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

In addition to crushed limbs, doctors now treating gunshot wounds.

January 18, 2010, 1:27 PM

PORT-au-PRINCE, Haiti Jan. 18, 2010— -- An additional 3,500 United Nations police and soldiers were requested today to help keep the peace in earthquake-shattered Haiti as reports of looting have increased among the country's desperate survivors.

The request was made by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in a closed-door session with the U.N. Security Council to reinforce the 7,000 U.N. peacekeepers already in Haiti.

In addition, thousands of U.S. Marines and units of the 82nd Airborne Division were poised to help with relief operations as well as to keep order. Canada, France and Portugal are also sending in forces to provide security.

The rising concerns about keeping order are emerging as the European Union, quoting Haitian officials, said that 200,000 may have been killed in last Tuesday's quake. Haitian officials have said that at least 70,000 bodies have been buried. EU officials estimated that about 250,000 were injured and 1.5 million are homeless.

Among the dead are 24 Americans. Nearly 3,000 Americans have been evacuated from the country.

Trying to keep the donations streaming in to help Haiti, President Obama toured visited a Red Cross office in Washington, and former president Bill Clinton toured the devastated Haitian capital today. "I think we are getting there, I see it, " Clinton told reporters at a Port-au-Prince hospital he visited. "It is much better now than it was two days ago and day after tomorrow, it will be better again."

But "better" is not coming fast enough for many doctors. ABC's David Muir spoke to doctors in Port-au-Prince who said they had to scavenge for sterile saws to use in operations. One doctor told him his colleagues had to use the plastic end of a ballpoint pen as an instrument for a tracheotomy.

Haiti Earthquake Survivors Rescued From Rubble

The hunt for survivors trapped in the tons of crushed cement continued as well as the search for bodies.

Among the glimmers of hope, an Israeli search team found a 6-year-old girl alive this afternoon and a rescue squad from Miami Dade County uncovered a 2-year-old girl named Carla from rubble in the Pouplard neighborhood of Port-au-Prince today, ABC's Kate Snow reported. Rescuer Donnie Hall was elated.

"When I was able to kneel down and see her through the little hole that we put in the wall, that image," Hall said, remembering the moment. "That and her mother's face when we gave back her daughter."

On Sunday night, Kate Snow watched as a 6-year-old boy named Nazer Erne emerged from underneath rubble, emaciated and dehydrated. Snow caught up with him today at a makeshift hospital outdoors, lying in the sun, flies swarming. While he hadn't had a bite to eat since Sunday night's rescue, he still appeared in good spirits, showing off his missing front tooth, and saying the firefighters he met the night before were "cool".

For the living, the price for the little food that is available is rising and looting is on the increase, with people battling with broken bottles, sticks, razors and machetes.

"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.

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.

"Even if the presence of aid agencies is starting to be felt in hospitals and clinics, many medical facilities in Port-au-Prince still lack staff and medicine," said Riccardo Conti, the head of the ICRC in Haiti. "Given the scale of the needs, the task facing humanitarian organizations is daunting."

One of the success stories, according to ABC News senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, has been the Israeli aid effort. On "World News with Diane Sawyer," he pointed out that after arriving in Haiti on Friday night, they had a field hospital up and running on Saturday morning.

The field hospital, which Besser said was impressively orderly, has tents that specialize in different areas, including intensive care units and surgeries.

"It has military precision," Besser said. "You see a pediatric ward, you see a maternity ward, a newborn intensive care unit."

Sniping Among Quake Aid Workers

Besides security, Conti is worried about the spread of disease.

"We must rapidly address these water and sanitation issues if we want to minimize the risk of an outbreak of disease," said Conti. "This is really paramount."

Fingerpointing has erupted among the countries rushing to Haiti's aid.

Benoit Leduc, operations manager for Doctors Without Borders in Haiti, said they are 48 hours behind on operations because five of their planes have not been able to land at the airport, which has become a choke point for supplies.

"I don't really know who is in charge. We are doing our best just to treat the people that are just in front of our gates," Leduc said.

A French official sniped at the United States today after a French plane carrying a field hospital was turned away from the overcrowded airfield which is now being run by air traffic controllers from the U.S. Air Force. The plane was later allowed to land.

French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet said he wants the United Nations to clarify the U.S. role in Haiti's emergency.

"This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti," Joyandet said.

Despite the confusion and chaos, 40 international search-and-rescue teams including nearly 1,800 rescue workers and more than 160 dogs are frantically combing through the rubble looking for the hardy or lucky one who have survived seven days entombed in cement.

American search and rescue teams from Florida, New York, Virginia and California have pulled 35 people from the wreckage of Haiti's earthquake, including 10 on Sunday which the Haiti Joint Information Center said is "the largest number of rescues in a single day in decades of earthquake search."

"Everybody gets pretty amped up when they have a live person in there," USAID rescuer Joe Kaleda told "Good Morning America" today. "We want to get them out of there as quick as we can."

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