Strong aftershock hits Haiti

Fear of violence and looting eases as troops secure aid deliveries
Last Updated 20 January 2010, 17:01 IST

The 6.1 aftershock rattled already shattered buildings but there was no immediate reports of damage from the tremor, which struck after daybreak. Fearing damage from aftershocks, thousands of people have been sleeping in streets in the capital Port-au-Prince since the January 12 earthquake.
The US Geological Survey said Wednesday’s tremor was centered 26 miles west-northwest of Jacmel.

Fears of violence and looting have eased in Haiti as US troops provided security for water and food aid deliveries, and thousands of displaced Haitians heeded the government’s advice to seek shelter outside Port-au-Prince.
Medical care, handling of corpses, shelter, water, food and sanitation remain the priorities for the international operations, UN relief officials said a week after the magnitude-7 quake.

While military escorts still are needed to deliver relief supplies, the UN said security problems were mainly in areas considered “high risk” before the January 12 quake. Some 4,000 criminals escaped from damaged prisons soon after the temblor hit. “The overall security situation in Port-au-Prince remains stable, with limited, localised violence and looting occurring,” the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
US Black Hawk helicopters swooped down on the grounds of Haiti’s wrecked presidential palace on Tuesday, deploying troops and supplies and immediately attracting crowds of survivors who clamoured for handouts of food.

In a bid to speed the arrival of aid and stem looting and violence, the UN Security Council this week unanimously agreed to temporarily add 2,000 UN troops and 1,500 police to the 9,000-member peacekeeping mission in Haiti. The World Food Programme, which has fed 200,000 quake victims, aims to move the equivalent of 10 million ready-to-eat meals in the next week, the United Nations said. An additional 130,000 have been fed by other relief groups.

Recue operations
Meanwile, search-and-rescue teams have emerged from the ruins with some improbable success stories — including the rescue of 69-year-old woman who said she prayed constantly during her week under the rubble.

Ena Zizi had been at a church meeting at the residence of Haiti’s Roman Catholic archbishop when the quake struck, trapping her in debris. On Tuesday, she was rescued by a Mexican disaster team.
Zizi said after the quake, she spoke back and forth with a vicar who also was trapped. But after a few days, he fell silent, and she spent the rest of the time praying and waiting.

Doctors who examined Zizi on Tuesday said she was dehydrated and had a dislocated hip and a broken leg.Elsewhere in the capital, two women were pulled from a destroyed university building. Authorities said close to 100 people had been pulled from wrecked buildings by international search-and-rescue teams on Tuesday.

(Published 20 January 2010, 17:01 IST)

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