US Troops Man Airport, Rescuers Race Clock
Time running out as workers battle chaos
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jan 15, 2010 5:10 AM CST
Updated Jan 15, 2010 7:00 AM CST
A body is seen among some of the tens of thousands of people killed by Haiti's massive earthquake.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – US troops have taken over security and cargo operations at Haiti's main airport as rescuers struggle mightily against deadlines for saving lives, amid chaos and near-total destruction. The chances of saving victims declines steeply after the first 48 hours following an earthquake. Efforts have been stymied by a poor medical system and a mangled transportation infrastructure, reports the Washington Post. "You can't go into Haiti and expect to get a little bit of help on the ground," said a member of a Haiti health organization. "There is no infrastructure to help."

Yet some aid and workers are getting through. A US Air Force disaster team began to boost flights at the Port au Prince airport after "24 hours of uncontrolled activity" that stranded some 44 planes, a spokesman told CNN. The US also reached an agreement with Cuba to allow planes to cut through restricted Cuban airspace to slash travel time, the New York Times reports.