Quake aid trickles through Haiti's cramped airport


Associated Press

Posted on January 15, 2010 at 6:33 AM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — U.S. military air traffic controllers are scrambling to keep earthquake aid flowing into Haiti's main entry point, its airport.

They're trying to do this without the use of an airport control tower or radar, and amid struggles over fuel, tarmac space and even staircases to access the planes.

The space crunch left some two dozen planes circling for more than two hours yesterday. Many of them had to be diverted to Santo Domingo or Florida.

Thursday's arrivals were dominated by rescue crews leading search dogs and military operations toting supplies and communications equipment.

Doctors Without Borders was able to bring in medical supplies and body bags, but other groups had no luck. The Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse had three charter planes turned back.

U.S. federal officials had halted nonmilitary flights for eight hours yesterday at the request of the Haitian government. That order has been lifted.

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<<APPHOTO BOB103 (01/15/10)>>

: Parcels of medicine boxes and humanitarian aid are seen inside a plane and on the tarmac of Merignac airport, near Bordeaux, southwestern France, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010. French NGO Doctors Without Borders chartered the plane to send aid to earthquake hit Haiti later Thursday.

<<APPHOTO WX105 (01/13/10)>>

: In this image provided by DigitalGlobe, a satellite image of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 13, 2010, the day after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the Caribbean nation. This particular image shows the airport, and a plane probably delivering aid.