UN calls for more aid, hundreds of Canadians still missing in Haiti - NEWS 95.7
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UN calls for more aid, hundreds of Canadians still missing in Haiti

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says up to 50 per cent of the buildings in Haiti’s capital and other areas hardest hit by the earthquake have been damaged or destroyed.

The Red Cross estimates 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed in Tuesday’s cataclysmic earthquake.

The U.N. chief says the United Nations will launch an emergency appeal later Friday for $550 million to provide food, water, sheltern and other essentials for millions of Haitians.

Ban says the international community’s response has been “robust.” He acknowledges “there is frustration” among Haitians with the pace of relief efforts and says the U.N. is watching for any signs or unrest.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky says 37 U.N. personnel have been confirmed dead and 330 remain missing from about 12,000 people working for all U.N. operations in Haiti.

Security concerns.

U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti say there’s increasing anger among earthquake survivors that relief supplies haven’t been distributed quickly.

A Russian search-and-rescue team says it’s had to suspend its work after nightfall, because of looting and a general lack of security in the capital Port au Prince.

Looters, including small groups of young men and boys with machetes, have been seen roaming downtown streets.

The United States says a total of 8000 troops will be deployed to Haiti in the coming days and their efforts will include providing security.

Meanwhile Canada’s Defence Minister Peter MacKay says more Canadian Forces are planned for Friday, with more to come.

“Depending on air traffic at the Port au Prince airport our plan is to send another four flights to Haiti today,” says MacKay. 

“This will include further DART components, six G-wagons which are armoured SUVs additional Canadian Forces and security personnel.”

The defence minister says there are 144 military personnel now on the ground in Haiti, with more to come. Two navy frigates left Halifax Thursday, the 500 sailors on board will reach Haiti on Sunday or Monday. The longer-term plan is to send two big C-17 transports in every day, with additional flights by smaller C-130 hercules aircraft.

Canadians still missing.

More than 1400 Canadians are still unaccounted for.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says the latest information has four confirmed Canadian deaths, 13 injured and more than 550 located.

Among the four confirmed deaths is Sgt. Mark Gallagher who spent his entire career in the Maritimes. The body of the 50-year-old was found in the rubble, the RCMP announced Thursday evening.

And, in a frustrating development it turns out that word that a former Liberal M-P from Quebec being found alive was false. Serge Marcil has not been found, and he still listing as missing.

Aid organizations struggle.

International aid organizations are struggling to get desperately needed food and water to survivors.  

Care Canada spokesman Rick Perera arrived in a suburb of Port au Prince Friday and says people have called out “we need help.”

Perera says amidst the destruction, people are also coping with bodies that have not been recovered. Hard-pressed government workers continue to bury thousands of bodies in mass graves.

“Looking out the windows of our vehicles we saw a great deal of people wearing masks or at least bandanas over their mouths because of the smell,” says Perara.

For the long term.

President Barack Obama promised Haitian President Rene Preval long-term help rebuilding his country in a phone call Friday, their first conversation since Tuesday’s earthquake.

During the 30-minute call, Obama told Preval that the world has been devastated by the loss and suffering in Haiti, and pledged U.S. support for both the immediate recovery effort and reconstruction.

Preval said that the needs in his country are great, but aid is now making its way to the Haitian people.

Preval ended the call with a message to the American people, saying “from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Haitian people, thank you, thank you, thank you.”

The White House has said Obama tried to contact Preval several times this week, but could not because of communication disruptions following the quake.

Social media money.

Meanwhile, aid agencies say social media like Twitter and Facebook as well as the web itself are behind the speedy, massive outpouring of pledges and donations from Canadians for Haitian relief.

The Canadian Red Cross is reporting commitments of $10.9 million, with 85 per cent of donations coming from online.

Spokeswoman Katie Kallio says ordinary Canadians, corporations, schools and churches are stepping up to the plate to help the earthquake-torn nation, including $525,000 in corporate donations.

Aid agencies say Canadians found out quickly about the tragedy because of the Internet, cellphone pictures and social networks, prompting the immediate deluge of donations.

World Vision has raised $2.5 million as of mid-morning. The Humanitarian Coalition, made up of Care Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Quebec and Save the Children, estimates $1.5 million in pledges and donations with another $750,000 committed to UNICEF.

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