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World News

January 15, 2010

Aid groups struggle to get food, water to Haitians

(Continued)

"We have much more support on the way. Our priority is getting relief out to the needy people," he said.

About 5,500 U.S. soldiers and Marines are expected to be in Haiti by Monday. Their efforts will include providing security, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Hundreds of bodies were stacked outside the city morgue, and limbs of the dead protruded from the rubble of crushed schools and homes. A few workers were able to free people who had been trapped under the rubble for days, including a New Jersey woman, Sarla Chand, freed by French firefighters on Thursday from the collapsed Montana Hotel. But others attended to the grim task of using bulldozers to transport loads of bodies.

Haitian President Rene Preval told The Miami Herald that over a 20-hour period government crews had removed 7,000 corpses from the streets and morgues and buried them in mass graves.

For the long-suffering people of Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, shock was giving way to despair.

"We need food. The people are suffering. My neighbors and friends are suffering," said Sylvain Angerlotte, 22. "We don't have money. We don't have nothing to eat. We need pure water."

From Europe, Asia and the Americas, more than 20 governments, the U.N. and private aid groups were sending planeloads of high-energy biscuits and other food, tons of water, tents, blankets, water-purification gear, heavy equipment for removing debris, helicopters and other transport. Hundreds of search-and-rescue, medical and other specialists also headed to Haiti.

The WFP began organizing distribution centers for food and water Thursday, said Kim Bolduc, acting chief of the large U.N. mission in this desperately poor country. She said that "the risk of having social unrest very soon" made it important to move quickly.

Governments and government agencies have pledged about $400 million worth of aid, including $100 million from the United States.

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