RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian Army announced on Wednesday that the country's Defense Ministry is studying the possibility of sending additional troops to Haiti, in order to help with the rescue and reconstruction works after the earthquake which devastated the country on Tuesday.
The additional troops may be necessary because transportation is difficult in Haiti's capital city Port au Prince, due to the earthquake, many streets are full of debris, making it impossible for vehicles to circulate freely.
In order to better assess Haiti's situation and determine what else Brazil can do to help the country, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim headed to Port au Prince on Wednesday. The Minister's retinue also includes some religious representatives, politicians and military.
Earlier in the day, Brazil announced a financial aid of 10 million (15 but nvm) U.S. dollars to Haiti. Additionally, two (5 but nvm) Air Force planes, each with 14 tons of food and water, are to head to the country by Thursday at the latest.
Brazil has already 1,266 military in Haiti, who are part of the United Nations peacekeeping force (Minustah). At least 11 of those military died in Tuesday's earthquake; eight others were injured and at least four are missing.
According to the Army, most Brazilian military were in base when the earthquake hit Haiti. The base, as well as the Brazilian embassy in Port au Prince, resisted the tremors; the embassy, however, was evacuated as a precaution.
Besides the 11 military, Brazilian humanitarian Zilda Arns died in the earthquake as well.
France dispatches aiding groups for quake-hit Haiti
PARIS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- France decided to dispatch civil security service and gendarmes to participate in rescue operation in Haiti, where a powerful earthquake has caused numerous victims and destructions, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a statement.
Minister Bernard Kouchner said French Crisis Center of the Foreign Ministry has been mobilized. Under the instruction of President Nicolas Sarkozy, civil security detachments and squads of gendarmes will be urgently sent to the site, the statement added.
According to local media, three military planes carrying 100 firefighters and gendarmes have already left for Haiti in the morning.
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit south of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince on Tuesday. Due to difficult communication at present, the accurate casualty was not clear yet, but the powerful quake was feared to have claimed lives of hundreds of local population and United Nations aiding personnel working there.
UN rushing aid to Haiti following deadly tremors
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations is mobilizing its resources in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday, sending its experts and supplies such as food to victims of the massive tremors in the Caribbean nation, UN officials said here Wednesday.
Josette Sheeran, who heads the UN World Food Program (WFP), said that the agency is already deploying its resources in Haiti and is airlifting an additional 86 metric tons of food -- enough for half a million emergency meals -- from its emergency hub in El Salvador.
Additionally, WFP will provide ready-to-eat food and high-energy biscuits for those who cannot access cooking facilities following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake which has severely damaged the capital, Port-au-Prince.
"We will work with the Haitian Government, with our humanitarian partners on the ground, and with governments across the world as part of a coordinated international rescue and recovery effort," Sheeran said in a statement.
For its part, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) is spearheading the health response to the earthquake.
Immediate health priorities include finding survivors pinned under rubble, treating people with major injuries and the provision of clean water and sanitation, the agency noted.
WHO is helping to collect data on the health impact of the earthquake and is also deploying a 12-member team comprising experts in mass casualty management, coordination of emergency health response and the management of dead bodies.
With buildings and infrastructure in Port-au-Prince having suffered extensive damage, "there is no doubt that we are facing a major humanitarian emergency and that a major relief effort will be required," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters on Wednesday morning at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Expressing gratitude to nations rushing aid to the earthquake's victims, he called for the world to "come to Haiti's aid in this hour of need."
Ban told reporters that he plans to visit Haiti as conditions permit. At the moment, he is at the UN Headquarters "to save lives" by coordinating and commanding relief operations with major countries and the international community.
Ban said that he contacted major countries, including the United States, and the international community to engage relief operations in the country, where the communication system broke down and only "limited channels" were available to connect the island country with the outside world.
Ban said that he is scheduled to discuss what more can be done for Haiti with his Special Envoy, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, on Wednesday morning.
John Holmes, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and coordinator of emergency relief operations, said that his office would soon launch a major flash appeal for funds and had already released 10 million U.S. dollars in emergency aid.
China delivers aid, rescue team to quake-hit Haiti
BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- China sent an emergency rescue team Wednesday evening to quake-hit Haiti, where several thousands of lives may have been claimed.
Chinese leadership expressed sympathy with and deep condolence to the Haitian people for their loss in the strongest ever quake in about 200 years in the Caribbean islands country, with which China has no diplomatic relations.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have demanded the related Chinese government departments and rescue group to help uncover those being buried, protect Chinese nationals there and provide humanitarian aid.
China's Red Cross Society has decided to donate one million U.S. dollars of emergency aid to the country, which was hit Tuesday by the 7.3-magnitude earthquake at about 4:53 p.m. local time (2153 GMT).
The epicenter of the devastating quake was located under the sea, some 15 km southwest of the capital city Port-au-Prince, home to an estimated four million.
Power supplies were cut off and communications were interrupted as many buildings, including hospitals and the presidential compound, were damaged.
Eight of the 125 Chinese peace-keeping policemen, who were deployed there last June to safeguard social security, were also buried under debris, said a statement from the Chinese cabinet, the State Council.
A "massive number" of people of the United Nations mission, including the 9,000-strong multi-national peacekeeping mission, were still missing after the calamity, according to an anonymous UN official.
The Chinese rescue team took off from the Beijing International Airport at about 8:30 p.m. and is expected to arrive at Port-au-Prince after a 20-hour flight.
The team included search and rescue personnel and doctors, who have conducted many similar tasks in the past years, as well as three sniffer dogs.
"Most of the members are very experienced," said Liu Xiangyang, deputy chief of the National Earthquake Disaster Emergency Rescue Team, before their departure.
The team will also take some 10 tonnes of food, equipment and medicine on the special plane.
"We take limited equipment and personnel due to time deadline, limited capacity of transportation and long-distance," said DoctorHou Shike, head of the medical group.
Chinese leaders are very concerned with the safety of Chinese nationals including peacekeepers, compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and overseas Chinese, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.
"We are in belief that the Haitian people, under the leadership of their government, will overcome difficulties and rebuild their homes at an early date with the help of the international community," Jiang said.
The Center for Consular Assistance and Protection under China's Foreign Ministry has opened its 24-hour consultation service.
China is also a major victim of earthquakes, including the May 12 quake that hit southwest China's Sichuan Province in 2008.
Via the Internet, Chinese netizens, prayed and expressed their condolence to the Haitian people, living on the other side of the globe.
"We are together, We are family," read one of the more than 8,000 comments posted on the popular website www.sina.com.
Germany joins international emergency aid effort for Haiti
The German government has earmarked 1,5 million euros ($2,17 million) in relief aid.
"We join the people of Haiti in mourning the victims. The German government will do everything in its power to support and help Haiti," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Wednesday, just hours after the quake turned large parts of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince to rubble.
The government's THW emergency assistance organization has already sent four people out to Port-au-Prince to see what is needed, and two special teams - one to rescue people from the rubble and the other to provide safe water supplies to survivors - are getting ready to leave.
The German Development Ministry has put together emergency food supplies worth 500,000 euros.
Europeans take action
Elsewhere, the EU has pledged three million euros.
Countries including Belgium, Sweden and Luxembourg have offered help via an EU emergency assistance coordination mechanism, with offers ranging from a water purification unit to tents.
France is sending two airplanes, a field hospital and rescue services. Britain is also sending a search and rescue team and heavy rescue equipment.
One of the organizations that is already on the ground in Haiti is the UN World Food Program (WFP), the world's largest humanitarian organization.
Ralf Suedhoff, head of the WFP Berlin bureau, says about 200 staff are currently in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world where about two million people suffer from hunger. The WPF has food stocks to supply about 30,000 people with first hand aid, which in this case, are high energy biscuits.
"They have no opportunity to cook, they usually have no safe water, so that's what they can use best in these days and we hope to supply them with these biscuits for the first week."
They are a key tool in an emergency, Suedhoff told Deutsche Welle.
The WFP also has a hub for emergencies in El Salvador, so more high energy biscuits will be arriving shortly, Südhoff said.
Now it is a question of getting things done as quickly as possible, Suedhoff said, as search and rescue teams from a global network were being mobilised by the United Nations to find survivors in the rubble.
"It's a race against time."
Britain vows assistance for Haiti
Britain has pledged to assist Haiti after a devastating earthquake which is believed to have killed thousands of people and left millions in need of aid.
Haitian PM Jean-Max Bellerive said he feared the death toll could top 100,000, while president Rene Garcia Preval said the scale of suffering was "unimaginable".
Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised emergency equipment, firefighters and finance.
British-based charities launched appeals to raise money to fund rescue efforts, as well as food, water, shelter and medicines for survivors.
A four-man team was sent by the Department for International Development to assess the damage and a team of 64 rescue specialists with dogs and heavy equipment gathered at Gatwick Airport - although their departure was delayed by snow.
The quake hit the Caribbean island state shortly before 5pm local time (9.53pm GMT) on Tuesday, toppling hundreds of buildings in capital Port-au-Prince ranging from shacks to a hospital, the United Nations headquarters and the presidential palace.
Seismologists said the impact of the quake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, was all the more destructive because its epicentre was "shallow", causing greater shaking on the surface of the ground.
Its epicentre was within 10 miles of the centre of densely-populated Port-au-Prince, where around one million people live.
Peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said that more than 100 people - including mission head Hedi Annabi - are missing in the organisation's collapsed HQ, while a further 40 UN staff are also unaccounted for in other damaged buildings.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described the tremor as "catastrophic" and urged the international community "to come to Haiti's aid in this hour of need". He announced that the UN would provide 10 million US dollars (£6.2 million) for relief from its emergency fund.
Canadian rescue, relief, military resources mobilized
OTTAWA — Ottawa's rescue-and-relief efforts for Haiti kicked into high gear Wednesday, and included attempts to reach a trapped Canadian and the possibility of an evacuation from the country of at least 80 Canadians who have taken refuge at the country's embassy in Port-au-Prince.
"Clearly, this is a catastrophic situation," Defence Minister Peter MacKay said at a news conference with Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.
The federal government has decided to deploy the Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART) and has sent an advance team of 20 personnel in a CF-130 Hercules aircraft that could also be used to evacuate Canadians, MacKay said.
Among the 20 are medically trained professionals and experts in assessing needs for relief, communications equipment and personnel, infrastructure engineers and search-and-rescue equipment.
Their eyewitness accounts and estimates were expected to be transmitted to Ottawa by day's end.
HMCS Halifax was preparing to set out to Haiti, a trip that will take a few days. The ship, which will be loaded with humanitarian supplies, was recalled to port from 200 km off the coast of Nova Scotia, to be outfitted with a Sea King helicopter and other equipment.
A second vessel, HMCS Ville de Quebec might be sent as well.
On Thursday MacKay said, Canadian Forces would deploy a C-17 military transport aircraft that will carry a Griffon helicopter and other equipment and personnel. That aircraft can also be used for evacuation.
Earlier, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda announced up to $5 million for urgent delivery and distribution by the Red Cross and other relief agencies of basic survival needs: food, water, sanitation, shelter, medical attention and protection. And Canada is working with Norway to deliver and set up a field hospital.
During a conference call with reporters Oda offered Canada's "deepest condolences to the people of Haiti" and said "Canada will not let down Haiti in this time of need."
"At the time of the earthquake, there were 82 Canadian police working with the UN mission," Cannon said. "At this point in time, 80 have been accounted for. We are continuing our efforts to locate the remaining two."
Superintendent Doug Coates, acting commissioner of Minista, the UN Mission, and RCMP Sgt. Mark Gallagher from Halifax, were both confirmed missing Wednesday afternoon.
A nurse from Elmira, Ont., was killed in the earthquake, making her the first Canadian fatality reported.
Cannon said a person trapped in a building had sent a text message appealing for help. That message reached the Canadian emergency operations centre and embassy personnel were dispatched to rescue the person, Cannon said.
The $5 million in aid is available to non-government relief agencies to provide shelter, medical services, food, relief items, water, sanitation and protection. Reuniting families separated by the impact of the earthquake is also a priority. Further aid is possible, she said.
While MacKay said the Canadian Forces began mobilizing "very quickly" after the disaster struck, Oda said Canada learned through tsunami relief efforts that a little time should be taken to ensure there is a clear picture of what is needed and how it will be distributed. So much tsunami relief was provided so quickly, she said, "there was an overabundance and surplus that couldn't be distributed in a reasonable manner."
All 24 Canadian Embassy personnel were accounted for and about 80 Canadians have taken shelter outdoors in the compound at the embassy, which was evacuated. They have food and water and were minimizing use of power.
About 6,000 Canadians live in Haiti and about 700 Canadians are registered at the Canadian Embassy.
Foreign Affairs issued a notice saying "Canadians in need of assistance are encouraged to make their way to the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince on Delmas Road, between Delmas 75 and 71."
In a written statement, Oda said the Canadian government is deeply concerned "and we want to ensure that the immediate basic needs of the Haitian people are met quickly and effectively."
Haiti is currently the second largest recipient of Canadian aid after Afghanistan.
Russia readies Haiti disaster relief
Russia is preparing to send disaster relief to quake-struck Haiti, including a mobile air hospital, the emergencies ministry said Wednesday.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Tuesday. The quake's epicenter was 10 miles southwest of the Haitian capital, at a depth of just 6 miles. It was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including two measuring 5.9 and 5.0.
A Russian ministry spokesman said an Il-76 plane will leave for Haiti on Thursday with 45 people onboard, including 20 doctors.
The hospital, equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic, therapeutic and surgery facilities, can accommodate up to 50 patients at one time.
It can also employ, if necessary, an intensive care unit for 6-10 beds.
Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN the death toll from the quake could reach "well over 100,000."
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier on Wednesday sent his condolences to his Haitian counterpart Rene Preval over the devastating earthquake.
The Presidential Palace and the headquarters of the UN mission in the country lie in ruins in Port-au-Prince. The parliament building and the ministries of finance, justice, labor, culture and communications were seriously damaged.
Only one hospital is functioning in the capital, the remainder have been demolished by the quake.
The country's main prison in Port-au-Prince was also totally destroyed and an unknown number of inmates have escaped.
The looting of stores and other buildings has been reported in the Haitian capital.
No official figures on casualties are currently available, but many are feared to be dead in the strongest quake in the Caribbean Region in two centuries.
The European Union has allocated 3 million euros ($4.3 million) in aid, and U.S. President Barack Obama gave orders to assist the impoverished Caribbean nation.
The State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Southern Command have started to coordinate and estimate the volume of food supplies.
EDIT for Douchebag Limbaugh:
Venezuelan Humanitarian Team Arrives in Haiti after Earthquake
Caracas January 13, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela sent its first aid airplane to Haiti, a Bolivarian National Armed Force's Hercules C-130, with a fifty-strong advance humanitarian aid team on board, on Wednesday morning, after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake leveled the country’s capital Port-au-Prince, late Tuesday.
The quake, which produced at least 30 aftershocks, including one of 5.9 and one of 5.5 on the Richter scale, may have affected up to 3 million people according to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation. The death toll is unknown, but Haiti President René Préval said thousands of people had died, while many thousands are injured and many Haitian’s lie trapped under rubble. Haitian Prime Minister, Jean Max Bellerive estimated the death toll at more than one hundred thousand.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered the immediate deployment of the aid team on Tuesday comprised of doctors, engineers, search and rescue specialists, and civil protection officers, as well as urgently needed food, water, medical supplies, and rescue equipment. Chavez said Venezuela would send further aid and supplies.
Aid is also beginning to flow from other countries, with Latin American countries being among the first to react. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega sent a team of electricians to help with the repair of power lines as much of the country’s electricity and telecommunications systems were destroyed in the quake. Cuba is sending medical supplies and doctors, while Mexico is sending a team of doctors and rescue workers.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon released $10 million from the UN’s emergency relief fund to assist aid efforts and called for member countries to do likewise.
Spain has pledged $4.3 million (3 million Euros) and 150 tonnes of humanitarian aid. France is also sending aid and rescue workers. Germany has pledged $2.18 million (1.5 million Euros), the Netherlands $2.9 million (2 million Euros) and Belgium, Sweden and Luxembourg are offering water purification equipment, tents, medical help, and search-and-rescue teams. The United States said it would send a team of 61 rescue workers.
Brazil, which heads the United Nations mission in Haiti has also announced its intention to assist those affected. In a statement issued Wednesday, Brazil’s defence minister, Nelson Jobim, urged his country's military stationed in Haiti to “make every possible effort” to reduce the suffering of the population.
The UN mission in Haiti is comprised of 7,000 troops and 2,000 police officers, as well as 2,000 civilian employees from 17 countries.
The UN mission was established in 2004 by the UN Security Council after the kidnapping and deportation of the democratically elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide by the United States.
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Canada, the USA, Spain, France, Italy and Jordan are among the countries contributing military or police forces to the mission.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and is still recovering from the devastating effects of a hurricane that destroyed thousands of homes killed more than 700 people in 2008. Seventy percent of Haitians lives on less than two dollars per day, and half of the country’s 8.5 million people are unemployed.
The youth wing of Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has set up a collection point in central Caracas, for donations of food, medicine, clothing and shoes to send to the people of Haiti.
Heryck Rangel from the PSUV youth said, “We young people want to deepen the internationalist character of the Bolivarian Revolution and highlight solidarity as a socialist value. The Venezuelans have to understand that Haiti is a country that has suffered much and now needs our urgent support.”
Cuba Considers Helping Haiti A Priority
In a meeting with his Surinamese counterpart Lygia Louise Irene Kraag-Keteldijk who is on an official visit in Havana, Rodriguez said that there were more than 400 Cubans working on collaboration programs in Haiti at the moment the earthquake shook the country and 344 of them are health experts who are already helping out the victims of the natural phenomenon.
The Cuban official said the Cuban doctors, nurses and health technicians have already set up two field hospitals, where more than 800 patients have been already assisted and some of them have even undergone surgery.
Rodriguez said the Foreign ministry is coordinating the aid to be sent by several Cuban entities to the neighboring country, including medicines and doctors who will be soon sent over.
He said only two Cubans that are members of the collaboration missions suffered minor injuries from the earthquake. He added that the ministry maintains contact with all of its embassies to the CARICOM nations to coordinate any possible joint help.
Irene Kraag-Keteldijk thanked the Cuban foreign minister for the welcoming and treatment she has received since her arrival in Cuba and said that her governement is evaluating the aid to be provided to the Haitian people.
Irene Kraag-Keteldijk highly appreciated the Cuban help to the Surinamese people, especially in the medical field. She said: “25,000 of my fellow country people have to thank this country for solving their eye problems after having surgery.”
She also appreciated the opportunity given by Cuba to the Surinamese people to study in the island nation.
Irene Kraag-Keteldijk said to be pleased for the upcoming official opening of her country's embassy in Havana, which will take place during her visit to Cuba.
About the edit: I'd likle to give a shout out to all the brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean doing their best to help. I hear good things from Mexico to Chile, from Jamaica to Colombia. It's time to come together.
A few reasons to be a little bit more positive (sorry about the unpopular sources). Didn't post the American news because you all know them already. Feel free to post donation numbers in the comments, everybody! Still hoping germli's family is ok.