Search teams wind down efforts in Haiti

Some search-and-rescue teams in earthquake-ravaged Haiti have begun scaling back their operations as hope fades for finding more survivors buried in rubble.

Some search-and-rescue teams in earthquake-ravaged Haiti have begun scaling back their operations as hope fades for finding more survivors buried in rubble.

Members of Rapid UK, a British rescue team, along with 60 British firefighters are returning to Britain, saying it would be miraculous if other quake survivors were found in the ruins.

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On Friday, rescuers pulled an 84-year-old Haitian woman from the rubble of a collapsed building in Port-au-Prince, but a doctor treating her cautioned that she might not survive the ordeal.

Also Friday, an Israeli search team pulled a 22-year-man from the rubble a staggering 10 days after the earthquake.

Video of the rescue obtained by The Associated Press shows rescue workers pulling the man from a crevasse in the wreckage of what had been a three-storey home.

Shirtless, the man appears either unconscious or barely conscious and covered in dust as he is hoisted onto a stretcher.

A statement from the Israeli Defence Force said local residents led the team to the site, adding that the man was in stable condition at an Israeli field hospital in Port-au-Prince.

At least 124 people have been saved by search-and-rescue teams since the 7.0-magnitude quake hit Jan. 12, the European Commission reported. But some of the 1,700 specialists, working in four dozen teams with 160 dogs, are demobilizing.

Although there have been incidents of people being found alive, resources will now be more focused on attending to the survivors and keeping them alive.

Experts had said that without water, buried victims were unlikely to survive beyond three days.


International rescue workers have been criticized for their search efforts at a hotel in the hills of Port-au-Prince, where several Canadians were last seen.

The Hotel Montana was a favoured spot for Canadians with ties to the embassy. Former Liberal MP Serge Marcil is among the Canadians believed to be trapped somewhere beneath the rubble.

A group of rescue workers on the scene has expressed concern about the search and how it's being carried out. They have suggested the crews conducting the search aren't looking in areas where Canadians may be found.

Meanwhile, around 400,000 homeless Haitians will be moved to resettlement areas outside the capital to stave off the spread of disease at thousands of makeshift camps, officials say.

"They are going to be going to places where they will have at least some adequate facilities," Fritz Longchamp, chief of staff to President René Préval, told The Associated Press on Thursday. He said the mass relocations could start by the end of the month.

Dr. Jon Angrus, the deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization, said that roughly one million people are now living in about 600 makeshift settlements around the country.

About two million Haitians were left homeless by the quake, officials estimate. It is also believed that 250,000 are in need of urgent aid. While the death toll is estimated at 200,000, some say an exact tally will never be known.

The number of confirmed Canadian deaths has risen to 17, with 283 Canadians still missing, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

While supplies are getting out to some people, hundreds of thousands of people remain desperate.

Across Port-au-Prince, food is reaching tens of thousands, but the need is much greater. At the airport, the U.S. military is reporting a waiting list of 1,400 international relief flights seeking to land on Port-au-Prince's single runway, where 120 to 140 flights are arriving daily.

Only four ships have been able to dock at Haiti’s only functional industrial pier. The damage is so extensive that the military has no way of telling how long it will take before ships can dock and unload in large quantities.

Emergency medical centres also say they need more surgeons, nurses and supplies.

With files from The Associated Press