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Americas

First-hand accounts from our special correspondent

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-01-17

FRANCE 24's special correspondents reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, give eyewitness accounts of the devastation.

January 17: Security concerns are adding to the difficulties that aid organisations are facing as they race to get much-needed food and medical supplies to those who need it.

FRANCE 24's special correspondent Melissa Bell filed this report at 10am Paris time (GMT+1) from the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

"The living conditions for the people living in the camps are very, very difficult, although some of the international aid that was so slow in making its way to those people has started to arrive and a few makeshift hospitals have been set up," she says.

"American rescue workers are still trying to dig out from the rubble – more than 100 hours after the earthquake – what survivors may be left. Still, they say, there is some hope. But as time passes those chances are falling."

"Elsewhere in the country, humanitarian aid is making its way very slowly – painfully slowly – to the people."

"People are still living in makeshift camps, still having difficulty having their wounds seen to, still having trouble getting access to food and water," Bell says. "Part of the reason for these difficulties has been the difficulty in coordinating humanitarian efforts because of the security concerns."

“Port-au-Prince is still in a state of complete anarchy, and it makes it hard to get to those most vulnerable.”

 

Reporting at 2pm Paris time (GMT+1), Bell says that “far, far too little” aid is getting through, despite the best efforts of the humanitarian agencies that have been landing “day in and day out” since Tuesday’s quake and the US military, which has deployed in force.

“The problem is the coordination of efforts, the problem is that there is no one on the other side, no effective Haitian government,” Bell says.

Many of the government ministers and civil servants who would normally be coordinating such efforts died in the earthquake themselves.

Aid agencies are “desperate to help, they can see the time ticking” away, Bell says, but there is simply too little organisation on the ground to help them get to where they are most needed.   

 

Date created : 2010-01-17

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