Haiti struggles to return to normal life

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Earthmovers cleared rotting corpses from Haiti's ruined capital as donors met yesterday to draw up a recovery plan from an earthquake now known to have killed at least 150000 people.

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Earthmovers cleared rotting corpses from Haiti's ruined capital as donors met yesterday to draw up a recovery plan from an earthquake now known to have killed at least 150000 people.

With strong aftershocks bringing new terror to the streets of Port-au-Prince, police struggled to control fresh outbreaks of looting in the city where hundreds of thousands are homeless, hungry and wounded.

With the search for survivors officially over, mechancial diggers demolished damaged buildings and cleared downtown rubble in the tropical heat.

The stench from bodies entombed in the rubble since January 12 reeked through the capital.

Communications Minister Marie-Lawrence Jocelyn Lassegue said she had been told by the national recovery commission to expect "a figure of 150000 dead by Monday", referring to the number of bodies found and officially counted.

"It's very difficult to estimate how many more people might be dead, but the prime minister has spoken of 200000," she said.

Earlier, Haitian health officials had quoted a figure of just more than 112000 dead.

There were no reports of new casualties after a 4,7-magnitude aftershock rattled Haiti on Sunday.

Ministers in Montreal discussed how to streamline the delivery of food, water, drugs, and medical supplies to the swelling number of people living in makeshift camps around the shattered capital.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and officials from the United Nations attended yesterday's talks.

Aid workers have been moving into the recovery phase after the government officially called off search and rescue efforts, but French rescue workers said on Sunday they had detected what might be another survivor.

"We detected a movement on radar. We don't know what it is," French civil defence service commander Philippe Chaussinaid said.

In the downtown district of Delmas two dozen French firefighters were working in and around the building behind a cordon protected by armed French gendarmes.

"There was someone who came to tell us that they heard noises from that house there," Commander Samuel Bernes, also of the French civil defense service, said speaking on the scene.

Meanwhile, a mass exodus from the capital was putting a burden on small towns like Saint Marc, where 10000 refugees were lodging with friends, strangers or in churches.

Buses passed incessantly through the town some 80km north of Port-au-Prince, loaded with earthquake victims hoping to find food and shelter.

"I need manpower. I need soldiers," Edmond Mulet, whose predecessor was killed when the UN headquarters in Port-au-Prince collapsed in the January 12 quake, told CNN. - Sapa-AFP

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