Residents are fleeing capital in hundreds of thousands
Published 23/01/2010 | 05:00
Haitians are fleeing their quake-ravaged capital by the hundreds of thousands, aid officials revealed last night.
Doctors said a 69-year-old woman was pulled from the wreckage of a building yesterday, 10 days after the magnitude-7.0 quake, but some teams were giving up the search and efforts focused on expanding aid for survivors.
Aid officials said some 200,000 people have crammed into buses, ferries and set out even on foot to escape the ruined capital. For those who stay, foreign engineers have started levelling land on the fringes of the city for tent cities, supposedly temporary, that are meant to house 400,000 people.
The goal is to halt the spread of disease at hundreds of impromptu settlements that have no water and no place for sewage. Homeless families have erected tarps and tents, cardboard and scrap as shelter from the sun, but they will be useless once the summer rainy season hits.
Doctors treating the newly rescued woman said she was in bad shape after being trapped for so long.
"There is very little hope, but we are trying to save her life," said Dr Ernest Benjamin, adding that she was being treated with oxygen and intravenous fluids at Haiti's General Hospital. The woman was the only person pulled alive from the rubble yesterday.
"We all hope that others have survived and can be found, but the more days that go by without signs of life, the dimmer these hopes will become," he said.
Armies of foreign aid donors, instead, turned their attention to expanding their pipeline of food, water and medical care for survivors.