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Two Weeks Later, Many Haitians Still Waiting for Aid

January 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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Kwame Holman updates the situation in Haiti, where aid workers continue to struggle to reach quake survivors in urgent need.
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KWAME HOLMAN: Nearly two weeks after the earthquake, Haitian survivors are struggling just to find a place to sleep. The United Nations now reports nearly one million people have been left homeless. That’s one of every nine Haitians. There are too few tents and not nearly enough safe buildings.

As U.S. airdrops continue day and night, the U.N. also says food aid has reached half-a-million people, but two million are in need. And questions continue about how well the aid effort is working.

A crew from Independent Television News spotted this convoy at one camp. Some grew angry as they were asked to complete written forms, even though many could not read or write. A few sacks of rice were unloaded, before the U.N. troops grew concerned about the crowd and ordered the food reloaded and driven away.

MAN: Our house is crumbling. We are hungry, and there is nothing to do. We found this. We take it.

KWAME HOLMAN: Hunger and anger have fueled more looting in Port-au-Prince, as this crowd today scoured for whatever food they could find.

But while the fight for supplies continued, so did the burial of the dead. The government said the count has reached 150,000 bodies, but thousands more still could be under the rubble. This couple picked through what’s left of their home to find the body of their son.

MAN: He is our first-born, our flesh and blood. We want to bury him, not have him rot under the rubble.

KWAME HOLMAN: The search for survivors officially is over, but, on Saturday, this man emerged from a collapsed building 11 days after the quake.

WISMOND EXANTUS, survivor: I want to tell the rescue people not to stop, not to give up, because they can find people like me. I could have survived longer, another two or three days under the rubble. Maybe there are more people alive, and they can find them.

KWAME HOLMAN: Still, Haitian authorities now are focused on the survivors, urging them to leave the wrecked capital. So far, chartered buses have evacuated more than 200,000 refugees to the countryside. Nearly half of those have gone to Gonaives in the north, a city that was decimated by back-to-back hurricanes in 2008.

Even so, earthquake survivors said they had little choice.

MORENCY CINDY, survivor: I lost everything, and the situation there is not good. Here in Gonaives is not very good either, but I will stay until we see what happens down there.

KWAME HOLMAN: In the meantime, far from the scenes of destruction, world leaders met in Montreal today to collaborate on Haiti’s recovery.