Haiti Relief: Anger Mounts Among Desperate Haitians Over Supplies Stuck at Airport

"I was talking to Gen. Keen and he told me, 'Today I am going to spend my day figuring out where the bottleneck is.' He said there is water sitting in a warehouse right over there and waiting for the U.N. and other aid organizations to distribute it."

The Associated Press reported gangs of men and young boys with machetes were looting, and relief officials have said the city's shops have been stripped of food and water.

President Obama held his third news conference in three days about Haiti today and urged people to be patient with the relief efforts. He called the scale of the devastation "extraordinary" and said it would take time for food and clean water to reach distribution points.

Clinton said officials were "making a lot of progress" toward improving the situation.

"It's just a race against time," he said. "It's a race against time in the search-and-rescue missions. It's a race against time to establish some means for clearing the roads so more supplies can get in. But, boy, everybody is pushing as hard as they can. So I think we're making a lot of progress. I just want to make sure we move as quickly and effectively as we can."

Obama will meet at the White House Saturday with former presidents Clinton and George W. Bush to discuss additional relief efforts. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she will tour Haiti on Saturday. The Obama administration also announced today that it is granting temporary protected status for the next 18 months to illegal Haitian immigrants who were in the U.S. as of Tuesday, when the quake struck.

Emilia Casella of the U.N. World Food Program said the next few days will be critical as Haitians become increasingly hungry and thirsty, and as the cries of those trapped become fainter and their families become frantic.

Nevertheless, it seems to be almost impossible to speed up relief.

"The physical destruction is so great that physically getting from point A to B with the supplies is not an easy task," Casella told a news conference

Stefan Zannini, the head of Haiti's Doctors Without Borders, said people are simply wandering the streets looking for their friends and family members.

"I can see thousands of them walking the streets, asking for help, asking for everything," Zannini said.

Zannini said his hospital has been deluged with patients and said in the early hours, many of them died. His facility has since received a shipment of antibiotics, blankets and other supplies and said his staff is even capable of doing surgeries now.

He said the most common injury among the more than 1,500 patients his doctors have seen is the "open fracture," a compound fracture when the bone breaks through the skin.

Haiti's Secretary of State for Public Safety Aramick Louis told Reuters that officials have begun clearing the streets of corpses and have buried 40,000 so far. He also estimated another 100,000 have died.

The stench of decomposing bodies is filling the streets and Joanna Smith, writing on Twitter from Haiti, said people are smearing toothpaste under their noses to mask the foul smell.

U.S. Helicopters Start Ferrying Relief to Haiti

The U.S. military relief team grew larger today with members of the 82nd Airborne division distributing relief supplies. And offshore, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson sent helicopters into the city with supplies.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...