Last week, Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter scale. The country was ill-prepared. Already, 200 thousand Haitians are believed dead, while one-third of the island's population of 9 million has been affected.
The disarray resulting from the earthquake has been massive. Looting, rioting and violence have broken out as food, medical and water supplies have been exhausted. This has led to a comprehensive multi-country effort in order to both keep the peace, but also to allocate and distribute vital supplies.
France has accused the U.S. of playing a heavy-handed role. So far, the U.S. has sent 10,000 troops and taken over air traffic control. As a result, planes carrying medical supplies have been allegedly and needlessly delayed.
This accusation by France appears to be as erroneous as their claim to the international intellectual property rights of "French Fries" and "French Toast". Not to mention, that by now they would have surrendered to someone!
Haiti has ONE landing strip in its capital: Port-Au-Prince. The airport, called the Touissant Louventure International Airport is hardly what it's name implies. It wasn't designed to handle the barrage of inward coming traffic and was not designed to handle the large jets used by Russia.
The United States has made modifications to the strip to permit the larger planes and taken heroic efforts to allow an unprecented amount of incoming traffic.
On Sunday night alone, 50 planes with supplies were able to land. By Monday morning that number had exceeded 800!
Every flight in is critical. Yet each inbound flight believes that their flight is THE most important. Thus, there is a need to prioritize given the very limited facilities that exist.
Fortunately, the European Union (EU) has distanced itself from France's accusations. In fact, the EU has expressed gratitude for the heroic efforts of the United States in not only modifying the sole landing strip, but in recognition of the skill required to accept the hundreds of planes attempting to take off and land.
As Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, headed for Haiti to see for himself the extent of the worst humanitarian disaster that the world body has had to cope with in decades, concern grew over delays in the airlift to the capital’s airport, which is under US control.
Alain Joyandet, French co-operation minister, told reporters at the airport he had protested to Washington. He complained to the US ambassador about the US military’s management of the airport where he said a French medical aid flight had been turned away.
Marko's Take? The U.S. deserves kudos. Marko's 2nd Take? Mr. Joyandet might wish to recall why his country continues to be known as "France" rather than referred to as "Germany".
Of course, if you disagree, you know what to do. TAKE ME ON!