Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

Struggle to survive in Haiti camps

A family takes shelter in a makeshift tent in Port-au-Prince, 16 January
Quake survivors have little more than blankets and pillows

By Matthew Price
BBC News, Haiti

There is a sign hanging over the road with a blue arrow pointing to the left of it. "Help needed," it says.

Further along, a group of men are hanging a fresh white banner between two telegraph poles - "St Patrick's Refugee Camp".

Nearby, and through the wire fence, there's a partially-destroyed school.

You see the displaced and dispossessed, row upon row of them with plots neatly divided by lines of string tied to trees.

Most have some blankets, some a few pillows. Here and there, the odd chair. But all have little, or worse - some say - nothing.

Tens of thousands are crammed into the makeshift camps.

Along dusty streets, you see them queuing for water.

Fresh water is in short supply.

People reach for water in Port-au-Prince, 16 January
People are still struggling to get the food and water

The number of dead that remain under the rubble is also a worry.

Disease could begin to spread.

Prices are rising in Port-au-Prince for food and fuel.

Some fear the desperation could provoke violence.

Haiti's humanitarian crisis is growing.

People here are making the best of the harsh conditions. They are hugely resourceful.

A main concern, however, is that without enough food aid and water, malnutrition will make them more susceptible to disease.

If the weather changes and it starts to rain, that will also make things far worse than they are even now.

And in the long term - they say here - that without a government and without jobs, they can never rebuild.

It will take more than a few weeks of fund-raising to bring Haiti back from the dead.

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