Haiti quake relief -- a daunting task for world community

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Stranded crowds

Among other difficulties, the injured have been short of medical treatments as most hospitals, damaged or collapsed, are not running after the quake.

Hou Shike, a doctor with the Chinese rescue team, said that "Doctors and medicine are of great need here. I hope more rescue teams would join us."

Although local volunteers have done their best to offer basic treatment, but infections among some of the wounded have deteriorated because of the lack of wound cleansing.

Experts warned that widespread epidemic may break out due to exposure of bodies in the ruins.

Meanwhile, survivors in the quake are facing a catastrophic situation, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday.

The people of Port-au-Prince are now struggling even to survive and nerves are fraying as hungry and thirsty survivors face up to the reality, the Geneva-based humanitarian agency said in a statement.

Access to shelter, sanitation, clean water, food and medical care remains extremely limited, according to Riccardo Conti, head of the ICRC's delegation in Haiti.

"Even if the presence of aid agencies is starting to be felt in hospitals and clinics, many medical facilities in Port-au-Prince still lack staff and medicine. Given the scale of the needs, the task facing humanitarian organizations is daunting," Conti said.

With virtually no infrastructure or services left and vast numbers of people sleeping in the streets, the availability of toilets and fresh water is extremely limited. All over Port-au- Prince, the stench of urine is overpowering.

"We must rapidly address these water and sanitation issues if we want to minimize the risk of an outbreak of disease," said Conti.

Prices for food and transport have skyrocketed and incidents of violence and looting are on the rise as the desperation grows, according to the agency.

The ICRC, which was already active in Haiti before Tuesday's earthquake, is currently stepping up efforts to provide help to the Haitians.

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