Aid Begins to Arrive as Red Cross Estimates 50,000 Deaths in Haiti
01/14/2010 - 12:10 ||
Planes are descending on Haiti as a number of nations send supplies, relief workers and aid to the devastated country. In a speech this morning, President Obama pledged $115 million to help the ravaged island nation and promised more to come as he tapped former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to help with fundraising efforts. But he also warned that it would take time, "maybe days" for Haitians to feel the full scope of the U.S. relief efforts on the ground. Most of the aid being sent to Haiti has been delivered through the Dominican Republic, since Haiti's capital city and airport have been destroyed.
Port-au-Prince remains a chaotic scene, with nearly its entire population now homeless and lifeless bodies lining the streets. A Red Cross official on Thursday estimated that 50,000 lost their lives in the deadly earthquake, a number Haitian president Rene Preval seemed to agree with. But Sen. Youri Latortue told The Associated Press that the number of fatalities could possibly reach 500,000, while admitting that it was impossible to tell just yet. "Let's say that it's too early to give a number," Preval said told CNN. Victor Jackson, an assistant national coordinator with Haiti's Red Cross, told Reuters, "We also think there are 3 million people affected throughout the country, either injured or homeless."
Haiti is desperately in need of medical supplies and doctors as people continue to be pulled from the rubble of what was once the capital city. All of the area hospitals have collapsed, including the three run by Doctor's without Borders, who have also reported many of its doctors missing.
"Help is arriving. Much, much more help is on the way," Obama said, acknowledging that "none of this will seem quick enough if you have a loved one who is trapped, if you're sleeping on the streets, if you can't feed your children."
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