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Haitian Homeless in Need of Toilets, Showers

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Organizers of a camp for the homeless watch frustrated as aid leaves the nearby airport while the camp's 15,000 residents are in dire need of toilets and showering facilities.

Corriolant Chenet, a member of a local citizens union that set up the camp in the centre of the Haitian capital the day after the quake, said their need was neglected by aid teams even though the site was only yards from the aid entry hub at Toussain L'Ouverture International Airport.

The 15,000 people all lived close to the airport before the devastating 7.3-magnitude quake on January 12, and many had to return to their precarious houses when they want to use the bathroom, he said.

Citizens wanted to start repairing their homes but were unwilling to do so until the government gave the all-clear, Chenet said.

The government has issued an official warning about the risks of returning to quake-damaged buildings.

Meanwhile, food is also in short supply at the camp. Chenet said, although food aid was coming from government civil protection bodies and religious groups, "we are getting food but not enough".

This week, a riot broke out at a food distributing station manned by Brazilian soldiers after food ran out. The soldiers resorted to pepper spray to control the situation.

The United Nations said such problems were caused because the scale of hunger was initially underestimated.

(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2010)

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