Delays in aid distribution following Haiti's devastating earthquake are understandable "because of the obvious destruction, because of the limitations of the airport, the fact that the port is not operational, the roads have been destroyed or impassable," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told ABC News.
Here is the text of her interview with ABC News:
Kate Snow: We've been out on the streets for four days. We've seen desperate people, people begging us for help, for food, for water, for medical aid. One man said to us, 'The U.S. doesn't care, they are not helping us.' What do you say?
Secretary Clinton: Well I am sorry you have encountered anyone who feels that, because, of course, we are here along with our U.N. international partners. This was a very difficult mission to stand up because of the obvious destruction, because of the limitations of the airport, the fact that the port is not operational, the roads have been destroyed or impassable. But every day that goes by we get more aid out there, we get more help out there.
Snow: Do you feel like it could have been done more quickly though?
Clinton: No. No, I think that the government was devastated, Kate. There was no central authority. Everybody coming in pretty much had to wing it. We're beginning to see some coordination being imposed on the situation.
Snow: We are also hearing frustration that Americans are rescued [first]. There's the impression...
Clinton: That is just so untrue. We have six search-and-rescue teams. They have rescued, by far, the majority of the people who are Haitians. Now there are nearly 30, I think 30 teams who are here internationally. They are all working as hard as they can. They go where they are told, where there are the maximum potential lives to be saved. And I think these men and women deserve our thanks, and the people they are saving are predominantly Haitians.
Snow: The Haitians are saying one million people are homeless. That's half the population of this city. How does this country ever come back from this?
Clinton: Well, there have been devastations elsewhere. I remember the tsunami in 2004 that just wiped out whole communities, and the international communites stayed with the job, and new roads were built, new housing was built. That's what's going to happen here in Haiti.