Riding Along on an Aid-Delivery Mission

Aftershocks and crowds make it difficult to get food and water to those in need.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 17, 2010— -- More than 250 tons of aid have been delivered to Haiti just in the last 24 hours. But getting those rations to the thousands of people living on the streets without access to food and water has been a challenge.

ABC News was able to ride along as aid workers from the World Food Programme hoped to deliver 40,000 rations to some of Port-au-Prince's hardest hit areas.

"The priority now is to distribute high-energy biscuits, water purification tablets, and we're bringing in ready-to-eat meals," said David Orr, public information officer for the World Food Programme, as boxes were loaded into the truck. The organization hopes to reach nearly 60,000 people today.

In the end, though aid got delivered, obstacles prevented the workers from even approaching their goal for the day.

For one thing, the scope of the disaster was so large that the aid group had to step up the delivery and include secretaries and other workers who did not normally load relief vehicles. Everyone from the office pitched in.

Soon, the strong aftershock caused volunteers to flee an already earthquake-damaged warehouse. Many refused to go back in for fear it would collapse.

Haitians Grateful for Earthquake Relief Aid

After several hours, the truck was loaded and finally on the way. A convoy was formed. U.N. security forces, including armored personnel carriers, accompanied the convoy through the streets to stave off the possibility of violence or a rush on the supplies.

"We don't want people to get hurt. Troops aren't there to protect the food, they are there to protect the people," explained Alejandro Lopez-Chicheri, a senior spokesman for WFP.

The trucks rattled through Port-au-Prince, passing masses of people without shelter and food.

Four hours into the mission, they hit a roadblock of bodies. People began massing around the vehicles, desperate for supplies, saying, "We are hungry, we have nothing."

The truck found another way and at last, five and half hours after the trip began, the food was finally delivered at a local church, where mothers and children had been waiting all day, streaming in from a massive tent city nearby.

When the boxes were finally handed out, there seemed to be nothing but gratitude.