Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Water, food, medicine most pressing needs

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LIFE'S basic needs have to be supplied quickly when natural disaster strikes a country like Haiti.But Paul Larson, head of the supply chain management department at the University of Manitoba's I.H. Asper School of Business, said there will be several hurdles getting what's needed to the people who need it.

"The difficulties will be moving the items there because the infrastructure has been compromised and the roadways are blocked," Larson said on Thursday.

Larson said the problems faced during other past natural disasters in countries around the world are exacerbated by the political situation in Haiti.

"Haiti was already almost teetering on the brink of a failed state when this happened -- the UN was already down there with peacekeepers," he said. "There will be a pressing security requirement to get aid there."

Larson said the first need that will have to be addressed is getting people clean drinking water.

"Thankfully, this is an area in the Caribbean and it is warm so there's not a pressing need for shelter -- water is the first priority. Then comes food and medical needs."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 15, 2010 A5

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