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Haiti's bad roads not damaged by quake, Army engineers say

By Dana Hedgpeth
Saturday, January 23, 2010; 5:50 PM

Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Saturday that they assessed the damage from the Jan. 12 quake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and found that many of the roads aren't any worse than they were before because they've always been in poor condition.

Officials said they have counted about 15 dozen government buildings that have been destroyed and estimate that 80 percent of the major destruction is around the city's capital. They also estimated that 200 million cubic yards of debris will need to be removed from Port-au-Prince.

"I don't think these people will ever recover," said Justin McDonald, a civil engineer with the Army Corps who has been helping survey the damage. "In Katrina, we had all the resources in the world in the U.S. and they still didn't fully recover. Here you're in a country that has no resources. Someone is going to have to do it for them."

At the airport, U.S. military officials said they were working to keep aid-laden aircraft coming in. On Friday, 53 planes arrived unannounced or without informing aircraft carriers about their cargo. About 40 planes that were expected didn't arrive, according to U.S. Air Force officials helping run the airport.

The State Department is slow in processing U.S. citizens to leave Haiti, according to military officials. The military said some planes returning to the United States are leaving half-empty because of the few U.S. citizens who are processed to leave.

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