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Page last updated at 05:16 GMT, Saturday, 16 January 2010
UN chief urges Haiti aid patience



By Andy Gallacher
BBC News, Haiti

US soldiers load a helicopter with water at the international airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 15 January 2010
International aid is being channelled through Haiti's airport

The airport here in Haiti has now become the central hub for the huge aid operation that is now finally under way.

The Haitian government has handed over control of the entire facility to the American military, who are here in large numbers.

US soldiers have started the tricky operation of controlling the massive amount of air traffic that is now flooding in, and aid agencies from across the globe are arriving minute by minute.

It is though still incredibly disorganised.

"The situation is what it is," says Capt Justin Doyle, who is normally based in New Jersey.

"It's great to see so many organisations and countries coming together to deliver aid at this time.

"Obviously it's chaotic, but when people come together and they got a good purpose you can make some good things happen out of chaos, and I think that's what's happening right now."

But the fact remains that much of the aid - tents, blankets and medical supplies - is still sitting on the runway in Port-Au-Prince.

Bodies on bonfires

A short distance from the airport in one of the city's poor neighbourhoods the scenario is all too familiar.

An injured woman is helped in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 15 January 2010
There are few facilities to treat those injured in the earthquake

The people, hiding from the hot sun under makeshift shelters, can hear the planes coming in and they spend much of the day gathered around radio sets listening to the promises of aid from wealthy nations across the world.

"We need help, we have seen nothing so far, nobody comes," says a local resident who goes by the name of Herbie.

"We have a lot of death right here. We scared to stay inside the houses because we don't know when something's going to happen, where is the help?"

Despite concerns about security Haitians are showing incredible patience but it is now being severely tested as the hours pass.

Many of those who have received horrific injuries are being treated by their friends and family.

The equipment they have is rudimentary at best, and in many cases the treatment fails and yet more people die.

The stench of corpses across Port-Au-Prince is everywhere, in some places the bodies are being piled onto bonfires that emit an even more putrid odour.

Haitians are now leaving this devastated city by the thousand.

By car, moped and on foot they are getting out with no real destination, just away from what has become a mass grave.




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