Haiti 2010 Earthquake Response

As desperation grows, U.S. officials change strategy

Six days after the earthquake, UN officials say food and water aid has reached less than 75,000 of those left homeless by the earthquake.  (EU officials now estimate the number of homeless at 1.5 million, plus more that have homes but are afraid to live in them.) Many of those who were rescued from the rubble are now at death’s door due to infections and a severe shortage of antibiotics and surgical equipment. (The EU estimates 250,000 people were injured.)  Outside the capital, relief has been almost non-existent.

U.S. officials agreed today to give priority to humanitarian flights at Haiti’s airport where the U.S. has managed air traffic.  The New York Times reported yesterday that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had issued a notice over the weekend stating that priority would be given to search and rescue, military and humanitarian aircraft, in that order.

In Paris, French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet expressed concern about the major U.S. military role in the country, saying it should be clarified: “This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti,” said Joyandet, who last week complained about U.S. handling of the airport. (ABC News)

Also, Monday afternoon, the U.S. military began dropping supplies from the air, although Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had opposed the strategy on Friday.

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