PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti–(ENEWSPF)–18 Jan 2010 – The International Rescue Committee’s Emergency Response Team is on the ground in Haiti, joining other rescue workers delivering aid to hundreds of thousands of Haitians in desperate need of food, clean water and shelter.
On Sunday, the team visited 13 sites in the battered city of Port-au-Prince to assess damage and determine where to deliver humanitarian assistance.
Team leader Gillian Dunn said that damage to the city was “enormous and overwhelming,” with nearly every building badly damaged.
Dunn said dead bodies were still being pulled from the rubble even as search and rescue teams worked feverishly to find anyone still living. No one knows how many people have been killed, though some estimates number the dead at 150,000 to 200,000.
Six days after a devastating earthquake struck this island nation, tens of thousands of people are still living outdoors with little access to food or shelter.
“People are gathering in any public space, including parks and the sides of roads, and setting up makeshift tents using bed sheets and rope,” Dunn said. “At dusk, families place cinder blocks in the road to prevent traffic from coming through, then they their lay bed sheets down so they can sleep.”
Over the next few days, the IRC’s emergency team will be looking at the urgent and unmet needs of homeless families in Port-au-Prince and putting in place plans to provide clean water and sanitation, which are critical to preventing disease in the aftermath of the quake.
We are also deploying experts who will be addressing the special needs of traumatized children and women. Haitian women, who already suffer from deep poverty and inequality, have been especially hard hit by the disaster.
Text HAITI to 25383 to donate $5 to help the International Rescue Committee rescue lives.