18 Jan 2010

Haiti damage even worse outside capital

10:32 am on 18 January 2010

Reports from the epicentre of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on Tuesday, suggest the damage there is even more dramatic than the capital.

The BBC reports that the scene in Leogane, about 19km west of Port-au-Prince, is "apocalyptic".

The UN says up to 80% - 90% of the buildings there have been destroyed.

A United Nations agency in Geneva says the Haiti earthquake is worse than the 2004 tsunami in Aceh. It says the country has been "decapitated".

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon describes the quake as the worst humanitarian crisis for decades. He is visiting Haiti on Sunday.

Mr Ban says the three priorities are to save as many people as possible, to bring emergency aid in the form of water, food and medication and to coordinate the massive aid effort.

The death toll is mounting and could reach 200,000.

The BBC reports relief is finally getting through to some in Port-au-Prince but it's still a trickle. The airport remains clogged with loaded planes.

The International Red Cross told Summer Report the capacity of the airport is nowhere near what's needed.

The UN says the port is also badly damaged, and many roads still blocked by corpses and debris.

Forty UN personnel are among the dead. Nearly 330 other UN workers are still unaccounted for.

A Danish UN worker was pulled alive from the rubble on Sunday afternoon. Four other people were rescued during the day.

Road corridor planned

The UN reports the Dominican Republic government is planning an alternative 130km road corridor for delivery of deliver relief supplies from the southern Dominican town of Barahona.

Meanwhile, the US navy is using helicopters to drop supplies of bottled water using soldiers on the ground to keep control.

UN distribution points are issuing high-energy bars to the hungry.

But the BBC reports demand is outstripping supply: food and water is being taken faster than it can be passed out. But many people are still not receiving any aid.