23 Jan 2010

Search and rescue phase in Haiti now over

10:02 pm on 23 January 2010

The search for survivors is winding down in Haiti as the United Nations moves its focus to caring for hundreds of thousands of people left homeless by the earthquake that hit the Caribbean island 10 days ago.

The UN's Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its latest situation report on the relief effort that: "The government has declared the search and rescue phase over."

"There were 132 live rescues by international search and rescue teams," it added.

The report says that the number of people leaving the capital Port-au-Prince is increasing daily and more than 130,000 people have taken advantage of a government offer of free transportation to cities in the north, south and west.

Rebecca Grynspan from the UN Development Programme told the ABC that it's now important to coordinate all relief work efforts.

She says it's logistically very difficult and a great deal of coordination is needed to ensure that aid reaches everyone who needs it.

Survivors found

An 84-year-old woman has been rescued alive from the rubble of a building in Port-au-Prince, 10 days after the earthquake.

Doctors said she was injured and barely responding, and was being treated at the main hospital in the capital with intravenous fluids and drugs.

Her son told AFP he had heard her cries on Thursday morning and, almost a day later, he dug her out with the help of friends.

The BBC reports that an Israeli search team said it had pulled a 22-year-old man alive from the rubble and that he was in a stable condition.

The rescue came as the UN said rescuers were winding down searches for survivors and focusing on relief work.

Although the US and the UN World Food Programme insist the distribution of food and water is well under way, many people have still seen no international aid at all, the BBC reports.

The official death toll from the quake is now 111,481.

The country's interior ministry also says nearly 200,000 people were injured.

Aid officials say more than 500,000 survivors are now living in 500 camps and tent villages.

An estimated 1.5 million people were left homeless by the 7.0-magnitude quake on 12 January.

Benefit concert

Dozens of the biggest names in film and music have taken part in a live fund-raising event for earthquake victims.

The benefit concert took place in New York, Los Angeles, London and Haiti.

Hosted by the American actor George Clooney, the show was broadcast on all the major US television networks and the internet.

The telethon aimed for the largest-ever global audience, and featured musical collaborations, tales of loss and survival, and actors taking donations by phone, while the broadcast relayed shocking images and interviews with Haitians.