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Haitians flee capital as relief efforts step up in quake zone

Marie Carida, 84, awaits care outside a hospital in Port-au-Prince on Friday after family members rescued her.

Associated Press

Marie Carida, 84, awaits care outside a hospital in Port-au-Prince on Friday after family members rescued her.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — By boat or by bus, by bicycle and on foot, earthquake survivors streamed away from this city and its landscape of desolation Friday and into Haiti's hinterlands and the unknown.

The government and international agencies searched for sites to build tent cities on Port-au-Prince's outskirts to shelter hundreds of thousands of the homeless before springtime's onslaught of floods and hurricanes.

"We need to get people out of the sun and elements," U.N. spokesman Nicholas Reader said as relief teams worked to deliver food, water and medical aid to the population, estimated at 1 million, sprawled over some 600 settlements around the rubble-strewn capital and in the quake zone beyond.

Into this bleak picture Friday came stunning word of rescues from beneath the ruins, 10 days after the killer quake.

An Israeli search team pulled a 21-year-old man from a crevasse in the rubble of what had been a two-story home. Emmannuel Buso, a student and tailor, said he survived the ordeal in part by drinking his urine. Doctors said he is expected to make a full recovery.

"I am here today because God wants it," Buso told the Associated Press from his bed at an Israeli field hospital.

Earlier Friday, an 84-year-old woman was said by relatives to have been pulled from the wreckage of her home, according to doctors administering oxygen and intravenous fluids to her at the General Hospital. They said they had little hope she would live.

The rescues came two days after many international search teams began packing up their gear.

The 7.0-magnitude quake struck Jan. 12 and killed an estimated 200,000 people, according to Haitian government figures cited by the European Commission.

Now, as many as 200,000 have fled the city of 2 million, the U.S. Agency for International Development reported, citing a Haitian survey of bus stations and of sources in destination towns.


• Scores of aid organizations stepped up deliveries of food, water, medical supplies and other aid to the homeless and needy of Port-au-Prince.

• U.N. officials said most surviving supermarkets would reopen next week, and cell phone service should be fully restored by today, with 40 banks also reopening.

• The U.S. military, whose 2,000 troops on the ground have helped speed aid, reported steady progress overcoming obstacles to relief.

• The United States formally obtained broad military authority to control all air and sea ports and to secure roads in support of relief efforts, according to an agreement signed in Haiti by the United States and the United Nations. The Americans are to focus on delivering aid, while the United Nations handles peacekeeping.

Information from the New York Times and Washington Post was used in this report.

Haitians flee capital as relief efforts step up in quake zone 01/22/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 22, 2010 11:04pm]
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