Aid Stumbling Through Roadblocks In Haiti Nearly two weeks after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, the situation is still far from stable. Aid is beginning to flow, but military and humanitarian workers are encountering logistical problems at every turn. Food, water and other provisions are available on the streets, but only for those who can afford them. Host Liane Hansen gets the latest on recovery efforts in Haiti from NPR's Corey Flintoff in Port-au-Prince.

Aid Stumbling Through Roadblocks In Haiti

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Nearly two weeks after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, the situation is still far from stable. Aid is beginning to flow, but military and humanitarian workers are encountering logistical problems at every turn. Food, water and other provisions are available on the streets, but only for those who can afford them. The government and the United Nations are still trying to find ways to get survivors to safer environments where help can be provided.

Corey Flintoff is part of the NPR reporting team in Haiti, and he joins us on the line from Port-au-Prince. Corey, why dont you tell us what you and the other reporters are seeing now?

COREY FLINTOFF: Well, Liane, we're definitely starting to see a bigger military presence. We're seeing U.S. and United Nations troops on the streets, not in large numbers, but they are there. We're seeing more humanitarian aid distribution. We're seeing more medical care available.

But things are still really chaotic. Most people in the city are still sleeping out on the streets. They're afraid of aftershocks. And I think that the prolonged stress of that kind of precarious existence that people have is starting to take its own kind of toll. Our reporters have been seeing bodies on the streets, and in some cases, they're fresh bodies, meaning that people are still dying.

HANSEN: As I said in my introduction to you, that food was available on the streets for sale. But how is it getting in? I mean, humanitarian groups have been having such a hard time delivering food.

FLINTOFF: You know, there's actually a fair amount of food for sale. I think part of it is that people are starting to get at food that was stored in some of the less damaged buildings. And by that, I dont mean looting. I mean food sellers and distributors have managed to recover some food that they had stored before the quake. But of course thats not going to last very long. And people have told me that so far there's no normal access to food distribution from Dominican Republic, for instance.

Quite a bit of produce such as sugar cane, and yams, and bananas and things like that seems to be coming in from farms in the countryside. But, you know, the other point, of course, is that food is only available for people who can pay for it and prices have gone up. Food vendors told us, in some cases, two or three times as high as they were before.

HANSEN: Well, what about the humanitarian aid? I mean, free food and water, does it seem to be getting to the people?

FLINTOFF: We're seeing some distribution, both, you know, from governments and private charities. But lines are huge. You know, the other day, my colleague, Jason Beaubien, did a fair estimate of about 4,000 people in a line that was snaking around the ruins of the National Palace.

Yesterday, too, there was a food distribution schedule at a police station in Cite Soleil - which is a big slum down by the harbor - that was cancelled. And it caused just enormous amount of frustration and desperation in people there. We know that distribution was rescheduled for this morning, but we dont know yet whether it's begun. So that humanitarian food is flowing but it still seems very slow.

HANSEN: What about remittances from expatriate family members in the U.S.? Is money getting available to people?

FLINTOFF: Yes, it does seem to be coming available. The banks opened yesterday. They were ordered to open and we saw long lines of people standing there trying to get remittances. Also, the wire offices like Western Union have been open for several days and people are getting money that way. So for those who have relatives in the U.S. or other countries that can help support them, there is a small amount of money now beginning to trickle in.

HANSEN: NPR's Corey Flintoff in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Corey, thank you very much.

FLINTOFF: Thank you, Liane.

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