News / Americas

Aid Flow to Haitians Improving

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

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

As Fires Die Down, Chileans Return to Ravaged Valparaiso

Many of victims in the city, part gritty port and part colorful retreat, were poor people in houses perched high on the city's remote hills
More

Kidnapped Venezuelan Journalist Freed

Globovision television journalist Nairobi Pinto was freed in city of Cua, 8 days after being kidnapped near her home in Caracas
More

Canada Taxpayer Data Stolen in Heartbleed Breach

Private information of about 900 people stolen from nation's computer systems as result of vulnerabilities
More

Photogallery At Least 12 Killed in Chile Fire

President declares state of emergency as firefighters battle blaze in port city of Valparaiso
More

36 Killed in Fiery Mexico Bus Crash

Four people reportedly injured in fire which erupted after the vehicle crashed into a broken down truck
More

Huge Fire Burns in Chile's Historic Port City

Firefighters struggle to contain blaze in Valparaiso, which so far has killed 16 people and destroyed 500 homes
More