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Caribbean news briefs

Caribbean news briefs

CARIBBEAN: Doctor blames US for looming deaths without medical airlifts from Haiti
MIAMI (AP) _ The U.S. military has halted flights carrying Haitian earthquake victims to the United States because of an apparent cost dispute, and a doctor warned that some injured patients faced imminent death if the flights don't resume.
The evacuations were temporarily suspended Wednesday, said Capt. Kevin Aandahl, spokesman for U.S. Transportation Command. The flights were halted a day after Florida Gov. Charlie Crist asked the federal government to help pay for care.
However, Dr. Barth Green, a doctor involved in the relief effort in Port-au-Prince, warned that 100 critically ill patients who will die in the next day or two.
At a temporary field hospital at Haiti's international airport, set up with donations to Green's institute, two men had already died of tetanus. Doctors said 5-year-old Betina Joseph faced a similar fate within 24 hours unless she is evacuated to a U.S. hospital where she can be put on a respirator.
The girl _ infected with tetanus through a two-inch cut on her thigh _ weakly shooed a fly buzzing around her face as her mother caressed, apparently unaware that getting the girl out could mean life or death.
There were some states that would not accept patients who needed care in the U.S., and they could not be transported without a hospital to accept them, Aandahl said.
Aandahl declined to specify which states declined to accept patients, and he referred further questions to a Pentagon press office, where an after-hours answering service could not accept incoming messages Saturday.
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CARIBBEAN: Skyrocketing costs may have doomed NYC trial plan for suspects in Guantanamo
NEW YORK (AP) _ A letter and a speech may have doomed plans to bring the Sept. 11 terror trial to New York.
The letter written by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Washington earlier this month set a whopping $200-million-a-year price tag to secure the city during the trial _ more than double the original estimate. The speech by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly detailed a planned lockdown of lower Manhattan certain to set new standards for gridlock.
The resulting political and public outcry has forced the Obama administration to consider looking for a more suitable home for the high-profile trial, even as the legitimacy of the New York Police Department's security plan and its estimated cost goes unchallenged.
Kelly insists the plan is necessary _ a reality that started to sink in after his remarks before business leaders.
By announcing late last year that New York would host the trial of admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged al-Qaida cohorts, the Obama administration stumbled into a political fire that had burned the previous administration.
The letter put the cost of stepped-up security at $216 million for the first year after Mohammed and the others arrive in Manhattan from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After that, the mayor said it would cost $200 million annually for as long as the men are detained in the city _ mainly overtime for extra police patrols.
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HAITI: 20,000 US troops winning friends _ but some say soldiers shouldn't overstay welcome
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Young men gripping a steel fence along Port-au-Prince's waterfront call out to two U.S. Army soldiers, pleading for jobs as translators, drivers, laborers.
None are getting any jobs today. But that doesn't dampen their enthusiasm for the U.S. military, which has a checkered history in Haiti that precedes its huge humanitarian mission after the Jan. 12 earthquake killed at least 150,000 people.
Many Haitians _ at least for now _ share that sentiment as they see U.S. troops bandaging the wounded, clearing debris, handing out food and water and even directing traffic. The soldiers are generating goodwill and are given a large degree of credit for keeping Haiti relatively peaceful during these worst of circumstances.
For the soldiers, Haiti is a welcome respite from dodging suicide bombers, snipers and roadside explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Mike Billman, who deployed to Iraq in 2005, said the Haiti mission is more like what he was trained to do in the 1990s, before his work as a soldier shifted to fighting insurgents, and before images from Abu Ghraib tarnished the military's image. Billman sees the Haiti mission as a way to change opinions.
The Haiti effort could not be more multinational _ with peacekeepers, rescue teams and medical volunteers from across the planet _ but the U.S. presence is the most visible. There are more than 20,000 U.S. military personnel in and around Haiti _ more than 6,000 on the ground, including Marines west of Port-au-Prince and an 82nd Airborne Division brigade in the city. The rest are aboard 23 Navy vessels, led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. The U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort has treated more than 3,000 patients since arriving Jan. 20.
The troops run orderly food distributions where there have been many warm encounters with Haitians.
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HAITI: Desperation grows, officials worry about santitation as well as food, water, shelter
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ A lack of sanitation threatens to create killer diseases in the vast refugee camps where hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors have crammed in together, relief officials said Saturday.The need for latrines has joined food, water and shelter as a major concern.
Just one portable toilet serves about 2,000 people in a sprawling camp across from the collapsed National Palace. Most use a gutter next to where vendors cook food and mothers struggle to bathe their children.
With an estimated 1 million made homeless by the quake, survivors have crammed into nearly every open space left in the capital, so tightly that finding a place to dig latrines is hard.
Nearly three dozen organizations are joining in a U.N.-led effort to build latrines and handle solid waste disposal, said Dr. Jon Andrus, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization. Authorities also plan to build more permanent resettlement camps with plumbing and sewage and have identified some locations.
The results of these efforts aren't yet evident in many places, exposing people to cholera, dysentery, tetanus; the mosquito-borne dengue and malaria, and other communicable diseases.
Some hospitals are already reporting that half the children they're treating have malaria. Although the rainy season won't start until April, thousands are living outside near standing water where mosquitoes breed.
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PUERTO RICO: Official: Doctors investigated for posing with Haiti victims on Facebook
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ Puerto Rican medical doctors who appeared on Facebook posing with guns and Haitian earthquake victims are under investigation for possible ethics violations, the U.S. territory's health secretary said Saturday. One was expelled from his political party for unstatesmanlike behavior.
Ethical guidelines prohibit taking pictures of operations or patients unless they serve an academic or medical purpose, said Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez, who noted he is collaborating with the Puerto Rican Association of Physicians and Surgeons in the investigation.
A statement released by the association noted that "a small minority" of roughly 65 doctors who were sent to treat earthquake victims "displayed behavior ... that did not meet the highest standards of the medical profession." The statement did not say exactly how many doctors appeared in the photos.
In some of the photographs, smiling physicians appear in medical scrubs, holding guns borrowed from Dominican soldiers. In another, a doctor grins as he holds a saw next to a victim's leg, and a colleague mugs for the camera as he holds up the injured arm of an earthquake victim. Yet others show the doctors holding up condoms, drinking beer, or smiling as they stand beside a coffin.
One picture depicts a prostrate quake victim wearing nothing but a shirt and a small strip of cloth over the genitals.


Updated : 2021-05-14 21:16 GMT+08:00