Authorities in Haiti say as many as 200,000 have died in last week’s devastating earthquake. Another 1.5 million people have been left homeless. The death toll continues to rise as relief agencies struggle to distribute food and water to those in need. The World Food Programme said it fed about 100,000 people in Port-au-Prince on Monday, just a fraction of the three million people in need of assistance. So far nearly all of the relief efforts have focused on the capital city of Port-au-Prince, while residents of outlying areas like Carrefour and Léogâne have been left on their own. A major fuel shortage is also hampering relief efforts. While many Haitians are fleeing to the countryside, hundreds of homeless families have set up a makeshift camp in Saint Pierre square in the Pétionville district of Port-au-Prince.
US Military Diverts Aid Planes from Haitian Airport
The US military has taken control of the only airport in Port-au-Prince and is facing criticism for diverting some aid planes. Doctors Without Borders says five of its planes carrying surgical teams and equipment weren’t allowed to land and were diverted to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. US forces also turned back a French aid plane carrying a field hospital. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused President Obama of militarizing the aid effort in Haiti.
President Hugo Chavez: “Mr. Obama, send field hospitals instead of so many soldiers, so that there are fewer soldiers with machine guns and rifles, and a generous amount of doctors and nurses and medical equipment.”
Democracy Now! Tuesday, January 19, 2010
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