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Eye Witness: Singing in streets follows Haiti coup


Eye Witness: Singing in streets follows Haiti coup

Port au Prince -- World Vision staff report a dramatic change in mood in Haiti's capital Port au Prince overnight with singing and dancing in the streets today.

Crowds marched past World Vision's office towards the national palace shouting out that they were liberated and free.

World Vision communications manager Kate Scannell Michel said little by little things seemed to be returning to normal. Positive signs included the resumption of some public transport services on which many people rely.

"People are coming out on the streets and feeling ready to get on with life and get on with their business," she said.

Ms Scannell said pro-Aristide supporters were still active in the port and downtown areas of Port au Prince with corpses being discovered on the streets. However she said it appeared unlikely they could mount a serious counter-coup, especially with the arrival of US marines and French troops and gendarmes.

Ms Scannell said staff in the north and Central Plateau areas, which have been in rebel hands for more than a week, reported a similar calm atmosphere. All World Vision staff were safe and well.

World Vision hopes to resume normal aid operations within days should progress towards more stable operating conditions continue.

A priority is the distribution of emergency medical supplies currently warehoused in the neighbouring Dominican Republic. Movement of supplies was curtailed following the closure of the border and airports during recent violence.

World Vision New Zealand has committed NZ$50,000 from the upcoming 40 Hour Famine towards emergency medical and food aid for Haiti. 50 per cent of the population is estimated to be malnourished.

Individuals wishing to support relief operations in Haiti can also phone 0800 80 2000.


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