UN promotes Haiti relief, United States sends troops

Residents pick their way through one of the heavily damaged areas of downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Friday, January 15, 2010. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

By Mary Whitfill

Staff Writer

Haiti was changed forever as a devastating earthquake hit Tuesday, killing tens of thousands of people with a death toll still climbing.  A team of Brazilian rescures have already discovered 50,000 bodies and Haitian Interior Minister predicts up to 200,000 could have been killed.

 While the death toll could be up to 200,000, the UN has estimated that 300,000 people lost their homes in the disaster. The United States has said that it will grant leave to thousands of illegal Haiti immigrants living there, allowing them to stay and work for 18 months.

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, says she plans to visit Haiti Jan. 16 to asses the damage and meet government officials.

The UN has launched an appeal for 562 million dollars (346 million pounds) to be sent to the victims, predicted to help three million people for six months.

Half of the appeal money is expected to be used for emergency food while up to 50 million would be used for health, water, sanitation, nutrition, emergency shelter, early recovery and agriculture.

A United States aircraft has already been sent to the capital of Haiti carrying a marine expeditionary unit and a hospital ship and additional helicopters will be sent in the coming days, capping off the number of U.S. troops at 10,000.

Plane-loads of rescuers and relief supplies are arriving from the UK, China, the EU, Canada, Russia and Latin American nations. Emergency aid groups are in a race against time to find trapped survivors