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Pace of aid criticized as Haiti prays for its dead

Haitians surrounded by the destruction of Tropical Storm Jeanne prayed for the 1,500 dead during church services Sunday and gave thanks their lives were spared, while the United Nations rushed more peacekeepers in to stem looting in the ravaged city of Gonaives.

Gen. Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, the Brazilian army commander in charge of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Haiti, criticized the slow pace of relief reaching residents, many of whom have not eaten in five days or more.

"The situation remains critical," he said in an interview with the official Agencia Brasil. "Even those who were not directly affected are going hungry without enough water and are suffering from a shortage of medicine and medical assistance because the government infrastructure was already weak and, after this tragedy, is virtually nonexistent."

Pereira said many people were suffering from diarrhea while others, many of them children, were contracting gangrene. Amputations were being performed under horrendous conditions, he said.

Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue said Saturday the storm that ravaged Haiti last week killed at least 1,500 people.

On Sunday, the civil defense agency's Abel Nazaire said more bodies were recovered from debris in Gonaives on Sunday, raising the number of confirmed dead to 1,330. More than 2,600 were injured, and 1,056 are missing.

Nazaire acknowledged that many of the missing can be presumed dead _ washed out to sea or under the rubble of collapsed homes in areas still inaccessible.

Some 300,000 people are homeless from the storm, including about 200,000 in Gonaives.

Latortue said the government was drawing up plans to evacuate some of the tens of thousands of homeless people to a tent camp.

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