Saturday, January 16, 2010

Race against time in Haiti!

Antonia Graham of Digicel greets Carine Jones, a Haitian mother, with her children, after arriving from Haiti at the Norman Manley International Airport on Friday. Jones' husband, who is Jamaican, works with Digicel. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

Jamaica Gleaner | Saturday | January 16, 2010
Tyrone Reid, Staff Reporter

AS THE Caribbean Community (CARICOM) mobilises regional relief efforts to aid its Haitian neighbours, senior officials from Jamaica echoed fears of not finding any more survivors beyond the critical 72-hour mark, which elapsed yesterday evening.

It was made clear that persons, who might still be trapped beneath debris, are in a race against time. And the clock is winning.

"Life can only be sustained for so long without air and water, so if you recall when the event occurred, it may have been 4:30 p.m. or 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday, and we are now at Friday, so essentially that window is closing.

"Very, very few people have been found alive late in the day, so we are really running out of time in terms of the rescue efforts that have to be conducted," said Ronald Jackson, director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, who was a member of the Jamaican contingent, led by Prime Minister Bruce Golding, that visited Haiti on Thursday.

shared feelings

The director general's fears were corroborated by Minister with responsibility for Information, Daryl Vaz, who also made the trip to Haiti and witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by the seismic activity earlier this week.

"The window of opportunity for rescuing is probably almost closed by now as we speak, based on the heat and all the other elements," lamented Vaz.

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