An order giving United States military aircraft priority to land in Haiti after last week’s massive earthquake has delayed the arrival of urgently needed medical teams and supplies by up to 48 hours.
Doctors have described a “dramatic” situation, where more than five cargo planes carrying surgical equipment have been refused landings at Port-au-Prince airport in the days after the 7.0-magnitude quake.
Benoit Leduc from Medecins Sans Frontieres says the delays have made the situation worse and doctors are now in a race against time to save the injured.
“It’s difficult operations, we’re facing logistics constraints. We had five of our planes, three cargo planes and two of our expatriate staff – including surgical teams that we tried to send in pretty quickly – five of these planes were refused to land,” he said.
“They had to go across the border. So these additional delays – we clearly had like 48 hours of delay – because of this access problem to the site.”