World mobilises to provide Haiti aid

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Around three million people need emergency help in the wake of Haiti's devastating earthquake, the Red Cross said today.

Barack Obama vowed "unwavering support". The US President told reporters he had directed his administration to provide swift, coordinated help to save lives.



In the UK, the Prime Minister promised emergency aid for Haiti today after an earthquake there was thought to have cost the lives of thousands of people. Gordon Brown told the Commons: "Because of the devastating earthquake overnight, Haiti has moved to the centre of the world's thoughts and the world's compassion.



"The Government will respond with emergency aid in firefighters, emergency equipment and finance. And we'll give further support to help the people of Haiti recover from this devastating event."



The quake's epicentre was only 10 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince. That, together with Haiti's crumbling infrastructure, still makes it impossible to gauge how many people might be dead or wounded.

"There's probably three million people potentially affected," said a spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, basing the estimate on Haiti's population of 10 million and previous experience in earthquake relief.

"Port-au-Prince has been massively impacted," he said. "There are many, many people trapped in the rubble."

The neighbouring Haitian cities of Carrefour and Jacmel may also be heavily damaged.

The organisation said Haiti's disaster relief teams were "completely overwhelmed."

The first airlifts to Haiti were concentrating on search and rescue efforts, setting up makeshift hospitals and delivering food.

The US, Britain, France, Canada, Germany, China, Mexico and Venezuela pledged immediate support in terms of personnel, cash and supplies.

One of the first teams expected to arrive in Haiti was 37 search and rescue specialists from Iceland, along with 10 tons of rescue equipment.

French rescue authorities said 65 rubble-clearing specialists and six sniffer dogs were leaving for Haiti, while Spain was rushing three planes with at least 100 tons of tents, blankets and cooking kits. Israel was sending an elite Army rescue unit of engineers and medics.

Some aid flights from Europe were delayed by heavy snow. A plane with 64 firefighters and rescue dogs was grounded temporarily at Gatwick airport.

Spain said it would provide £3 million, the Netherlands pledged £2 million, Germany, £1 million and China, £600,000.

UN officials were struggling to assess the scale of the disaster amid badly damaged communication networks and were working with aid agency Telecoms Sans Frontieres to get phone lines working again.

There was no electricity in the capital and roads were filled with rubble and debris.

Irish telecommunications company Digicel said it was donating 5 million dollars to aid agencies working in Haiti. The company - a major mobile phone operator in the Caribbean - also was sending specialists there to help repair the damaged phone network.

UN agencies and Red Cross societies were trying to send in teams and aid from their regional hub in Panama, while USAID was mobilising experts and two urban rescue units.

If aid cannot travel over the airport road to the Haitian capital it may be rerouted through the Dominican Republic, said the World Food Programme official. It planned to airlift 86 tons of high-energy biscuits from El Salvador, enough to feed 30,000 people for a week.

The Christian aid organisation World Vision, which has 400 staff in Haiti, said it would immediately distribute the hurricane relief supplies it had stored there.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions