Anger grows in quake-hit Haiti over aid delay

Last Updated 15 January 2010, 06:36 IST

Desperate Haitians set up roadblocks with corpses in Port-au-Prince on Thursday to demand quicker relief efforts after a massive earthquake killed tens of thousands and left countless others homeless.

Angry survivors staged the protest as international aid began arriving in the Haitian capital to help a nation traumatized by Tuesday's catastrophic earthquake that flattened homes and government buildings.

More than 48 hours after the disaster, tens of thousands of people clamoured for food and water and help digging out relatives still missing under the rubble.

Shaul Schwarz, a photographer for TIME magazine, said he saw at least two downtown roadblocks formed with bodies of earthquake victims and rocks.

"They are starting to block the roads with bodies. It's getting ugly out there. People are fed up with getting no help," he told Reuters.

The Haitian Red Cross said it believed 45,000 to 50,000 people had died and 3 million more -- one third of Haiti's population -- were hurt or left homeless by the major 7.0 magnitude quake that hit its impoverished capital on Tuesday.

The quake flattened buildings across entire hillsides and many people were still trapped alive in the rubble after two days, with little sign of organized rescue efforts.

"We have already buried 7,000 in a mass grave," President Rene Preval said.

Planes full of supplies arrived at Port-au-Prince airport faster than crews could unload them and aviation authorities were restricting non-emergency flights.

The influx of aid had yet to reach shellshocked Haitians who wandered the broken streets of Port-au-Prince, searching desperately for water, food and medical help.

Relief workers warned the death toll will rise quickly if tens of thousands of injured Haitians, many with broken bones and serious loss of blood, do not get first aid in the next day or so.

"The next 24 hours will be critical," said U.S. Coast Guard officer Paul Cormier, 54, a qualified emergency worker who runs an orphanage in Haiti and has triaged 300 people since Tuesday's disaster.

(Published 15 January 2010, 05:56 IST)

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