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Haitians grapple with survival

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Haitians grapple with survival


The aid may be starting to flow in quantities that will make a difference, but for many Haitians the only thing on their minds is how to get out of the shattered capital.

It is all adding to the transport pressure on the creaking infrastructure, but it is clear many prefer the uncertainties of the countryside and family members there than the potential dangers in Port au Prince.

Those staying have to brave health problems and shortages of water, shelter and food.

The grim task of burying the dead continues apace. So many people have been killed in this disaster — the UN estimates 75,000, but some say it could be 200,000 — that there is no longer any question of individual ceremonies, and mass graves are the only solution, especially as disease could spread if the corpses are not disposed of soon.

The capital’s port is reopening, which will improve the availability of supplies no end, although getting things to Haiti is still less of a problem than getting things around the country.

Many people are now finding refuge in tented towns that are springing up everywhere. No-one knows how long they will have to live in these places, but it seems likely it will be for a long time.

The US air force is pitching in to get round the distribution problems, dropping tons of supplies from the air, drawing vast crowds who scan the skies for the first signs of aid.

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