17 Jan 2010

Quake aid bottleneck at Port-au-Prince

12:02 pm on 17 January 2010

The United States military is trying to find a solution to the congestion at Port-au-Prince airport in Haiti. Earthquake aid cannot get through a bottleneck there.

The ABC reports the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is about 15km off the coast and its aircraft have been dropping supplies, so many in fact they have run out.

But Rear Admiral Ted Branch says he is frustrated there are supplies sitting at Port-au-Prince airport brought in by other agencies, which they cannot get out.

He says he would like to use the navy's choppers, but the coordination on the ground is just not there.

Damage to the port, roads and other infrastructure has prevented distribution of food, water and medical supplies.

Plane-loads of rescuers and relief supplies have arrived or are due from Britain, China, the EU, Canada, Russia and Latin American nations.

The United States has now taken temporary control of the airport at Port-au-Prince.

The BBC reports the US military is now using a container port in Cap Haitian, in northern Haiti, which will greatly increase the volume of aid flowing into the country. Port-au-Prince's dock remains inoperable.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, was extensively damaged by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Tuesday.