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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

Peru's PM, Government to Resign After Censure Vote

Move delivers a blow to President Ollanta Humala, who will now have to form another new government
More

Argentine Workers Strike Over Income Tax Rate

With economy already weak, public transport stops, many businesses close and garbage piles up on one-day walkout
More

Tickets Go on Sale for 2016 Rio Olympics

More than half of the 7.5 million tickets will cost 70 Brazilian reais ($22) or less
More

US, Cuba Hold First Formal Talks on Human Rights

Issue contentious for conservative Republicans as President Barack Obama seeks to restore diplomatic ties
More

US State Dept Official: Cuba Aims to Ramp Up Internet Access

Cuba, a few decades late to the Internet era, is committed to getting the web into 50 percent of its households by 2020, a senior official said on Monday
More

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

World's largest gamma ray observatory will be situated high in Sierra Negra Mountain to discover secrets about black holes and supernovas
More