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Fuel shortages, poor communications and a logjam at the Port au Prince airport on Sunday continued to hinder a massive international aid effort to Haiti five days after a devastating earthquake in which more than 100,000 are now feared to have died.
The United Nations humanitarian agency, Ocha, warned at the weekend that humanitarian operations might be forced to shut down in the next few days if fuel supplies were not replenished.
Six days after the Port-au-Prince earthquake large areas of the city remain untouched by the global aid effort as bottlenecks continue to clog the airport and looting threatens to descend into wholesale violence.
You would think that if the port was destroyed and the airport tied up, that dropping in food would be the best thing to do.
The U.S. has completely taken over Port-au-Prince airspace and incoming flights have to register with Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, said Chief Master Sgt. Ty Foster, Air Force spokesman here.
Doctors Without Borders spokesman Jason Cone said the U.S. military needed "to be clear on its prioritization of medical supplies and equipment."
My concern is if the US military is taking a military stance rather than one of humanitarian/relief? I am getting that impression from this article and others. I know that some sort of law and control needs to be established, but I don't see that happening either. Why take control of the airport and then prevent/hinder the incoming aid?
The international effort to deliver humanitarian aid to the victims of last week's Port-au-Prince earthquake was hit by bickering today as a French government minister accused the Americans of trying to occupy Haiti instead of helping it. Thousands of American soldiers have poured in to Port-au-Prince airport since President Obama announced that he was ordering a "swift and aggressive" campaign to help millions of Haitians left homeless by last week's 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Six days after the quake, however, precious little aid is getting beyond the airport perimeters - largely because of security concerns - and aid agencies with long experience of operating in disaster zones have complained that their flights in are being blocked unnecessarily.
Among the aircraft turned back by American air traffic controllers who have assumed control at Port-au-Prince airport was a French government Airbus carrying a field hospital
The plane was able to land the following day but the decision to turn it back prompted an official complaint from Alain Joyandet, the French Minister for Co-operation who is overseeing the French aid effort
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Haitian relief efforts were being hobbled by the U.S. military trying to land equipment while aid agencies wait with supplies, a United Nations official said.
The United States has taken a leading role in earthquake relief efforts and was managing air traffic control, with 200 flights per day, from the main airport at Port-au-Prince.
Most of the flights involved the U.S. military landing equipment and troops, said Jarry Emmanuel, the air logistics officer for the United Nations aid effort in Haiti.
The priorities of the U.S. military "are to secure the country. Ours are to feed. We have got to get those priorities in sync," Emmanuel told The New York Times Sunday.
U.S. officials said they were making significant progress and beginning to use a container port in Cap Haitian in northern Haiti to increase the flow of aid, CNN reported Sunday