A sum of $562 million is required to help over three million desolate Haitians survive for the next six months, the United Nations humanitarian chief, John Holmes has estimated. The UN is to rely on donor nations to raise the funds.
“This is a huge and a horrifying catastrophe, the full consequences of which we do not know. Almost half of the appeal money would be for emergency food aid, with amounts of between $20m and $50m for health, water and sanitation, nutrition, emergency shelter, early recovery and agriculture,” John Holmes is quoted.
Early this week, President Barack Obama described the scale of the catastrophe as extraordinary. He said the losses suffered were heartbreaking, and the US would do what it takes to save lives and help people get back on their feet.
To this regard, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to travel to Haiti on Saturday where between 40 to 50 thousand Haitians are feared dead, and thousands of survivors are now desolate.
Mrs. Clinton would assess the damage, meet government officials and convey to the Haitian people the unwavering support, of the United States.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, is due to visit Haiti on Sunday. Distribution of food and medicine was underway, UN reports claimed..
According to UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs, a total of about $360m has so far been pledged for the relief effort, but Mr. Holmes said only part of this sum will be included in the emergency appeal. Many survivors have now gone four days without food or shelter in the ruined capital, Port-au-PrincePort-au-Prince.
The United States has also announced it will grant temporal residency to the thousands of Haitian illegal migrants living in the U.S., as a result of the devastation in the Caribbean country. The chief of the homeland security department, Janet Napolitano, said they would be allowed to stay and work, for an initial 18 months
According to expert UN reports, about 40% of buildings throughout Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince has been damaged. Mr. Holmes, said a massive effort was being mounted and officials were “straining every nerve” to help.
The Pan American Health Organization has estimated that the death toll could be as high as 100,000, while the UN said about 300,000 had been made homeless.
Rescuers are still searching the ruins and piles for more survivors. Observers say the port is too damaged to use and roads are blocked by ruins.