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Feuds Over Reaching Haitian Victims

From a conflicted Associated Press:

Haiti aid flow grows; feuds over reaching victims

By Alfred De Montesquiou And Mike Melia, Associated Press Writers

January 16, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Hungry, haggard survivors clamored for food and water Saturday as donors squabbled over how to get aid to Haiti and rescuers waged an increasingly improbable battle to free the dying before they become the dead.

Haiti’s government alone has already recovered 20,000 bodies — not counting those recovered by independent agencies or relatives themselves, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told The Associated Press. He said a final toll of 100,000 dead would "seem to be the minimum."

There were growing signs that foreign aid and rescue workers were getting to the people most in need — even those buried deep beneath collapsed buildings — while others struggled to cope with the countless bodies still left on the streets.

Crowds of Haitians thronged around foreign workers shoveling through piles of wreckage at shattered buildings throughout the city, using sniffer dogs, shovels and in some cases heavy earth-moving equipment.

Bellerive said an estimated 300,000 people are living on the streets in port-au-Prince and "Getting them water, and food, and a shelter is our top priority."

The U.S. military operating Haiti’s damaged main airport said it can now handle 90 flights a day, but that wasn’t enough to cope with all the planes sent by foreign donors and governments circling overhead in hopes of winning one of the few spots available on the tarmac.

France’s Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet told The Associated Press that he had filed an official complaint to the U.S. government after two French planes, one carrying a field hospital, were denied permission to land.

The French are complaining?

Now that is news.

A plane carrying the prime ministers of two Caribbean nations also was forced to turn back late Friday due to a lack of space at the airport, the Caricom trade bloc announced.

Haitian President Rene Preval urged donors to avoid arguments.

"This is an extremely difficult situation. We must keep our cool to do coordination and not to throw accusations at each other," Preval said after emerging from a meeting with donor groups and nations at a dilapidated police station that serves as his temporary headquarters.

Where was Mr. Preval during Hurrican Katrina?

With the National Palace and many ministries destroyed, Preval meets with ministers in the open air in a circle of plastic chairs.

On a street in the heavily damaged downtown area, the spade of a massive bulldozer quickly filled up with dead bodies headed for a morgue and immediate burial. Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told AP that disposing of bodies had become crucial.

"Sadly, we have to bring everybody to mass graves because we are racing against a possible epidemic," told AP. Haitians already have been piling bodies and burning them.

Many in the city have painted toothpaste around their nostrils and beg passers-by for surgical masks to cut the smell.

The U.S. Southern Command said it now has 24 helicopters flying relief missions — many from warships off the coast — with 4,200 military personnel involved and 6,300 more due by Monday.

But with aid still scarce in many areas, there were scattered signs that the desperate — or the criminal — were taking things into their own hands.

A water delivery truck driver said he was attacked in one of the city’s slums. There were reports of isolated looting as young men walked through downtown with machetes, and robbers reportedly shot one man whose body was left on the street.

An AP photographer saw one looter haul a corpse from a coffin at a city cemetery and then drive away with the box.

"I don’t know how much longer we can hold out," said Dee Leahy, a lay missionary from St. Louis, Missouri, who was working with nuns handing out provisions from their small stockpile. "We need food, we need medical supplies, we need medicine, we need vitamins and we need painkillers. And we need it urgently." …

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the World Food Program was providing high-energy biscuits and ready-to-eat meals to around 8,000 people "several times a day."

"Obviously, that is only a drop in the bucket in the face of the massive need, but the agency will be scaling up to feed approximately 1 million people within 15 days and 2 million people within a month," he said.

A “month”?

That’s the UN for you.

The effort to get aid to the victims has been slowed by blocked roads, congestion at the airport, limited equipment and other obstacles. U.N. peacekeepers patrolling the capital said public anger was rising and warned aid convoys to add security to guard against looting

The World Health Organization has said eight hospitals in Port-au-Prince were destroyed or damaged, severely curtailing treatment available for the injured.

So the World Health Organization builds hospitals that will not stand up to moderate earthquakes?

(And we have already seen the quality of the construction of the UN building there.)

Officials said damage to the seaport also is a problem for bringing in aid. The arrival Friday of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson helped immediately by taking pressure off the airport. Within hours, an 82nd Airborne Division rapid response unit was handing out food, water and medical supplies from two cargo pallets outside the airport

All in all, this must be quite problematic for our media masters.

Of course they want to make Mr. Obama look good. But their training and every instinct is still to make the US look bad, especially its military.

It’s got to be quite tricky for them.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, January 16th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Feuds Over Reaching Haitian Victims”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    The arrival Friday of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson helped immediately by taking pressure off the airport. Within hours, an 82nd Airborne Division rapid response unit was handing out food, water and medical supplies from two cargo pallets outside the airport…

    Yes, yes…..everyone knows that a carrier is a portable “airport” that can handle air traffic overflow. (not)

    My god. Such idiocy…such amazing, remarkable, resplendent idiocy.

    For those who don’t know, the 82nd Airborne would set up a zone independent of the airport, which is what I gleen from this absurd statement that implies that 1) the carrier can handle “day-to-day” regular air traffic, just like a real airport and that 2) the Airborne outfit would’ve been unable to function without the carrier there, thus having to use the Haitian airport.

    However, not explained is the possibility that helos are operating from the USS Carl Vinson and shuttling supplies as well as serving as a base for helo flight ops in concert with the 82nd Airborne. That certainly is possible. But the implication the writer makes is that civilian aircraft will be able to land on the Carl Vinson in order to “take up the slack” from the overcrowded airport.

    It’s clear that nowadays, AP writers have not only no knowledge of military ops but no technical ability whatsoever, other than which is the best keyboard or which camera takes the best shots.

    • proreason says:

      I’m looking forward to Air Force One landing on the USS Carl Vinson

    • tranquil.night says:

      Mission Accomplished?

    • Right of the People says:

      If it wasn’t for the brave men and women who staff Air Force One, I’d love to see Barry try. At least they could recover the black box to tell us what happened.

      The lame stream media is beyond belief.

  2. Confucius says:

    Sounds like a reality TV show: “Provider–I Care More Than You, Damn It.”

  3. Chuckk says:

    Sounds like New Orleans.

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