"Bloodied" Haiti And Donors Look At Recovery Plans

Authorities have said they are looking to relocate at least 400,000 survivors — now sheltering in more than 400 sprawling makeshift camps across the wrecked city — in temporary refugee settlements, initially tent villages, outside Port-au-Prince.

“We have to evacuate the streets and relocate the people. That is the most important for us,” Communications Minister Marie Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue told Reuters. “We hope we will be able to start at the end of the week.

Health Minister Alex Larsen said 1 million Haitians had been displaced from their homes in the Port-au-Prince area. The government had tents for 400,000 to be used in the new, temporary settlements, but would need more.

Almost daily aftershocks have shaken the shattered coastal capital since the January 12 quake that killed up to 200,000, raising the possibility the city eventually might have to be rebuilt on a safer location, away from dangerous geological fault lines.

Nearly two weeks after the massive magnitude-7.0 quake demolished swaths of Port-au-Prince and other Haitian cities, a huge U.S.-led international relief operation is struggling to feed, house and care for hundreds of thousands of hungry, homeless survivors, many of them injured.

Facing persistent complaints by desperate survivors that tons of aid flown in was not reaching them on the ground, U.S. troops, U.N. peacekeepers and aid workers have widened and intensified the distribution of food and water.

In Montreal on Monday, a Canadian-hosted meeting of foreign donors pondered how to move from immediate humanitarian relief for Haiti to long-term reconstruction of a country that even before the quake was the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner are among those attending the one-day meeting, which Canadian officials said would not likely emerge with a total of pledged aid but rather a clearer idea of what the needs are.


A magnitude 4.7 aftershock rattled nerves in the capital on Sunday evening, but there were no immediate reports of new damage. Haiti has been hit by a number of aftershocks since the big quake struck on January 12.

In Port-au-Prince, survivors at a large camp in the Delmas section said the rice and cooking oil handed out there were far from enough to go around.

“If you cannot fight, you cannot get anything,” said a petite 19-year-old named Darling.

The magnitude 7 quake killed up to 200,000 people, Haitian authorities said, and left up to 3 million hurt or homeless and pleading for medical aid, food and water in nightmarish conditions in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.

In addition to the logistic challenges, there were concerns about security for food distribution operations, following the widespread looting of wrecked buildings in Port-au-Prince in the days following the quake.

U.N. troops brandished sticks to try to control an unruly crowd jostling for food at a hand-out near the seaport on Sunday. But when a truck of armed soldiers arrived, the sight of their guns was enough to persuade the crowd to form two lines, and the distribution proceeded with no shots fired.

World Food Program officials estimated some aid had reached more than two-thirds of the survivor camps.
At Titayen, on a plain about six miles (10 km) north of the capital, trucks were still arriving daily bringing bodies for burial in a mass grave.

Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told the Montreal meeting that donors stood ready to help, but basic questions about the recovery strategy first needed be thrashed out.

“There’s the question, for example, of whether we’ll rebuild on the present site of Port-au-Prince,” Cannon told CBC television, citing the threat of future quakes.

Haitian authorities said last week they initially planned to move, with the aid of foreign partners, a first wave of 100,000 survivors to tent villages of 10,000 each at Croix Des Bouquets, just northeast of Port-au-Prince.

The Pan American Health Organisation has said there has so far been no sign of a feared outbreak of contagious disease among the survivors.

Some of the food handouts in the capital have turned unruly, forcing U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police to fire shots in the air to restore order.

World Food Program officials estimated some aid had reached more than two-thirds of the survivor camps.

Before the quake hit, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and several lending nations had already forgiven a great deal of Haiti’s debt, simply on the grounds of need.

Last week, Haiti’s neighbour on the island of Hispaniola, Dominican Republic, proposed to donors the creation of a $10 billion, five-year assistance program for Haiti.

Bellerive said in Montreal the government had received signals a quake might be coming. “We must admit that our geological technicians had warned us of the possibility of an earthquake but dealing with social conflicts, such as the fight against poverty, meant we didn’t have the time or the means to take the measures needed to limit the damage,” he said. Reuters