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On the Scene: VOA's Brian Wagner Describes Haiti Relief Efforts


Distribution of food and relief supplies to the victims of Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti has run into trouble by blocked roads and limited resources. The best way to reach people in and out of Port-au-Prince is by helicopter. VOA Correspondent Brian Wagner was on board one of these helicopters and sent this report.

WAGNER: "I just stepped off a helicopter from the USS Vinson, an aircraft carrier that has been deployed to the region. Larger helicopters from the ship are bringing food and water supplies on to land where smaller helicopters are distributing throughout the city.

Our trip took us along the port, and out over the water where we circled back and dropped supplies in a field right in front of one neighborhood. As soon as the helicopter approached, young men ran towards us in the hopes of getting something for themselves.

The helicopter hovered several meters in the air and the crewmen dropped the supplies on to the ground. In spite of the intense wind from the helicopter's rotors a group of young men ran under the helicopter and gathered the supplies. The crewmen on the helicopter tell me that they cannot land in situations like this because they run the risk of having someone run towards the helicopter right into the helicopter's rotors.

Today there seems to be a definitive shift in the international aid effort here at the airport. We've seen fewer aircraft arriving, and fewer rescue and emergency teams here at the airport. That means many of the supplies and the emergency personnel are out in the field. One of the military guards here at the airport overnight told us that there was some tension with a crowd of young men who had gathered at the airport gates. The hope is that as aid gets out into the city into people's hands there will be less fear of confrontation."

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