UN approves more troops, police for Haiti

The UN Security Council will send an additional 3,500 troops and police to Haiti to boost security and help distribute food and water to earthquake victims.

'We are stretched,' peacekeeping chief says

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved 3,500 extra troops and police officers to beef up security in Haiti and ensure that desperately needed aid gets to earthquake victims.

The additional security comes as the latest estimates from the European Commission, citing Haitian government figures, put the death toll at more than 200,000, with about 70,000 bodies recovered and trucked off to mass graves.

Earthquake survivors yell toward a Peruvian UN peacekeeper as one waves a Haitian flag at a food distribution point in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday. ((Marco Dormino/MINUSTAH/Associated Press))

About 250,000 people were injured and 1.5 million were left homeless, EU officials said.

The UN resolution, adopted Tuesday, will add 2,000 troops to the 7,000 military peacekeepers already in the country and 1,500 police to the 2,100-strong international police force.

UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said the extra soldiers are essential because of the "tremendous" number of requests to escort humanitarian convoys. He said the UN also needs extra troops to secure the routes and for "a reserve force" in case security deteriorates further.

Additional international police are needed at every point where food and water are being distributed, Le Roy said.

Aid delivery still slow

Relief workers say violence is hampering the already slow delivery of aid. Some locals have begun forming night brigades and machete-armed mobs to fight bandits across Port-au-Prince, the capital.

How to help

To help those affected by the earthquake, here is a list of organizations  accepting donations.

About 2,000 U.S. Marines who arrived in the region a day earlier were parked offshore on ships and  an additional 1,000 Canadian Forces personnel are being sent to Haiti.

Lt.-Col. Chris LeMay said some of those Canadian soldiers will be on the ground in Haiti this week, but it could take 15 days to get all the personnel to the island due to problems with moving about 60 vehicles ashore.

Bottlenecks at the capital's airport and the damaged harbour continue to make it logistically difficult to distribute supplies.

On Tuesday, sailors from HMCS Athabaskan arrived in Léogâne, a town west of Port-au-Prince that had about 90 per cent of its buildings demolished by the quake.

Canadian military medical personnel are treating victims at a clinic set up by a group from Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, other sailors scouted the area in advance of the possible arrival of members of the Royal 22nd Regiment and its equipment.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Department said Tuesday that the Canadian death toll has risen to 13, an increase of one from Monday, with 665 people still missing.

On Monday, the U.S. military dropped supplies from C-17 transport planes to a secured area outside the city, rather than landing and unloading at the airport.

Survivors continue to be found

Rescuers continue finding survivors. International rescue teams pulled two Haitian women from a collapsed university building, using machinery known as the Jaws of Life to cut away debris and allow rescuers to pull them out on stretchers.   

In the city's Bourdon area, a large team of French, Dominican and Panamanian rescuers using high-tech detection equipment said they heard heartbeats underneath the rubble of a bank building and worked into the night to try to rescue a survivor. 

In hospitals, medical personnel struggle to deal with growing crowds of injured and sick. Dr. Robert Fuller with the International Medical Corps said from a hospital in Port-au-Prince that patients are flowing in faster than they can be treated.

"It seems to me word has gotten out in the community that our hospital has some capacity with some doctors and some medication, so people are starting to flow in kind of quickly," said Fuller.

Gangrene problem for untreated injuries

"Before that happened, we were already well beyond our capability of taking care of the patients that are here."

Fuller said most people are seeking aid for injuries suffered during the quake itself, injuries that are becoming gangrenous because of a lack of treatment. Gangrene occurs when bacteria infects dead or dying tissue and poses a serious threat if it spreads to living tissue.

He said his hospital has about 200 patients with gangrenous limbs that need to be amputated at the operating rooms in the hospital.

He said the hospital still has anesthetics but they are running low.

"We have had to do no live operations, thank God," he said.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press