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In Haiti, aid is finally getting to the people

Slowed by logistics at the airport and a weak infrastructure that makes transportation difficult, crucial food, water, and medical supplies are just now making it to many desperate Haitians.

Members of World Food Program distribute vitamin-enriched biscuits to Haitians while United Nations soldiers control the crowd in a tent city in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday. Five days after a 7.0 earthquake, relief agencies are trickling supplies into the city. Most people have yet to receive food rations.

Mary Knox Merrill / The Christian Science Monitor

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Relief aid, which has piled up at the airport in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, is finally making its way to communities that have not received any help since last Tuesday's magnitude-7.0 earthquake left hundreds of thousands of Haitians homeless and hungry.

The desperation, and mounting tension, is clear across the city.

At a makeshift settlement near the airport, groups of Haitians scrambled to get vitamin-enriched cookies from the World Food Program. Those outside clawed at the gate while United Nations peacekeepers guarded the area.
Slowed by logistics at the airport and a weak infrastructure that makes transportation difficult if not impossible, aid groups have complained about the slow trickle of medical and humanitarian aid that in too many cases is meaning the difference between life and death in the devastated capital.

“The logistics are a nightmare,” says Hossam Elsharkawi, who is coordinating a Red Cross team at the general hospital in Port-au-Prince. “There is no water or food that people need.”

Help is on the way


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