| 7.3°C Dublin

The next 48 hours 'critical', says Goal

An Irish aid worker in Haiti warned today that the next 48 hours are going to be "critical" for survivors without food, water and shelter.

Civil engineer Darren Hanniffy, of Goal, spoke of quake survivors sharing the streets with the bodies of the victims in Port-au-Prince.

Virtually every house was damaged beyond repair, said Mr Hanniffy, who is in Haiti to assess how Goal, and its partner agency, Haven, can help those in most urgent need.

"The capital has been devastated," he said. "There are bodies lying on the side of the street and collection teams are piling them high on trucks.

Water and food are already getting scarce, the hospital has been flattened and people are afraid to go back to what is left of their homes, he added.

Appealing

"It's going to need a massive response from the international community. The next 48 hours are going to be critical," Mr Hanniffy told RTE radio's Morning Ireland programme today. "The response needs to happen immediately."

Goal, along with other Irish aid organisations, is appealing to the Irish public for donations.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that 18 Irish citizens working in Haiti have all been accounted for.

Catholic missionary organisation Viatores Christi, which recruits, trains and places long term volunteers in areas of need overseas, said two of its members, Maeve Bracken, originally from Co Offaly but based in Dublin with An Bord Bia, and Gena Heraty, from Co Mayo, were "well" after the earthquake.

Gena, from Carrarevaugh, Liscarney, Westport, went to Haiti 16 years ago after training with Viatories Christi. She later began working for the NPH charity Little Brothers and Sisters, which cares for orphans.

Aid worker Conor Murphy said he slept on a tennis court after the quake.

"It is just widespread damage and a lot of chaos at the moment. It is very grim, very, very grim," he told Newstalk.

Among other Irish accounted for were Digicel workers, the mobile phone group owned by Denis O'Brien, and Trocaire workers. Mr O'Brien said two of his non-Irish staff had died.

The Haven charity, which builds houses for poor people, said it would redouble efforts to get 250 volunteers to Haiti in April for its Build It Week.

mlavery@herald.ie


Privacy