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Ration boxes on top of a ridge, above a sprawling tent city in Port-au-Prince
Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are now living in tents, dependent on rationsImage: AP

Emergency relief aid

January 24, 2010

Germany is to allocate an extra five million euros to help the Haiti earthquake relief effort. Meanwhile, aid workers in Port-au-Prince pulled alive a man from the rubble after the search for survivors was declared over.


In an interview with the weekly Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Development Minister Dirk Niebel (FDP) said aid was needed to improve living conditions for the survivors of the January 12 quake, which the Haitian government now says has claimed 120,000 lives.

Niebel said the additional money would pay for around 1,500 emergency housing units with sanitary facilities and running water. As many as 160 of these units, which can house up to eight people, could be built each week with the help of United Nations staff, the minister said.

German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel
German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk NiebelImage: dpa

The extra funds take Berlin's direct contribution to the aid effort to 15 million euros ($21 million). Germany has also contributed 66 million euros to aid released by the European Union, while a television appeal raised a further 20 million euros in public donations in the space of 24 hours.

Aid organizations estimate that one in three of Haiti's nine million inhabitants urgently need assistance and will continue to do so for some time afterwards. "We could be here around the clock for the next six months and it would still not be enough," said a US soldier in Port-au-Prince, who was distributing humanitarian aid.

Another survivor rescued

The United Nations says Haiti's government has declared the search and rescue phase for survivors of last week's earthquake over. International efforts are now concentrating on providing food and shelter to hundreds of thousands of people who are camped out in the streets.

But hours after the search for survivors was declared over, Greek, French and US rescue teams pulled alive 24-year-old Wismond Exantus from the debris of a ruined hotel in Port-au-Prince.

The rescue operation lasted two-and-a-half-hours.

On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered in the ruins of a wrecked Catholic cathedral to honor Haiti's archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, and others, who were killed in the devastating earthquake. President Rene Preval was among the mourners, in a rare public appearance since the magnitude seven quake struck on January 12.

A shanty town on the edge of Port-au-Princes which was heavily damaged by the earthquake.
Shanty towns in and around Port-au-Princes have been devastated by the quakeImage: AP

The UN World Food Program said Saturday it had scaled up its food aid to quake survivors, and distributed two million meals on Friday, up from 1.2 million on Thursday. The head of the UN's World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, said on Saturday that it was the most complex aid operation in the history of the organization.

"We are getting the job done, even if we wish we could do more, quicker," the agency's executive director Josette Sheeran said.

Transatlantic fundraiser

A global benefit for Earthquake Relief hosted by George Clooney
US celebrities like George Clooney mobilized to help the fundraisingImage: AP

Hollywood film star George Clooney led a galaxy of stars on Friday in a telethon fundraiser for quake victims broadcast across every major US television network.

Around 130 celebrities participated in the telethon fundraiser which was broadcast by music channel MTV, the line-up for the "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon included Madonna, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay and Jennifer Hudson.

"The Haitian people need our help. They need to know they are not alone," Clooney told the national audience.


Editor: Mark Hallam

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