US Hospital Ship Begins Haiti Relief
Navy's Comfort vessel began treating patients even before it pulled in
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 20, 2010 6:18 PM CST
This photo provided by the Navy Visual News Service shows the USNS Comfort anchored off the coast of Haiti Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Navy Visual News Service, Petty Officer 1st Class Troy D. Miller)
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(Newser) – A flotilla of rescue vessels led by the US hospital ship Comfort converged on Port-au-Prince today to help fill gaps in still-lagging relief efforts. The ships are bringing water, food, and medical help to hundreds of thousands of people surviving in makeshift tents or simply on blankets or plastic sheets under the tropical sun. Two young patients were airlifted onto the Comfort and its operating rooms even before the vessel reached port.

Elsewhere, concerns persisted that looting and violence that flared up in pockets in recent days could spread. A European Commission report described the security situation as "deteriorating." But US troops—some 11,500 soldiers, Marines, and sailors onshore and offshore as of today, and expected to total 16,000 by the weekend—could be seen slowly ratcheting up control over parts of the city. The UN was adding 2,000 peacekeepers to the 7,000 already in Haiti.