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
Anger Erupts at US Takeover of Haiti Airport
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)

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." (Read more Haiti stories.)

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