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Haiti earthquake: Is the US aid effort too slow?

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Jorge Silva / Reuters

(Read caption) A Haitian boy receives water from US forces at a food distribution point in Port-au-Prince Tuesday.

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Over the weekend, United Nation's secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake as "one of the most serious humanitarian crises in decades," and there's been an outpouring of international support in the face of that need.

The US has so far been in the lead.

On Tuesday, the US military airdropped 3,700 gallons of water and 14,000 pre-packaged meals into Port-au-Prince, in an area secured by US troops. Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division have been fanning out into the capital and environs, seeking to locate earthquake survivors, provide basic security, and beginning aid missions of their own. A 250-bed hospital ship is scheduled to arrive in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, US troops helicoptered in to the site of the Presidential Palace to set up a base for aid operations. The US Army said there are 2,000 troops on the ground so far and expects to have 10,000 more in the area in about a week, with half of the new troops dedicated to working on aid operations.

But there have been complaints from some quarters that the US response has been too slow.

Analysts following the aid mission -- which is shaping up to one of the largest in Western Hemisphere history -- have generally had positive reviews of the US build up. So have average Americans. A CBS poll released Monday found that 80 percent of Americans approve of President Obama's handling of relief for Haiti so far.


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