New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
U.S. airlifts aid to reach areas hardest hit by quake
U.S. military aircraft are now ferrying food, tarps and other material into southern Haiti amid a shift in the international relief effort to focus on helping people in the areas hardest hit by the recent earthquake to make it through the hurricane season.
Aircraft flying out of the capital, Port-auPrince, arrived throughout the day Saturday in the mostly rural, mountainous southern peninsula that was the epicenter of the Aug. 14 earthquake. In Jeremie, people waved and cheered as a Marine Corps unit from North Carolina descended in a tilt-rotor Osprey with pallets of rice, tarps and other supplies.
Most of the supplies, however, were not destined for Jeremie. They were for distribution to remote mountain communities where landslides destroyed homes and the small plots of the many subsistence farmers in the area, said Patrick Tin of Haiti Bible Mission, one of several groups coordinating the delivery of aid.
“They lost their gardens, they lost their animals,” Tin said as he took a break from helping unload boxes of rice. “The mountains slid down and they lost everything.”
At the request of the Haitian government, getting as much help to such people as fast as possible is now the focus of the $32 million U.S. relief effort, said Tim Callaghan, a disaster response team leader for the U.S. Agency for International Development.