Progress and obstacles in Haiti relief efforts
Aid workers face a number of obstacles in helping victims in Haiti, including a severely damaged infrastructure.
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The Haitian Red Cross recently released its first estimate of the death toll from the January 12 earthquake. It said between 45,000 and 50,000 people might have died. As the body count rises, relief efforts are intensifying.
President Obama promised $100 million and more than 5,000 soldiers and marines, but aid workers are facing many obstacles reaching the victims.
While most of the relief is still on its way, some aid workers were already in the country before the quake. One of them is Chloe Gans-Rugebregt, a health delegate to the Haiti delegation of the American Red Cross.
"Right now there's no 'in' into Port-au-Prince," said Gans-Rugebregt. "The runway, as of last night when I went to sleep, was shut. Medical supplies are coming through the Dominican Republic; it's just simply not enough to respond to the two-to-three million people who need help right now."
Adding to the difficulty, says Gans-Rugebregt, is the severely damaged infrastructure, which includes hospitals in rubble and the many doctors and nurses who are missing themselves.
Adrian Kerrigan, who is organizing medical relief from New York as president of the Catholic Medical Mission Board, says the organization's priority is search and rescue. "We contracted some helicopters to get them out to the perimeter so that we can treat some of the folks who really need it most."
Chloe Gans-Rugebregt says with their limited supplies, her workers are focusing on giving victims basic medical attention so they can be sent to hospitals or other medical areas where they can receive full medical care.
"It's really daunting, and I have a friend who is not working for the Red Cross, but works for another humanitarian organization, who had five people die in her arms yesterday, bleeding out. It's impossible."
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