Anger Erupts at US Takeover of Haiti Airport

France, Brazil, Red Cross furious at flight diversions

By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 18, 2010 6:49 AM CST

(Newser) – The global relief effort in Haiti has devolved into a nasty power struggle, with countries and aid agencies furious at the US takeover of emergency operations. France, Brazil, which runs the UN peacekeeping operation in Haiti, Doctors Without Borders, and the Red Cross all lodged complaints after their aid shipments were diverted to the neighboring Dominican Republic so that US military flights could land at Port-au-Prince's congested airport, where just one runway is operable.


"We are all going crazy," a Red Cross official told the Guardian, as a UN World Food Program officer complained in the New York Times that US military has muscled out other relief efforts. "Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed. We have got to get those priorities in sync." The Haitian president begged the squabbling powers to stay calm: "We must keep our cool to coordinate and not throw accusations at each other."

US soldiers load a military helicopter with water at the Toussaint L'ouverture international airport?in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
US soldiers load a military helicopter with water at the Toussaint L'ouverture international airport?in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
US military personnel unload humanitarian aid as a cargo airplane approaches the runway at the Toussant Louverture international airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
US military personnel unload humanitarian aid as a cargo airplane approaches the runway at the Toussant Louverture international airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
A U.S cargo airplane taxies on the tarmac after landing with humanitarian aid for at the Toussant Louverture airport ?in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
A U.S cargo airplane taxies on the tarmac after landing with humanitarian aid for at the Toussant Louverture airport ?in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
A U.S. Army soldier from the 173st company, 73rd cavalier division, stands in front of the Toussant Louverture airport?in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
A U.S. Army soldier from the 173st company, 73rd cavalier division, stands in front of the Toussant Louverture airport?in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
Argentinean UN peacekepers help load supplies onto trucks at the airport in Port-au- Prince, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. Relief groups and officials are focused on moving aid flowing into Haiti.
Argentinean UN peacekepers help load supplies onto trucks at the airport in Port-au- Prince, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. Relief groups and officials are focused on moving aid flowing into Haiti.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Almost 200 evacuees crowd into a C-17 Globemaster at the Port-Au-Prince airport on Sunday December 17, 2010. The evacuees were taken to Orlando, Florida.
Almost 200 evacuees crowd into a C-17 Globemaster at the Port-Au-Prince airport on Sunday December 17, 2010. The evacuees were taken to Orlando, Florida.   (AP Photo/Seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)
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