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Swiss plane lands with medicines for Haiti

A first Swiss plane laden with emergency aid sufficient for 10-15,000 victims of the Haiti earthquake landed in the disaster zone on Saturday.

The aid consists of first aid kits, medical material and medicines, shelters and generators, a spokesman for the foreign ministry told the Swiss News Agency.

A second plane will leave Switzerland with more aid on Monday, he added.

A total of 41 Swiss experts are also on the ground in the region. Of these, 25 were already in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince by Saturday, and another 14 were on their way there. The other two are in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Switzerland is sending another three people to take care of Swiss citizens. Of the 180 Swiss known to be in Haiti, more than 100 had been contacted by Friday evening. Ten who want to leave have been brought to the Dominican Republic. Another two were injured, and need to be repatriated.

There have been scenes of chaos as Haiti’s overstretched airport has struggled to accept international aid planes.

Switzerland’s first emergency detachment, which left on January 13, was unable to land in Port-au-Prince. It was therefore decided not to send a rescue team, since it would have been unable to arrive in time to be of help.

The number of people killed in Tuesday’s earthquake is not known. On Saturday the Haitian interior minister spoke of a possible toll of at least 100,000.

A spokeswoman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva described the quake as the “worst disaster” in the organisation’s history, in part because of the logistics problems.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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