Haiti

Haiti: Lifesaving aid makes its way through to quake-hit Jacmel by ship

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A VITAL aid shipment containing 4,000 tents and more than 300 family survival kits has just docked at the Haitian coastal town of Jacmel.

Jacmel, 30 miles south west of the capital Port-au-Prince, has been devastated by the recent earth quake with more than 3,000 people reported to have been killed or injured and 60% of buildings damaged or destroyed.

Staff from Plan International, which has worked in Haiti for more than 30 years, have been assessing the immediate needs of the population, many of whom are still camping out in the streets.

Plan International spokesman Stuart Coles said the race was on to get aid to those who were most in need.

"As Jacmel is on the coast it is easier to get aid in than it is in Port au Prince. The quake has destroyed or damaged most buildings here but mercifully the death count is lower than it is in the capital," he said.

"The equipment coming off the boat will make a real difference. There are tents, food, clean water and family packs. Those contain things such as soap, towels, cups, nappies and toilet paper.

"It gets quite cold during the night here and many of the children are now developing coughs and respiratory problems.

"Diarrhoea is also becoming much more common. These seem simple ailments but can quickly become very serious in these situations."

Children are especially vulnerable after disasters of this magnitude;

in Haiti one in five children suffers stunted growth due to poor nutrition, so they are particularly vulnerable.

A ten-strong team of Plan aid workers conducted an assessment in two areas in Jacmel yesterday, Raquitte and Camp Siloé, focusing on shelter, water and sanitation, food security, health needs. Special attention is also being paid to child protection.

It is vital that youngest survivors of this tragedy have access to food, clean water emergency health care, shelter and psycho-social support. Temporary schools are also likely to be needed in the medium-term.

Globally Plan has raised US$4,416, 574 for the emergency relief effort (this figure does not include US$50,000 pledged by USAID)

Plan's supporters in the UK have donated =A374,000 online to Plan's emergency appeal

Plan UK has pledged =A31million towards emergency relief and recovery work in Haiti. But more money is urgently needed to help save lives.

"Our priority is assisting children and their families and getting people at risk into safe accommodation wherever possible. Easing psychological trauma, which is not as obvious, will be very important as will ensuring child protection," says Plan UK's chief executive Marie Staunton.

Anyone wishing to make a donation or to find out more about Plan's work can visit www.plan-uk.org/haiti or freephone 0800 130 0230.

ENDS

Plan staff are available for comment in Haiti but access to satellite communications is limited. For requests, please contact:

Alistair Clay +44 207 482 4982 (m) 07919 574180 alistair.clay@plan-international.org

Notes:

Plan, has operated in Haiti for 37 years and currently has projects in the following areas: Beudet , Cayes-Jacmel , Croix-des-Bouquets , Dolney , Fort-Liberté , Frères , Jacmel , Lavallée , Ouanaminthe , Trou-du-Nord - Children will be the hardest hit by this disaster. Homes and schools have been destroyed. Children are still trapped under rubble while others are wandering the streets traumatized.

ENDS