Haiti: UN Chief Calls for More Troops as Looting Rises In Port-au-Prince

"People have lost everything. There is no cash and the black market is thriving," said Verlène, a 31-year-old administrative assistant quoted by the International Red Cross Committee. "In Delmas, where I live, there is looting. We are now barricading at night. Homeowners carry guns and use them."

"People are becoming more aggressive because they need food and water," said a 29-year-old survivor named Sherley, who was also quoted by the ICRC. "As we start to figure out that our loved ones are not going to be found, it is as if we are finally understanding what is happening to us. Today, people are fighting to survive."

On Monday evening, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a humanitarian parole policy that would allow orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States temporarily on an individual basis.

VIDEO: Haiti Earthquake: Mother Gives Birth In a Disaster Zone

The decision was made to "ensure that they receive the care they need -- as part of the U.S. government's ongoing support of international recovery efforts after last week's earthquake," a DHS statement read.

The decision would apply to children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Haitian government and are being adopted by U.S. citizens.

"We are committed to doing everything we can to help reunite families in Haiti during this very difficult time," Napolitano said in the statement. "While we remain focused on family reunification in Haiti, authorizing the use of humanitarian parole for orphans who are eligible for adoption in the United States will allow them to receive the care they need here."

After Haiti's Quake, Now Looters

A spokesman for Doctors Without Borders said today that among the amputations, trauma and head injuries they are also starting to see gunshot wounds.

"From my conversations with people on the streets yesterday I heard a clear message from them -- we need the United Nations," said the Secretary General, who toured Port-au-Prince on Sunday.

Haitian police officer Dorsainvil Robenson, however, welcomed help with security.

"We do not have the capacity to fix this situation. Haiti needs help ... The Americans are welcome here," he told The Associated Press. "But where are they? We need them here on the street with us."

Haitian riot police had to fire tear gas on Sunday to disperse crowds of looters at shops in the city center.

Nevertheless, Lt. Gen. Ken Keen told reporters that while there had been reports of sporadic violence, he had been told by people who lived and worked in Haiti that "the level of violence we see is below pre-earthquake levels" and that the situation in Haiti "is calm at this time."

One of the fought-over items is tooth paste, which Haitians smear under their noses to mask the overpowering stench of decomposing bodies.

More than 30 countries have been rushing in food, water, medicine, and rescue teams to the country since the quake hit, but the problem remains in how to get the supplies to the people who need it most.

Roads blocked by towering piles of rubble, a damaged airport and a damaged seaport are all proving to be monumental obstacles for aid groups to get their supplies distributed.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...