Haiti 2010 Earthquake Response

Search and rescue phase officially ends

In a January 22 situation report, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 111,481 deaths have been confirmed in four departments (South East, West, Nippes and West), although that number is “preliminary.” Approximately 609,000 people in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area lack shelter.  (These figures are from the Government of Haiti and, notably, cover only a portion of the area and population potentially affected by the earthquake.)

OCHA also reports that the Government declared the search and rescue phase over.

The Government has declared the search and rescue phase over  at 1600 local time on 22 January. There were no new live rescues reported for the third day in a row. [OCHA]

The latter statement is not correct.  Multiple sources have reported rescues as recently as January 22.

An 84-year-old woman and 22-year-old man were rescued on January 22 in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, about 10 days after the magnitude 7.0 quake. [RFERL]

Israeli rescuers pulled a 22-year-old man from the ruins of a three-story building on Friday [January 22], 10 days after the massive earthquake killed tens of thousands of people.[ CNN]

The government’s announcement does not preclude any additional rescues.

Spokeswoman Elizebeth Byrs said the move would not prevent rescue teams who were still searching through the rubble from carrying out any work they felt necessary. “It doesn’t mean the government will order them to stop. In case there is the slightest sign of life, they will act.” [Guardian]

The declaration of an end to the search and rescue phase typically is a preliminary step to beginning the process of debris removal, in preparation for reconstruction.

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