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

Tensions mount as rescue workers race to beat the clock on finding survivors.

ByABC News
January 15, 2010, 2:28 PM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 15, 2010— -- Tensions are becoming dangerously high on the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as increasingly desperate Haitians search for food and water while tons of supplies remain stuck at the country's airport.

"What's going on? We can't even breathe! Who is helping us?" a man cried out today to an ABC News camera crew. Wearing a yellow bandana over his face and surrounded by other young and angry men, he said, "It takes one night to get the U.S. troops here, you know. It takes just a second for the military to get here."

"We're waiting, we're waiting for three or four days. Just cannot do nothing," another Haitian man said. "The president is staying at the airport while he does nothing for us."

"People have been almost fighting for water," aid worker Fevil Dubien said as he distributed water from a truck in a northern Port-au-Prince neighborhood.

ABC News has witnessed looting of damaged buildings in the capital with people walking off with boxes of T-shirts, a cabinet and kitchen appliance along with food and water.

Gerard Magliore, whose 22-year-old daughter was found dead in the rubble, spoke to reporters as he took a ring off his dead daughter's finger.

"We haven't seen any government help here, nobody from the U.N., nobody," he said. "There were 24 bodies here last night. We buried them ourselves. This is my daughter. She's 22. We've just recovered her body from under the rubble. Tell people what is happening here in Haiti."

Former President Bill Clinton, now the United Nations' special envoy to Haiti, suggested he understood why people might be angry.

"I think it's understandable when human beings are as distressed and stressed as the Haitians are when they've suffered such grievous losses and they're still experiencing aftershocks -- there were more today -- that it is an extremely anxious environment," he said. "And add to that the difficulty of loved ones still trapped in rubble, inadequate food, water, medical supplies, you can certainly relate to the challenges that the people of Haiti face.

"I think that everyone agrees that up until this point the matters have been well in hand," he added. "But there is a process of grieving which includes anger. If you look at stages of grief, that is a stage that is just part of the human DNA."

Clinton defended at least one aspect of the U.N. response.

"We think that the U.N. peacekeepers are doing an excellent job," he said. "They have about 7,000 peacekeepers. They're on the streets. They're patrolling. They are primarily responsible for law and order. But they need help. The Haitian police force has been severely impacted. We get varying estimates of how many are actually left and able to be on the streets themselves."