Haiti Airports, Waterways Overwhelmed By Earthquake Relief Efforts

Flights in to the island nation have been temporarily halted due to a lack of fuel.

International aid has been pouring in to Haiti on Thursday (January 14) as government officials struggled to overcome the aftereffects of the devastating earthquake that struck the country earlier this week.

It’s uncertain, however, how further aid will reach the tiny island, as the Federal Aviation Administration announced that further flights into Haiti have been temporarily halted. A spokesperson for the agency said the local airport was saturated, and there was no fuel available for incoming aircraft. A number of humanitarian organizations, including the Red Cross, have made their way into the country and are furiously working to assist with medical and recovery aid.

Leaders from around the globe are stepping up to assist Haiti. President Barack Obama called the tragedy “one of those moments that calls for American leadership.” The president announced in a speech Thursday that the United States would contribute $100 million to Haiti.

Obama also pledged unyielding support to the country. “To the people of Haiti, we say clearly and with conviction, you will not be forsaken,” Obama said. “You will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. The world stands with you.”

Gruesome images and video of the dead have popped up online through various blogs, Facebook accounts and Twitter feeds . Firsthand accounts have described the number of bodies strewn across the streets and stuck under fallen debris. Haitians continue to have little electricity and are facing dwindling water and food supplies.

Locals are erecting makeshift medical tents to help deal with injured bystanders. Twitter users have described holding flashlights as doctors work to treat victims. Estimates of those who died as a result of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake continue to vary, with some saying that upward of 100,000 people might have been killed.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on CNN on Thursday morning and called the situation overwhelming, saying doctors and rescue personnel are dealing with extraordinary challenges in their attempts to help.

In addition to the airport being saturated with arrivals, CNN reported that the port facilities in Haiti are inoperable. Should the airport delays become permanent, the inability to arrive via ports could be be troubling.

“This is a large area involving many, many, many millions of people who have been cut off from access,” Clinton said. “Just getting to people to provide the medical assistance they need is proving to be very difficult.”

She called the next 24 hours “crucial” to ensure the safety of those who are injured or remain alive.

Head here to learn more about what you can do to help with earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti, and for more information, see Think MTV.