U.S. military will resume flying Haitian earthquake victims to Florida

Humanitarian efforts have begun across the world in response to the devastating earthquake that struck near Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince late Tuesday, Jan. 12. U.N. officials say an accurate count of those killed in the 7.0-magnitude quake might never be known.
By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 1, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI -- The U.S. military will resume flying severely injured Haitian earthquake victims out of the country, ending a dispute over hospital costs and capacity that had stopped such flights.

The first flight is scheduled for Monday morning, with six patients considered to be in critical condition, said Nery Ynclan, a spokeswoman for the University of Miami's Medishare project here.

A White House spokesman said Sunday that sufficient hospital space exists "both here and among our international partners" to justify the swift resumption after a squabble that involved Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) and several U.S. agencies.

"Patients are being identified for transfer, doctors are making sure that it is safe for them to fly, and we are preparing specific in-flight pediatric care aboard the aircraft where needed," spokesman Tommy Vietor said. "Florida is identifying specific receiving facilities."

In another development, 10 Americans from Idaho are behind bars here, suspected of trying to transport 33 Haitian children across Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic on Friday.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said the group, members of a Baptist charity, are under investigation for trafficking in children.

A spokeswoman for the group said the Americans were trying to do "the right thing" by taking apparent orphans out of the country.

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