Aid To Haiti Moves Though Dominican Border Town

Some of the aid to Haiti is moving over land from the neighboring Dominican Republic. At the main border crossing, there is a staging and planning area. Supplies are stacked up and ready to be transported to Haiti. However, a bottleneck is blocking supplies from getting to the earthquake victims.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Some of the aid to Haiti is moving overland from the neighboring Dominican Republic. NPR's Russell Lewis is on the main border crossing between the two countries, and he's on the line. Russell, what do you see?

RUSSELL LEWIS: Well, I'm at a military compound here, set up by the Dominican military. They are aid groups here from the United States and elsewhere, and it's a big staging area. People are getting ready to go across the border, and there are a lot of people, a lot of supplies and people just ready to go - as they prepare to go each morning.

INSKEEP: How easy is this trip from the Dominican Republic down across the border and over to Port-au-Prince - or whichever city they may be heading for?

LEWIS: It seems to change day by day, although the reports that we're hearing are - is that it's still fairly easy. But this is being done, though, because there's a United Nations convoy that leaves each and every morning, first thing in the morning, but it is the one and only convoy. So if you miss the U.N. convoy in the morning, then you're sort of on your own, to sort of make your way from this part of the border into Port-au-Prince.

INSKEEP: What are aid workers saying to you?

LEWIS: There seems to be a level of frustration. They feel that there is a bottleneck here at the border. They feel as though the government here, as well as the Haitian government, on some levels are making it more difficult for them to get their supplies.

INSKEEP: And Russell, I want to ask about people coming the other way, going from Haiti into the Dominican Republic, where things might be a little more stable. What have you seen when you've gone, say, to nearby hospitals in the Dominican Republic?

LEWIS: There's a public hospital here in Jimani and last night, there were about three dozen people from Haiti that were there getting treatment. It was in sort of a makeshift waiting room. They were laying on the ground, laying on stretchers, even some laying on plywood. And the doctors and the nurses were sort of running from patient to patient, trying to treat them as best as they can. You know, it was difficult for them to get the treatment they were getting, but they were happy to be getting some treatment at all, it appeared.

INSKEEP: And are people from that public hospital also able to ship supplies and people forward to Haiti?

LEWIS: That is true. But a lot of what we're seeing here are people leaving Haiti, coming here, at least, to get some medical assistance, because they were saying that - they were feeling as though that they weren't getting the medical assistance they needed in Haiti.

INSKEEP: NPR's Russell Lewis is in the town of Jimani in the Dominican Republic. That's the main border crossing into Haiti. Russell, thanks very much.

LEWIS: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: And you can find many photos of Haiti at npr.org.

This is NPR News.

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