Lack of Air and Sea Ports Hamper Immediate Aid Delivery to Haiti

21/01/2010 18:02
Immediate delivery of equipment, supplies and other relief goods to the earthquake-devastated Haiti is being hampered by lack of usable airports and seaports in the capital city of Port au Prince as planes loaded with relief goods could not land.
At least 1,400 planes filled with supplies and other forms of aid are waiting to be dispatched from various parts of the world but could not do so for lack of space in Haiti's only working airport in the capital city.
 
The airport which was heavily damaged by the earthquake could only accommodate less than 150 flight daily. Some flights are being diverted to neighboring Sto. Domingo, Dominican Republic. The capital city's seaport has been heavily damaged making it difficult to unload supplies from vessels carrying the much-needed aid.
 
With arrival of a Navy landing craft on Wednesday, officials expect Thursday to be able to start moving 150 shipping containers each day through the severely damaged port facility — and eventually accept 800 containers a day. Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of the US Southern Command said, he asked for the 2,000 extra Marines now on their way to Haiti because the military has been getting more requests for troops who can escort the humanitarian assistance to various areas.
 
Officials are still trying to determine exactly where the group from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit's USS Nassau will be used. Meanwhile a newly repaired pier south of the capital city is now serving the vessels coming in to unload relief equipment and supplies. The reopened pier is older and smaller than the north pier, which was rendered unusable by the January 12 earthquake.
 
The south pier was damaged, but Haiti port authorities and the U.S. military were able to put it back in adequate shape. Workers also repaired the road leading into the city and laid gravel on it. Unloading of aid, however, was a slow process.
 
The road allows only for one-way traffic, meaning a truck drives to the end of the pier, is loaded with supplies, and then drives out. Also, because of concerns about overloading the pier, only one truck is allowed on it at a time.
 
 
(original article appeared @ Digital Journal )

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