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Second aid plane to be sent to Haiti

Nearly a week after an earthquake shattered Haiti, a second plane containing 35 tonnes of emergency aid was set to take off from Zurich on Monday evening.

The foreign ministry said it contained medical aid and material for building emergency accommodation. On Saturday a first Swiss plane landed in the disaster zone laden with first aid kits, medical material and medicines, shelters and generators.

World leaders have promised massive amounts of assistance to rebuild Haiti since Tuesday’s quake killed as many as 200,000 people and left its capital, Port-au-Prince, in ruins.

European Union institutions and member states have offered more than €400 million (SFr590 million) in emergency and longer-term assistance to Haiti.

Swiss Solidarity, the fundraising arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, swissinfo.ch’s parent body, has already collected almost SFr3.5 million ($3.4 million).

On Monday United States troops protected aid handouts and the United Nations sought extra peacekeepers to bolster security in Haiti as marauding looters emptied wrecked shops and tens of thousands of survivors waited desperately for food and medical care.

International aid is only just starting to get through to those in need, delayed by logistical logjams and security concerns. The US military said it was doing its best to get as many planes as possible into Port-au-Prince after aid agencies complained shipments of aid had not been allowed to land at the overstretched airport.

More than 30 countries have rushed rescue teams, doctors, field hospitals, food, medicine and other supplies to Haiti, choking the one-runway airfield whose control tower was knocked out by the quake.

Of the 180 Swiss known to be in Haiti, 18 remain unaccounted for.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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