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Haiti has enough search-rescue teams, 27 on the ground

January 16, 2010

There will be soon a total of 27 search and rescue teams in earthquake devastated Haiti and that number appears sufficient for the moment, the top UN humanitarian coordinator said Friday.

John Holmes said the international teams and the United Nations personnel in Haiti have begun systematically retrieving the dead from the magnitude-7 earth quake that hit Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.

There are already 17 search and rescue teams operating and 10 were set to arrive in coming days. Holmes warned that the UN is not abandoning the idea of further search and rescue efforts, saying that logistically the international airport cannot handle more arrivals at the moment.

The UN considered the 72-hour period following the earthquake critical in determining whether more survivors could be pulled from the wreckage.

Holmes denied news reports that the huge food and supplies warehouse of the World Food Programme in the Haitian capital had been looted. The UN was feeding an estimated 1.9 million Haitians before the earthquake.

“It was not a correct story,” Holmes said.

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