U.S. military says violence in Haiti not disrupting aid mission

The Miami HeraldJanuary 18, 2010 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — An ever-greater flow of food and other relief supplies arrived in Haiti's quake-ravaged capital Monday, though still-haphazard distribution meant that many survivors were left fighting for scarce resources while others complained they had yet to receive any aid a week after the earthquake.

A shocking new report brought the scale of the catastrophe into sharper focus.

Citing Haitian government figures, the European Commission doubled previous estimates of the dead to 200,000 and put the number of homeless at 1.5 million.

Amid the debris and the smoke of bodies being burned, hundreds of survivors boarded buses to leave the city while looting and violence flared again.

U.S. and Haitian government officials and relief managers defended the pace of aid distribution and search-and-rescue operations, noting the response is likely unprecedented in scope and is occurring in a place that was greatly disadvantaged even before the catastrophe hit.

Humanitarian aid will reach most victims soon, though the wait may seem excruciatingly long for those desperate for it, said David Eller, president of World Concern, a Christian humanitarian relief group out of Seattle, Wash., which had 112 field workers in Haiti when the quake struck.

"In a place like Haiti, you should be prepared for two weeks with enough food and water to get by until help arrives," Eller said. "But the poverty in Haiti does not allow that. People don't have the ability to stock more food and water. They live day to day."

Meanwhile, in a late development on Monday, the U.S. government announced it was granting humanitarian parole to hundreds of Haitian orphans who were waiting to be adopted by Americans before the earthquake.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano left the door open for other needy orphans to be considered for the humanitarian parole. The Catholic Church in Miami has announced plans to launch a second Operation Pedro Pan, this time to house in South Florida Haitian children at risk.

Food and fresh water did reach more Port-au-Prince residents on Monday, the United Nations said.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service