PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Workers are carving out mass graves on a hillside north of Haiti's capital, using earth-movers to bury 10,000 earthquake victims in a single day while relief workers warn that people are still dying of their injuries.
Medical clinics have 12-day patient backlogs, untreated injuries are festering and makeshift camps housing thousands of survivors could foster disease, experts said.
"The next health risk could include outbreaks of diarrhea, respiratory tract infections and other diseases among hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in overcrowded camps with poor or nonexistent sanitation," said Dr. Greg Elder, deputy operations manager for Doctors Without Borders in Haiti.
The death toll is estimated at 200,000, according to Haitian government figures relayed by the European Commission, with 80,000 buried in mass graves. The commission now estimates 2 million homeless, up from 1.5 million, and says 250,000 are in need of urgent aid.
In the sparsely populated wasteland of Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince, burial workers said the macabre task of handling the never-ending flow of bodies was traumatizing.
"I have seen so many children, so many children. I cannot sleep at night and, if I do, it is a constant nightmare," said Foultone Fequiert, 38, his face covered with a T-shirt against the overwhelming stench.
The dead stick out at all angles from the mass graves -- tall mounds of chalky dirt, the limbs of men, women and children frozen together in death. "I received 10,000 bodies yesterday alone," said Fequiert.
Workers say they have no time to give the dead proper religious burials or follow pleas from the international community that bodies be buried in shallow graves from which loved ones might eventually retrieve them.
"We just dump them in, and fill it up," said Luckner Clerzier, 39, who was helping guide trucks to another grave site farther up the road.
An Associated Press reporter counted 15 burial mounds at Clerzier's site, each covering a wide trench cut into the ground some 25 feet (8 meters) deep, and rising 15 feet (4.5 meters) into the air. At the larger mass grave, where Fequiert toiled, three earth-moving machines cut long trenches into the earth, readying them for more cadavers.
Others struggle to stem the flow of the dead.
More than eight days after the magnitude-7.0 earthquake, rescuers searched late into the night for survivors with dogs and sonar equipment. A Los Angeles County rescue team sent three dogs separately into the rubble on a street corner in Petionville, a suburb overlooking Port-au-Prince. Each dog picked up the scent of life at one spot.
They tested the spot and screamed into the rubble in Creole they've learned: "If you hear me, bang three times."
They heard no response, but vowed to continue.
"It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack, and each day the needles are disappearing," team member Steven Chin said.
One rescue was reported. The International Medical Corps said it was caring for a child found in ruins Wednesday. The boy's uncle told doctors and a nurse with the Los Angeles-based organization that relatives pulled the 5-year-old from the wreckage of his home after searching for a week, said Margaret Aguirre, an IMC spokeswoman in Haiti.
A Dutch adoption agency said Thursday that a mercy flight carrying 106 adopted children was on its way to the Netherlands from Port-au-Prince. The children on board the plane were all in the process of being adopted and already had been matched to new Dutch parents before the quake.
At the Mission Baptiste hospital south of Port-au-Prince, patients waited on benches or rolling beds while doctors and nurses raced among them, X-rays in hand.
The hospital had just received badly need supplies from soldiers of the U.S Army's 82nd Airborne Division, but hospital director John Angus said there wasn't enough. He pleaded for more doctors, casts and metal plates to fix broken limbs.
U.N. peacekeepers and U.S. troops have been helping keep order around aid deliveries and clinics in the stricken city, which seemed relatively calm on Thursday, even if looters continued to pillage pockets of downtown.
Police stood by as people made off with food and mobile phones from shattered shops, saying they were trying to save stores that are still undamaged.
"It is not easy but we try to protect what we can," said officer Belimaire Laneau.
Young men with machetes fought over packages of baby diapers within sight of the body of a young woman who had been shot in the head. Witnesses said police had shot her, but officers in the vicinity denied it.
Meanwhile, a flotilla of rescue vessels led by the U.S. hospital ship Comfort has steamed into Port-au-Prince harbor to help fill gaps in the struggling global effort to deliver water, food and medical help.
Elder, of Doctors Without Borders, said that patients were dying of sepsis from untreated wounds and that some of the group's posts had 10- to 12-day backups of patients.
Adding to the terror, a 5.9-magnitude aftershock shook Haiti's capital Wednesday, sending people screaming into the streets. Some buildings collapsed and an undertaker said one woman died of a heart attack. Surgical teams and patients were forced to evacuate temporarily from at least one hospital.
At United Nations headquarters in New York, U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said it was believed 3 million people are affected. Vast, makeshift camps and settlements have sprung up for survivors.
Joseph St. Juste and his 5-year-old daughter, Jessica, were among 50,000 people spending their nights at a golf course. He is afraid to stay in his home because of the aftershocks.
The survivors have put of shelters of bedsheets or cardboard boxes on fairways that snake up the hill toward a country club where U.S. paratroopers give out food daily.
St. Juste, a 36-year-old bus driver, wakes up every day and goes out to find food and water for his daughter.
"I wake up for her," he said. "Life is hard anymore. I've got to get out of Haiti. There is no life in Haiti."
Associated Press writers contributing to this report included Alfred de Montesquiou, Tamara Lush, Kevin Maurer, Michelle Faul, Bill Gorman and Jessica Desvarieux in Haiti; Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations; Emma Vandore and Elaine Ganley in Paris; and Aoife White in Brussels.
Updated 1/21/10 9:14 a.m.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti aEU" A powerful new earthquake struck Haiti on Wednesday, shaking rubble from damaged buildings and sending screaming people running into the streets only eight days after the countryaEU(tm)s capital was devastated by an apocalyptic quake.
The magnitude-6.1 temblor was the largest aftershock yet to the Jan. 12 quake. The extent of additional damage or injuries was not immediately clear.
Wails of terror rose from frightened survivors as the earth shuddered at 6:03 a.m. U.S. soldiers and tent city refugees alike raced for open ground, and clouds of dust rose in the capital.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 35 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Port-au-Prince and 6.2 miles (9.9 kilometers) below the surface.
aEUoeIt kind of felt like standing on a board on top of a ball,aEU said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Steven Payne. The 27-year-old from Jolo, West Virginia was preparing to hand out food to refugees in a tent camp of 25,000 quake victims when the aftershock hit.
Last weekaEU(tm)s magnitude-7 quake killed an estimated 200,000 people in Haiti, left 250,000 injured and made 1.5 million homeless, according to the European Union Commission.
The new shake prompted Anold Fleurigene, 28, to grab his wife and three children and head to the city bus station. His house was destroyed in the first quake and his sister and brother killed.
aEUoeIaEU(tm)ve seen the situation here, and I want to get out,aEU he said.
A massive international aid effort has been struggling with logistical problems, and many Haitians are still desperate for food and water.
Still, search-and-rescue teams have emerged from the ruins with some improbable success stories aEU" including the rescue of 69-year-old ardent Roman Catholic who said she prayed constantly during her week under the rubble.
Ena Zizi had been at a church meeting at the residence of HaitiaEU(tm)s Roman Catholic archbishop when the Jan. 12 quake struck, trapping her in debris. On Tuesday, she was rescued by a Mexican disaster team.
Zizi said after the quake, she spoke back and forth with a vicar who also was trapped. But he fell silent after a few days, and she spent the rest of the time praying and waiting.
aEUoeI talked only to my boss, God,aEU she said. aEUoeI didnaEU(tm)t need any more humans.aEU
Doctors who examined Zizi on Tuesday said she was dehydrated and had a dislocated hip and a broken leg.
Elsewhere in the capital, two women were pulled from a destroyed university building. And near midnight Tuesday, a smiling and singing 26-year-old Lozama Hotteline was carried to safety from a collapsed store in the Petionville neighborhood by the French aid group Rescuers Without Borders.
Crews at the cathedral recovered the body of the archbishop, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, who was killed in the Jan. 12 quake.
Authorities said close to 100 people had been pulled from wrecked buildings by international search-and-rescue teams. Efforts continued, with dozens of teams hunting through Port-au-PrinceaEU(tm)s crumbled homes and buildings for signs of life.
But the good news was overshadowed by the frustrating fact that the world still canaEU(tm)t get enough food and water to the hungry and thirsty.
aEUoeWe need so much. Food, clothes, we need everything. I donaEU(tm)t know whose responsibility it is, but they need to give us something soon,aEU said Sophia Eltime, a 29-year-old mother of two who has been living under a bedsheet with seven members of her extended family.
The World Food Program said more than 250,000 ready-to-eat food rations had been distributed in Haiti by Tuesday, reaching only a fraction of the 3 million people thought to be in desperate need.
The WFP said it needs to deliver 100 million ready-to-eat rations in the next 30 days, but it only had 16 million meals in the pipeline.
Even as U.S. troops landed in Seahawk helicopters Tuesday on the manicured lawn of the ruined National Palace, the colossal efforts to help Haiti were proving inadequate because of the scale of the disaster. Expectations exceeded what money, will and military might have been able to achieve.
So far, international relief efforts have been unorganized, disjointed and insufficient to satisfy the great need. Doctors Without Borders says a plane carrying urgently needed surgical equipment and drugs has been turned away five times, even though the agency received advance authorization to land.
A statement from Partners in Health, co-founded by the deputy U.N. envoy to Haiti, Dr. Paul Farmer, said the groupaEU(tm)s medical director estimated 20,000 people are dying each day who could be saved by surgery.
aEUoeTENS OF THOUSANDS OF EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS NEED EMERGENCY SURGICAL CARE NOW!!!!!aEU the group said in the statement. It did not describe the basis for that estimate.
The reasons are varied:
aEU" Both national and international authorities suffered great losses in the quake, taking out many of the leaders best suited to organize a response.
aEU" Woefully inadequate infrastructure and a near-complete failure in telephone and Internet communications have complicated efforts to reach millions of people forced from their homes.
aEU" Fears of looting and violence have kept aid groups and governments from moving as quickly as they would like.
aEU" Pre-existing poverty and malnutrition put some at risk even before the quake hit.
Governments have pledged nearly $1 billion in aid, and thousands of tons of food and medical supplies have been shipped. But much remains trapped in warehouses, or diverted to the neighboring Dominican Republic. Port-au-PrinceaEU(tm)s nonfunctioning seaport and many impassable roads complicate efforts to get aid to the people.
Aid is being turned back from the single-runway airport, where the U.S. military has been criticized by some of poorly prioritizing flights. The U.S. Air Force said it had raised the facilityaEU(tm)s daily capacity from 30 flights before the quake to 180 on Tuesday.
About 2,200 U.S. Marines established a beachhead west of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday to help speed aid delivery, in addition to 9,000 Army soldiers already on the ground. Lt. Cmdr. Walter Matthews, a U.S. military spokesman, said helicopters were ferrying aid from the airport into Port-au-Prince and the nearby town of Jacmel as fast as they could.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the military will send a port-clearing ship with cranes aboard to Port-au-Prince to remove debris that is preventing many larger aid ships from docking.
The U.N. was sending in reinforcements as well: The Security Council voted Tuesday to add 2,000 peacekeepers to the 7,000 already in Haiti, and 1,500 more police to the 2,100-strong international force.
aEUoeThe floodgates for aid are starting to open,aEU Matthews said at the airport. aEUoeIn the first few days, youaEU(tm)re limited by manpower, but weaEU(tm)re starting to bring people in.aEU
The WFPaEU(tm)s Alain Jaffre said the U.N. agency hoped to help 100,000 people by Wednesday.
Hanging over the entire effort was an overwhelming fear among relief officials that HaitiansaEU(tm) desperation would boil over into violence.
aEUoeWeaEU(tm)ve very concerned about the level of security we need around our people when weaEU(tm)re doing distributions,aEU said Graham Tardif, who heads disaster-relief efforts for the charity World Vision. The U.N., the U.S. government and other organizations have echoed such fears.
Occasionally, those fears have been borne out. Looters rampaged through part of downtown Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, just four blocks from where U.S. troops landed at the presidential palace. Hundreds of looters fought over bolts of cloth and other goods with broken bottles and clubs.
USGS geophysicist Bruce Pressgrave said nobody knows if a still-stronger aftershock is possible.
aEUoeAftershocks sometimes die out very quickly,aEU he said. aEUoeIn other cases they can go on for weeks, or if weaEU(tm)re really unlucky it could go on for monthsaEU as the earth adjusts to the new stresses caused by the initial quake.
Associated Press writers contributing include Paul Haven, Michael Melia, Jonathan M. Katz, Michelle Faul and Vivian Sequera in Port-au-Prince; medical writer Margie Mason in Hanoi, Vietnam; Charles J. Hanley in Mexico City; Lori Hinnant in New York; Tales Azzoni in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations; and Seth Borenstein, Pauline Jelinek, Anne Flaherty and Jennifer Loven in Washington.