As Help Scales Up, So Does Haiti's Nightmare

Survivors increasingly desperate for aid
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 19, 2010 5:11 AM CST
As Help Scales Up, So Does Haiti's Nightmare
People take packets of spaghetti from a burning warehouse in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Looting spread to more parts of the city as people broke into stores and buildings.   (Gregory Bull)

(Newser) – The staggering scope of Haiti's nightmare came into sharper focus yesterday as authorities estimated 200,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless in the quake-ravaged heart of this tragic land. In one step to reassure frustrated aid groups, the US military agreed to give aid deliveries priority over military flights at the now-US-run airport here, a day after Doctors Without Borders said it was 48 hours behind on surgeries after three supply-filled planes were denied clearance and forced to land 200 miles away. A Navy official said about 100 flights a day were now landing.

But looting and violence flared again, as hundreds clambered over the broken walls of shops to grab anything they could—including toothpaste, now valuable for lining nostrils against the stench of Port-au-Prince's dead. Hard-pressed medical teams sometimes had to take time away from quake victims to deal with gunshot wounds, said a Doctors Without Borders official. In the Montrissant neighborhood, Red Cross doctors working in shipping containers and saying they "cannot cope" lost 50 patients over two days. (Read more Haiti stories.)

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