Newly Orphaned Children Among Major Concerns in Haiti

BY Mike Melia  January 20, 2010 at 5:45 PM EDT

The earthquake that devastated Haiti last week has left thousands of children without parents in a country where there were already estimated to be hundreds of thousands of orphans before the quake.

Orphanages that were already full to capacity before the quake are struggling to accommodate the siege of new children being brought to their doors and in many cases have been forced to turn them away.

Like other outposts trying to provide relief in Port-au-Prince, orphanages are in desperate need of basic supplies like food and water. Frustrations are mounting as needed medicines have failed to arrive, NPR’s Jason Beaubien told the Rundown Wednesday afternoon from the Haitian capital.

Beaubien traveled to several orphanages and [had this to say on NPR's Morning Edition](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122765790&ft=3&f=2100218):

They would like to airlift all of them to the United States immediately, is what they would like to do. And they’re in the process – these children were probably going to get adopted to Americans at some point. Some of them were in the process. Some – about 10 of them here actually had U.S. passports, and there are some little glitches that are holding them up. They’re trying to get all of that worked out and basically just get these kids out of here because at this point, the entire city is in no way capable of supporting even just people that can function and can work. So they’re really hoping to just get all of these orphans out of Port-au-Prince.

Beaubien said the escalating number of orphans and what to do with them will remain an ongoing issue in the days and weeks ahead:

Every orphanage we’ve been to has said that they’re just simply turning the kids away. It’s kind of unclear what’s happening with them. Probably, they’re getting absorbed in with the other people who are sleeping on the streets, but those children are incredibly vulnerable. It’s very unclear what’s going to happen to an untold number of kids who have lost both their parents from this quake.

You can watch Margaret Warner’s full conversation with Beaubien on tonight’s NewsHour.