PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Rescue teams and relief supplies arrived in Haiti on Thursday to help drag anyone alive from debris after its capital city was practically flattened by the strongest earthquake in the Caribbean region in more than 200 years.
Iceland's search-and-rescue team arrives in Haitian capital with packages of drinking water.(Xinhua/AFP Photo)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced it would provide 100 million dollars very rapidly in emergency financing to Haiti.
"I have asked staff to look into all the possibilities and I am pleased to announce that we are able to make 100 million dollars available very quickly," said IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn at a news conference in Washington.
U.S. President Barack Obama said his country was offering 100 million U.S. dollars in emergency assistance for Haiti after it was jolted by a quake of 7.3 magnitude on Tuesday.
Obama said the first dispatch of U.S. rescue and relief workers were on the ground and at work. A survey team would be missioned to identify priority areas for assistance.
Mexico on Thursday sent its fourth aircraft carrying more than 50 relief workers as well as food and medical supplies.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon had earlier pledged 15 million dollars to help reconstruction in the poverty-stricken country, where one third of its 9 million people was believed to have been affected.
Britain announced a 6.2-million-pound aid package (9.9 million dollars) on Thursday, stressing efforts to save lives in the initial stage of relief work.
"The really pressing requirement in the hours ahead is the capability that we will be offering -- that ability to offer cutting equipment and lifting equipment to get people out from the buildings that have collapsed around them," said British International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.
A British search and rescue team organised by the Department For International Development (DFID) wait to fly to Haiti, after Gatwick Airport was closed due to heavy snowfall, January 13, 2010.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
The British government said its rescue team arrived in the neighboring Dominican Republic Thursday morning and would reach the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince within the day.
A 50-member Chinese rescue team was among the first to arrive in Port-au-Prince in early Thursday. The Chinese peacekeeping unit in Haiti has mobilized 53 peacekeeping police and more than 400 local people to look for survivors from under the rubble before the rescue team arrived.
Countries including Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Norway and Canada have also pledged aid to the Caribbean nation.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that it would take days to get the death toll from the devastating earthquake in Haiti, but the figure was estimated to be "very high."
Mauricio Bustamante, operation coordinator of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies based in Panama City, said up to 100,000 people might have died in the quake.
At least 36 UN staff members have been confirmed dead in the earthquake, a spokesman for the UN mission in Haiti told reporters.
The top UN humanitarian coordinator gave priority to sending doctors and medical supplies to Haiti.
"The local medical infrastructure is both badly damaged and overwhelmed by the number of injuries," said John Holmes. "It's a top priority to get more doctors there, more medical teams, field hospitals and more medical supplies to make sure we can tackle that problem."
After that, the basic needs are water, food and emergency shelter, added Holmes.
However, damaged infrastructure could impede aid inflows. Haiti's main seaport was surrounded by debris in the water, which could make access difficult, said Holmes.
Port-au-Prince's international airport was reopened on Wednesday, but it was feared the airport might not be able to handle the sudden influx of huge aid cargoes.
China delivers aid, rescue team to quake-hit Haiti
Members of a Chinese rescue team with sniffer dogs are ready to board a plane leaving for quake-hit Haiti, at the Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 13, 2010. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Tuesday local time, collapsing a hospital and damaging government buildings in its capital city of Port-au-Prince. (Xinhua/Xing Guangli)
BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- China sent an emergency rescue team Wednesday evening to quake-hit Haiti, where several thousands of lives may have been claimed.
Chinese leadership expressed sympathy with and deep condolence to the Haitian people for their loss in the strongest ever quake in about 200 years in the Caribbean islands country, with which China has no diplomatic relations. Full story
China donates $1 mln to quake-hit Haiti
BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Red Cross Society of China has decided to donate one million U.S. dollars of emergency aid to quake-hit Haiti, said a statement from the State Council on Wednesday.
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Tuesday local time, collapsing a hospital and damaging government buildings in its capital city of Port-au-Prince. Full story
World Bank to provide additional emergency aid to Haiti
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank said Wednesday it will provide an additional 100 million U.S. dollars in emergency grant funding to support recovery and reconstruction in Haiti in response to a magnitude-7.0 earthquake that caused extensive damage and casualties in the Caribbean nation on Tuesday.
"This is a shocking event and it is crucial that the international community supports the Haitian people at this critical time," a World Bank press release quoted bank group President Robert B. Zoellick as saying. Full story
16 UN staffers confirmed dead in Haiti: Ban
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said here Wednesday that 16 UN staffers were confirmed dead in Haiti in the wake of Tuesday's devastating earthquake.
The 16 include 11 Brazilians, one Argentine, three Jordanian police officers, and one Chadian officer, said Ban.Full story
Earthquake crushes thousands of buildings in Haiti
SANTO DOMINGO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- A major earthquake rocked Haiti on Tuesday, crushing thousands of buildings, including the presidential palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters, and trapping untold numbers of people in the rubble of the capital city.
The devastation from the magnitude-7.3 quake, the strongest ever recorded on the poor Caribbean island, was so complete that it seemed likely the death toll would run into the thousands, according to reports monitored here. Full story
"Scale of catastrophe in Haiti is very high," says UN peacekeeping chief
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations deals with humanitarian crises all the time but the devastating earthquake in Haiti has stricken especially close to home, said the head of UN peacekeeping forces Alain Le Roy here Wednesday.
With the number of fatalities among UN staff members rising, LeRoy said the emotion is "extremely high." Full story
Over 100 UN personnel trapped in collapsed headquarters in Haiti earthquake
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- A total of 100 to 150 UN personnel were trapped under the rubble of the main building of the UN mission in Port au Prince, Haiti, which collapsed in a powerful earthquake, UN officials said Wednesday.
The UN staff members were still working at the headquarters of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) when the earthquake struck, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters at UN Headquarters. Full story