Haiti Earthquake Search and Rescue Operation Ends

World | January 23, 2010, Saturday // 13:09|  views

Un spokesperson Elizabeth Byrs has announced the "heartbreaking" decision to end the search and rescue operation in earthquake-stricken Haiti. Photo by BGNES

The government of Haiti have made the decision to declare the search and rescue phase of the relief operation at an end.

The announcement has come a day after two people were successfully pulled from the rubble in the Haitian capital, Port au Prince.

UN spokesperson Elizabeth Byrs, speaking in Geneva, said that a total of 132 survivors had been rescued during the 11 days since the earthquake had struck on January 12.

She said the decision to end the rescue phase was "heartbreaking", but that it had been taken following expert advice.

Most of the international teams would now leave Haiti, leaving only some with lifting equipment to help with cleaning up and with distribution of aid, the BBC has reported.

Byrs added that humanitarian relief efforts were still being scaled up in Port au Prince, and in the towns of Jacmel, Leogane and other areas affected by the earthquake.

At least 75,000 bodies have so far been buried in mass graves, according to the Haiti government, and many more remain uncollected in the streets.

An estimated 1.5 million people were left homeless by the 7.0-magnitude quake, which is estimated to have killed as many as 200,000 people.

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Tags: Haiti earthqauke, search and rescue, relief aid, humanitarian aid


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