Fifty-three orphans evacuated from earthquake-hit Haiti have arrived in the United States for medical care and adoption.

Volunteers carried many of the young children in their arms as they disembarked from a military plane Tuesday in Pittsburgh, in the northeastern state of Pennsylvania.

The children, ranging in age from infants to pre-teens, were taken immediately to a hospital for medical care.

Many of the orphans were already in the process of being adopted by American families.

The process usually takes months, but was expedited under an emergency humanitarian program announced by U.S. immigration officials Monday.

The program is being applied on a case-by-case basis to children the Haitian government has confirmed are legally eligible for inter-country adoption.

The earthquake that devastated Haiti's capital last week killed tens of thousands of people, adding to the number of Haitian orphans already in need of homes.

The United Nations is establishing procedures to try to protect the children from trafficking, kidnapping and abuse.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP.