Q&A: How much aid has reached Haiti?
More than $1 billion in aid to Haiti has been pledged so far by governments from Guatemala to Greece. The UN and other groups are increasing food distribution by the day.
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Haiti's government has also coordinated with the US, especially the ministry of health. A joint US-Haiti press conference Monday assessing the public health priorities in the next phase of disaster response was pointedly held at a Haitian public health facility. Appearing at the conference, Haiti’s health minister, Alex Larsen, said his emphasis in the coming months would be on maintaining existing health programs despite the heavy new demands resulting from the quake.Skip to next paragraph
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“We have to take care of the wounded, the displaced, and those who lost everything,” he said. “But we can’t forget our existing public health programs” such as child vaccinations and tuberculosis prevention. “Those must continue and be strengthened.”
What are US troops doing?
The US government has faced international criticism that it is virtually occupying Haiti with its massive aid effort, including the deployment of thousands of military members. The US Air Force is in charge of airport flight operations, landing as many as 160 planes at one point, military officials say.
Last week, the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship with 12 operating rooms, arrived off the coast of Haiti, and there are some 20 other US Navy ships in or around Haiti now, including the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. The ships serve as launching pads for the military to conduct helicopter operations to deliver relief supplies or ferry the injured back and forth.
Ground forces began to arrive the weekend after the earthquake. Most elements of the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., have arrived to support relief operations or to provide security in those “pockets of instability,” according to one senior military official. The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Lejeune, N.C., also inserted at Jacmel and other areas outside the capital. On Wednesday, the Pentagon sent an additional Marine unit, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, on its way to deploy to South Asia and the Middle East, to Haiti. Although it is not clear what its mission would be, the additional Marine unit has heightened speculation that military officials were concerned about security in and around the capital.
The military has conducted two air drops of relief supplies despite fears that such an air drop could cause rioting. The first air drop included about 3,700 gallons of water and about 14,000 packaged meals. That was followed by a second on Wednesday. Military officials expected to conduct a third drop on Sunday.