January 23, 2010 in Nation/World

Survivors flee Haitian capital city

As many as 200,000 have already left
Mike Melia And Ben Fox Associated Press
 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – By boat or by bus, by bicycle and on foot along clogged and broken roads, earthquake survivors streamed away from this city and its landscape of desolation Friday and into Haiti’s hinterlands and the unknown.

The government and international agencies urgently searched for sites to build tent cities on Port-au-Prince’s outskirts to shelter hundreds of thousands of the homeless staying behind before springtime’s onslaught of floods and hurricanes.

“We need to get people out of the sun and elements,” U.N. spokesman Nicholas Reader said as relief teams worked to deliver food, water and medical aid to the population.

Into this bleak picture Friday came stunning word of rescues from beneath the ruins, 10 days after the killer quake.

An Israeli search team pulled a 21-year-old man from a crevasse in the rubble of what had been a two-story home.

Emmannuel Buso, a student and tailor, was so ghostly pale that rescuers said his mother thought he was a corpse. Doctors said he is expected to make a full recovery.

Earlier Friday, an 84-year-old woman was said by relatives to have been pulled from the wreckage of her home, according to doctors administering oxygen and intravenous fluids to her at the General Hospital. They said they had little hope the woman, in bad condition, would live.

The rescues came two days after many international search teams began packing up their gear.

The 7.0-magnitude quake struck Jan. 12 and killed an estimated 200,000 people, according to Haitian government figures cited by the European Commission. Countless dead remained buried in thousands of collapsed and toppled buildings in Port-au-Prince, a city of slums that drew migrants from an even more destitute countryside.

Now that movement has abruptly reversed, as quake victims, with meager belongings, jam small buses and battered automobiles, take to bicycles or just walk to outlying towns and rural areas, to relatives or whatever shelter they can find.

As many as 200,000 have fled the city of 2 million, the U.S. Agency for International Development reported.

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