carrier and three amphibious ships, including one that can carry up to 2,000 Marines. About 100 troops are scheduled to arrive "some time this evening" in Haiti, US army spokesman Gary Tallman told the AFP.

Foreign troops may be badly needed to ensure the safety of the main relief effort as the quake has rendered local authorities ineffective.

On Thursday, looters swarmed a supermarket in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince, brazenly taking away electronic equipment and bags of rice. Yet others were seen siphoning gasoline from a wrecked tanker. The main prison in Port-au-Prince also collapsed, allowing dangerous criminals to escape.

“The authorities that existed before the earthquake are not able to fully function. We’re going to try to support them as they re-establish authority,” US secretary of States Hillary Clinton told CNN.


Logistics nightmare


The logistics of relief efforts has also been complicated by the scale of the devastation. The local UN mission paid a heavy price in the earthquake, with at least 36 UN staffers confirmed dead in the collapse of the mission headquarters and more than 200 foreign staff still unaccounted for.

“In a traditional setting, either the country or the UN would be leading the efforts because they have the local knowledge to say what roads can be used, which logistical resources can be put at hand. But in this case, both actors have been heavily hit by the damage,” Rolando Tomasini, of the Humanitarian Research Group at the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) said in an interview with FRANCE 24.


The international community has pledged millions of dollars in emergency funds to bolster rescue operations, deal with the massive devastation, and help rebuild the country, which has long been plagued by unrest, crime, and natural disasters.


Unable to cope


Haiti has been unable to cope on its own with the scale of the disaster. "All the morgues are full, the hospitals are overflowing, there is not enough medicine," Haitian President Rene Preval said on Thursday, stressing his country's need for immediate international aid.

Preval also confirmed that 7,000 victims have already been buried in a mass grave.

Haitians slept outside in streets and parks for a second night, fearful of more aftershocks following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that tore through their capital, Port-au-Prince.

Streets were still lined with bodies of the dead and injured after the earthquake ripped apart the city and brought many of its most prominent buildings -including the presidential palace and

UN headquarters- crashing down, The hillside shanties where many live offered little resistance as the quake ravaged Porte-au-Prince.

The Haitian Red Cross said it believed 45,000 to 50,000 people had died and 3 million more were hurt or left homeless. In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive the number of dead could eventually reach "well over 100,000".

Date created : 2010-01-15


    Where to find the latest information on the earthquake

    Read more


    International community rallies to aid quake-struck Haitians

    Read more


    Twitter tells the story of devastation following quake

    Read more