Desperation as bureaucracy slows aid effort in Haiti

Anger and desperation was mounting today as unused aid stacked up inside quake-shattered Haiti.

The world has flooded Haiti with donations after the January 12 earthquake, but bottlenecks at key transport points and scattered violence, including an armed group's attack on a food convoy, have slowed the distribution of food and medicine from the port, airport and a warehouse in Port-au-Prince's Cite-Soleil slum.

US air traffic controllers have lined up 2,550 incoming flights until March 1, but around 25 flights a day are not taking their slots. Communication breakdowns between Haitians and their foreign counterparts are also endemic.

"Aid is bottlenecking at the Port-au-Prince airport. It's not getting into the field," said Mike O'Keefe, who runs Banyan Air Service in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Foreign aid workers and Haitians are fed up - one Haitian father paid a group of men to retrieve his daughter's body from his collapsed house yesterday rather than wait for demolition crews.

"No-one is in charge," said Dr Rob Maddox of Start, Louisiana, tending to dozens of patients in the capital's sprawling general hospital.

"There's no topdown leadership. ... And since the Haitian government took control of our supplies, we have to wait for things even though they're stacked up in the warehouse. The situation is just madness."

Boxes of supplies were stacked to the ceiling in the hospital's dimly lit warehouse. In another storage area, medicine, bandages and other key supplies piled up on tables - watched over by a Haitian health worker who scrawled in a notebook, ticking off everything that comes in and out.

Doctors say since locals took over the supply room, crucial time to save lives has been lost by filling out unnecessary forms.

More on this topic

Haiti quake remembered, two years onHaiti quake remembered, two years on

Memorial services held on anniversary of Haitian earthquakeMemorial services held on anniversary of Haitian earthquake

Cholera reaches Haiti's packed capitalCholera reaches Haiti's packed capital

Haiti: Quake-ravaged capital threatened by cholera outbreakHaiti: Quake-ravaged capital threatened by cholera outbreak


More in this Section

Collapsing tree narrowly misses pedestrians at London crossroadsCollapsing tree narrowly misses pedestrians at London crossroads

Hot dog champions set world records at famous food festHot dog champions set world records at famous food fest

Boris Johnson leads UK-wide applause for NHS to mark 72nd anniversaryBoris Johnson leads UK-wide applause for NHS to mark 72nd anniversary

Scottish independence support ahead in polls for ‘sustained period,’ expert saysScottish independence support ahead in polls for ‘sustained period,’ expert says


Lifestyle

The chef and cookery author breaks down his culinary habits for Ella Walker.2 minutes with Irish chef JP McMahon – who loves a spag bol and has never cooked seal

Arts Editor Des O'Driscoll provides today's top telly tips.Monday's TV highlights: Spurs vs. Everton, and drama from 'Love/Hate' and 'I May Destroy You'

Barbara BurkeOccupation: Owner of BBpapercutsMeet the artist who's putting papercutting on the map

More From The Irish Examiner