Haiti Ends Search-And-Rescue Efforts


haiti-quakeHaiti’s government has halted search and rescue operations and hope of finding people alive is dwindling rapidly after the massive earthquake that rocked the poor Caribbean country, the United Nations said yesterday.

“Hope is vanishing now, though we could still have miracles,” said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “The government has declared the search and rescue operations over.”

Aid was flowing in to Haiti but was still not being distributed quickly enough to feed and shelter all those left hungry and destitute by the 7.0 magnitude quake that rocked Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12 and killed up to 200,000 people. Ms. Byrs said search and rescue teams have saved 132 people but the focus was now turning to medical assistance for survivors and finding bodies.

OCHA said the huge number of people with untreated injuries remained a concern though more aid was getting through. It said while the security situation remained stable, there was still potential for unrest.

A UN team with heavy equipment, which can move concrete slabs, was remaining in Haiti to help recover bodies, Ms. Byrs said.

“The search and rescue teams have extracted survivors and also bodies,” Ms. Byrs said.

{Globe and Mail/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}