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Victims Outnumber Doctors, Relief Assistance

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Victims Outnumber Doctors, Relief Assistance

Latin America

Victims Outnumber Doctors, Relief Assistance

Victims Outnumber Doctors, Relief Assistance

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

International aid and relief organizations are trickling into Haiti after Tuesday's earthquake. Communication remains severely impaired. Residents are struggling amid the widespread devastation.


Its MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Im Steve Inskeep.


And Im Deborah Amos.

Heres one fact that suggests the scale of the disaster facing Haiti: The president of Haiti says 7,000 people have been buried so far. Thats more than the number of people killed on 9/11.

INSKEEP: And the number of people buried appears to be a tiny fraction of the number actually killed in this weeks earthquake.

NPRs David Gilkey told us what happened when he climbed a hillside in Port-au-Prince.

DAVID GILKEY: Theres sort of six major arteries that go up this hill, and four of them we tried to go up were blocked with piles of bodies in the middle of the streets. I know there was some reports that people in the neighborhoods were doing this intentionally, out of anger for nobody coming to help them. I dont know the reason, but had to turn around four times due to the piles of bodies in the middle of the road.

INSKEEP: We'll be hearing from NPRs team of reporters in Haiti throughout this morning, including Carrie Kahn in Port-au-Prince.

CARRIE KAHN: The streets of the capital are chaotic as residents continue to try and pull loved ones from the massive piles of crumbled buildings. Dead bodies lay along side nearly every road. Those who made it out alive search frantically for medical attention.

(Soundbite of screaming)

KAHN: At the tiny Eliasoch(ph), their main clinic, there are no doctors attending to a few dozen people whove made it to the undamaged building. The injured lay on blood-stained mattresses taking up every inch of the concrete floor. Jordani Fitzgerald(ph) says doctors have come by, but dont stay long.

Mr. JORDANI FITZGERALD: Yeah, no doctor. They come. They out.

KAHN: Fitzgerald says his family survived the quake, so he came to the clinic to sit with people who are here alone.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I come here just for help people who dont have someone, to help them.

KAHN: Most of his attention has gone to an eight-year-old girl named Daphne(ph). She has a broken arm.

Mr. FITZGERALD: You see her? She got no mother, no father. She is alone. I brought some food for her and help her to be, you know, comfortable.

KAHN: Fitzgerald says there were 11 people living in her home. Shes the only one who made it out alive. Down the street, Lonardis Roches(ph) mother and father got out, but he says he lost his daughter.

Mr. LONARDIS ROCHE: Shes still buried here, has not come out yet.

KAHN: How old is your daughter?

Mr. ROCHE: Shes 21 years old.


Mr. ROCHE: Yeah.

KAHN: Im so sorry.

Mr. ROCHE: Yeah. We are - Ive got - weve got so many people take out alive, take out dead, and we still have some buried there we can were going to try. You see these people here?

KAHN: He points to visible limbs exposed in the rubble of his crushed home and next-door business.

Mr. ROCHE: No government come here, no help, no ask people if you can help us. What's going on? Nobody's coming. Nobody show up.

KAHN: A single police patrol car did show up with three officers. They didnt want to give their names. I asked them: What are they doing for the people?

Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)

(Soundbite of crowd chatter)

KAHN: They say emphatically, we are with the people, but we have nothing to give them. We have no help. As the government struggles, international aid is slowly making its way into the country. In the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Petionville, a canine search and rescue team from Fairfax, Virginia combs a huge rubble pile of what was once a rehabilitation center for disabled children. Rescue specialist Darrell Casey calls to his black lab.

Mr. DARRELL CASEY (Rescue Specialist): Come here, bud. Come on, boy. Come here.

KAHN: A few minutes later, Figel Bruno(ph), one of the directors of the center, shows up. He's holding the luggage tags of one of his young American volunteers. He believes shes buried under the rubble.

Mr. FIGEL BRUNO (Rescue Specialist): Shes one of the volunteers.

Unidentified Man #2: OK.

Mr. BRUNO: So, we remove three people. One dead, and two alive.

KAHN: The dog walks around the rubble pile a few more times. Rescuers say the canine did not signal there were any signs of life.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

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