Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
As Haitians complain about slow and unsatisfactory delivery of aid, scores of the disaster’s victims remain unburied and concerns rise among medical teams about the spread of diseases.
Doctors have already issued warnings about the threats of tetanus and gangrene as well as the spread of measles, meningitis and other infections.
The number of injuries from last week’s 7.0 magnitude quake that smashed much of the capital Port-au-Prince has not yet been identified. Moreover, according to Haitian officials, the death toll is likely to climb to 200,000 as more bodies are recovered.
Haitian President Rene Preval has urged the international community to focus not just on immediate aid but also on the long-term development of the impoverished Caribbean nation.
“We cannot just heal the wounds of the earthquake. We must develop the economy, agriculture, education, health and reinforce democratic institutions,” Reuters quoted Preval as saying.
Six days after the disaster, rescue teams from across the globe continue to search for victims trapped under collapsed buildings and other rubble. Tens of thousands are still believed buried.
Jon Andrus of the Pan American Health Organization, the Americas arm of the World Health Organization, said Monday that many survivors are suffering from multiple fractures and internal injuries.
In Haiti, where AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are rampant, children are malnourished and hygiene is already a challenge.
“By any stretch of the imagination it is going to be incredibly difficult. The population in Haiti was already vulnerable and faced enormous health threats,” Andrus said.