Haiti relief efforts one week after quake
As aid and government agencies mobilize relief efforts in Haiti, what's at the top of their list a week after the quake.
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It's been one week since the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, destroying much of the capital, Port-au-Prince and, according to some estimates, killing as many as 100,000 people.
That death toll is so high, in part, because it has proven so difficult to bring aid to those in need.
Caryl Stern, CEO and President of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, calls the Haiti earthquake a "double disaster."
"You start with the fact that Haiti was the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, it's been ravaged by numerous storms in recent years," said Stern. "Before the storm you have two doctors per ten thousand people in country; 55 percent of the population under the age of 18; only 54 percent with access to water before the earthquake it.
"So, you don't even have the basic infrastructure before the tragedy and now you're faced with a place where the airport is shut down; the port gets shut down."
According to Stern, UNICEF has been able to land three planes in Haiti, and have doubled the number of spots for distributing water.
Gillian Dunn, director of emergency response for the International Rescue Committee, says along with providing the basic needs of shelter, food and water, there are also concerns over the security of the population, especially for the more vulnerable.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is the White House cabinet member who would be in charge of administering any new health care system in the United States. But right now her department is focused on the relief effort in Haiti, with more than 250 of her department's personnel providing medical care to survivors in the quake-ravaged country.
The HHS has a dual role in Haiti of providing public health response as well as disease control.
"We have now 265 medical personnel on the ground, including surgical teams and medical teams," said Sebelius. "There are hospital facilities being set up in five different areas. There's a hospital ship that's about to be operational with many more facilities. So I think the focus has been how we get personnel as quickly into the country and as operational as fast a possible."
Sebelius admits that there are logistical problems to contend with. Landing and unloading planes, distributing supplies and providing shelter for those who need it are all challenging in an environment severely lacking infrastructure.
The HHS is also heavily involved with the welfare of the almost 45,000 American citizens who live in Haiti, said Sebelius. "Over 3,000 are now back in the United States and more are arriving every day," she says.
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