News / Americas

Aid Flow to Haitians Improving

But looting, gang activity, scuffles continue to plague Port-au-Prince

Multimedia

U.S. and U.N. officials say the flow of aid to destitute Haitian earthquake survivors is improving, despite continued looting, gang activity, and scuffles on the streets of Port-au-Prince.

U.S. helicopters are at work in Haiti, ferrying food and water to distribution points in and around the devastated capital, where three million people struggle to survive.

General Ken Keen, who is commanding U.S. military relief operations in Haiti, says logistical obstacles to aid delivery are being overcome.

"Every day, we increase our capabilities to reach out [to Haitians in need]," he said.

That assessment is shared by the U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes.

"What we are seeing is that the aid effort is beginning to scale up.  We are all frustrated by the fact that there is not as much aid on the streets as anybody would like, but I think you will see that effort scaling up very rapidly," he said.

General Keen says U.S. troops are working to assume more responsibility for aid distribution, which will allow U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti to focus on security concerns.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the Security Council to boost the U.N. stabilization mission in Haiti by 3,500 troops and police officers, who would join 9,000 security personnel already there.

Port-au-Prince has seen looting, gang activity, street scuffles, and generalized chaos since last week's earthquake, which obliterated what little civilian authority Haitian officials exerted over the capital prior to the disaster.  Haitian police officers that remain on the streets have been overwhelmed by the lawlessness surrounding them, at times resorting to shooting in the air to try to restrain the populace.

Scuffles have also broken out around U.N. peacekeeping forces, which responded by rhythmically beating batons against their shields.

One bystander commented on the despair Haitians feel, and the actions it provokes.

"It is not their fault.  It is just that they are starving," said an unidentified Haitian man.  "People are hungry.  They do not have any place to stay.  They have nothing.  They are just hoping for something," he said.

Asked about the security situation in Port-au-Prince, U.S. General Ken Keen noted that gang activity and lawlessness existed in Haiti before the earthquake.  He said crime levels are actually lower than they were prior to the disaster.

Last week's earthquake damaged Port-au-Prince's airport and seaport.  The U.S. military has assumed control of air traffic control in and out of the capital, prompting complaints from some aid organizations and foreign officials.  

One French official [Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet] is quoted as saying international efforts are about "helping" Haiti, not "occupying" the country, inferring that the United States is assuming too much control over the operation.

Asked about the complaints, General Keen has this response:

"We [U.S. forces] are here at the request of the government of Haiti.  And we are working in partnership with the U.N. forces," he asserted.

Meanwhile, international aid pledges for Haiti continue to grow.  The European Union offered more than one-half-billion dollars in assistance and hundreds of millions more have been pledged by the United States and other nations.  Death toll estimates from the earthquake range from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Judge Criticizes Argentina for 'Half-truths' at Hearing

US District Judge Thomas Griesa orders nation to stop making misleading public statements, 'half truths' concerning status of their debts
More

US House Passes Border Security Bill

Measure passes 223 to 189, though the Senate is not expected to consider the bill
More

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

Program gives street kids not only food and safety, but a chance for a better life without crossing US border
More

US Senate Kills Immigration Bill, House to Vote Friday

Earlier Thursday, Republican-led chamber abandoned plans to vote on $659 million bill that addresses influx of more than 57,000 unaccompanied Central American children
More

Argentina Defaults Again on Debt

Negotiators failed late Wednesday to reach an agreement with New York investment companies to avert the default
More

Cameroon’s Coffee Farmers Blame Government for Production Drops

Cameroon's growers, dealers and experts mourn declines in a nation that once ranked 12th in the world.
More