Sunday, January 24, 2010

Haiti to relocate 400,000 homeless outside capital

Haiti is planning to house 400,000 earthquake survivors in new tented villages outside the capital, Port-au-Prince, officials have announced.

Aime said 100,000 people would initially be sent to 10 settlements near the suburb of Croix Des Bouquets.

An estimated 1.5 million people were left homeless by the 7.0-magnitude quake, which killed as many as 200,000.

At least 75,000 bodies have so far been buried in mass graves, the government has said. Many more remain uncollected in the streets.

At least 122 people have been saved by international search-and-rescue teams, according to the US government, but hopes are now fading that anyone will be found alive underneath the rubble.

"You have to be realistic and after nine days, reality says it is more difficult to find people alive. But it's not impossible," said Chilean Army Major Rodrigo Vasquez at the site of the collapsed Montana Hotel.

Improvised shelters

At least 500,000 people are currently living outdoors in 447 improvised camps in Port-au-Prince, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

"Tents will not work in May when the long rainy season begins and later when hurricane season starts, but at this point there is not much choice," said IOM Chief of Mission Vincent Houver.

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