Security Fears Prompt Some to Flee Haitian Capital
The flow of aid workers, troops and medical personnel into Haiti increased Monday, as thousands of quake victims continue to clamor for relief amid the devastation of last week’s temblor.
Just as extra relief was arriving in Haiti, some refugees sought to flee the desperate scene in the capital of Port-au-Prince on Monday in search of more stability in the countryside.
Some Haitians boarded buses lugging overstuffed suitcases, according to a report in the New York Times, while “others carried little more than the clothes they were wearing.”
Prices for bus tickets have doubled, reports the Washington Post, but even those who can afford to pay are struggling to get out of town due to a fuel shortage. Gas stations have fuel, but owners refuse to open out of security fears, according to the Post.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon asked the Security Council on Monday to approve sending an additional 1,500 police officers and 2,000 peacekeepers to join the 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers already in Haiti. The 15-member Security Council is expected to approve the request Tuesday.
However, as the Wall Street Journal points out, even as Ban calls for additional security forces, tensions have heightened “over who is coordinating the relief effort, and over how the U.S. is managing Port-au-Prince’s small, overwhelmed airport.” The governments of France, Italy, and Brazil have reportedly complained that the U.S. military is giving priority to security over aid at the Port-au-Prince airport, according to the WSJ.
Six days after the quake, rescue crews were still working to rescue victims trapped in the debris.
“There are still people living” in collapsed buildings, U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told The Associated Press. “Hope continues.”
We’ll have more on the situation in Haiti on Monday’s broadcast of the PBS NewsHour, including an interview with Kenneth Merten, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti. Stay tuned.