Six US Navy helicopters touched down on the grounds of Haiti's damaged presidential palace today, bringing some 100 reinforcements in the struggle to secure Port-au-Prince and provide food and water to survivors. Haitians jammed the fence of the palace grounds to gawk, some cheering as the soldiers emerged. "If they want, they can stay longer than in 1915," a hairdresser in the crowd told the AP, in a reference to the 19-year US military presence in Haiti—something US officials have repeatedly insisted they have no intention of repeating.
A week after the quake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people, some 2,000 US Marines are now parked offshore on ships. The port remains blocked. Distribution of food, water and supplies from the city's lone airport to the needy are increasing but still remain a work in progress. Just four blocks from US troop landing at the palace, hundreds of looters were rampaging through downtown.