Brazil sends more aid to Haiti, unveils relief strategy

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, January 15, 2010
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The Brazilian government said on Thursday that it is sending another two C-130 planes loaded with aid supplies to Haiti after a devastating earthquake hit the small Caribbean nation on Tuesday.

The two Hercules tranport planes, which are scheduled to take off from Rio on Thursday evening, will carry water and medicine, as well as specialized rescuers to help the quake victims.

At least two field hospitals will be built by the Brazilian Air Force and Navy in Port-au-Prince, as many local health workers were killed or injured when the three largest hospitals in the Haitian capital collapsed in the 7.3-magnitude earthquake.

The International Red Cross estimated that the death toll could be between 45,000 and 50,000 based on information from the Haitian Red Cross and government officials.

Meanwhile, a Brazilian delegation, which arrived on Wednesday in Port-au-Prince to assess the earthquake's damage, devised a strategy for the Brazilians to help quake-hit Haiti.

The delegation, led by Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, identified five emergency points: burying the dead, providing medical treatment for the injured, clearing away debris, increasing security in the devastated areas and distributing food and water to the local people.

Jobim stressed the need for an immediate implementation of the strategy for humanitarian aid.

"We cannot wait," he warned. "If there are problems, we need to overcome them."

Brazil has already sent planes to Haiti on Wednesday and Thursday, loaded with tons of food and bottled water, medicine, military medical personnel and rescue teams with sniff dogs.

Besides humanitarian aid, the Brazilian government also offered 15 million U.S. dollars in aid to Haiti.

Further aid will be considered after the return of Jobim and his delegation, according to the Brazilian government. The assessment team is expected to be back in Brazil on Friday.

The headquarters of the Brazilian military in Port-au-Prince, which participated in the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), is serving as a makeshift hospital.

Brazil is in charge of the military component of the 9,000-strong MINUSTAH, and is the biggest contributor with 1,266 soldiers.

Also on Thursday, the Brazilian Army said it will pay homage to the Brazilian military officers killed in the massive earthquake.

So far, the bodies of 14 Brazilian servicemen have been found, but four other officers still remain missing. All the dead will receive military honors and decorations at a ceremony attended by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The date of the ceremony to be held in the capital of Brasilia has yet to be announced.

Before the earthquake, there had been no casualties among the Brazilian MINUSTAH soldiers, who work in several areas such as security, engineering and health care in Haiti.

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