Victims wait for aid at Fonds-Verrettes
Many thousands still need aid

UN peacekeepers will take over from a multi-national force on Tuesday, with thousands still dependent on supplies dropped in by helicopter.

Relief workers say there is a growing danger of disease, with more rains expected in June, the usual wet season.

At least 2,000 people are known to have died or disappeared in severe flooding over the past week.

Aid agencies have been struggling to reach survivors in remote areas, and military helicopter airlifts have been suspended for a day for maintenance.

From Tuesday, the UN will be in charge of relief operations in the country.

However, the helicopters belong to a multi-national force that was sent to Haiti to maintain security after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide left in February.

Boy at the Peredo River in Bel Roch, near Mapou


A spokesman for the force, Lieutenant Colonel David Lapan, made it clear that he believed the initial emergency phase of the rescue effort was over.

More than 100 tons of food alone has been airlifted to the survivors.

The military fears that now some of those not directly affected by the floods are travelling to the area hoping to receive the handouts.

“We are concerned that people who are outside the immediate vicinity are now coming in to possibly take advantage of the fact that food is being distributed,” said Col Lapan.

“We are trying to make sure that we don’t become bogged down in feeding people who don’t need it as badly as those who were immediately affected by the floods.”

Disease threat

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is worried that dams formed by debris above the villages of Bawa, St Michel, Nan Galette and Naroche could burst if there is more heavy rainfall.

“Our biggest concern right now is that these four villages are at risk of landslides, mudslides and rockslides,” spokesman Bernard Barratt told BBC News Online.

“We’ve distributed plastic sheeting for people to make temporary shelters in hilly areas and we’re trying to get local civil defence people to keep watch at night,” he said.

Mr Barratt said there was also a growing risk of disease the longer bodies remained buried under rocks and in flood water.

In the Dominican Republic, affected areas are expected to be sprayed from the air with disinfectant.

Up to 1,500 people are still missing in the village of Mapou in south-east Haiti, one of the worst-affected areas.

The border town of Jimani suffered some of the worst casualties, with 329 bodies found and at least 300 people missing.