PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The world still can't get enough food and water to the hungry and thirsty one week after an earthquake shattered the capital. The airport remains a bottleneck, the port is a shambles. The Haitian government is invisible, nobody has taken firm charge, and the police have largely given up.
Even as U.S. troops landed in Seahawk helicopters Tuesday on the manicured lawn of the National Palace, the colossal efforts to help Haiti are proving inadequate because of the scale of the disaster and the limitations of the world's governments. Expectations exceeded what money, will and military might have been able to achieve so far in the face of unimaginable calamity.
"God has abandoned us! The foreigners have abandoned us!" yelled Micheline Ursulin, tearing at her hair as she rushed past a large pile of decaying bodies.
Three of her children died in the quake, and her surviving daughter is in the hospital with broken limbs and a serious infection.
Rescue groups continue to work, even though time is running out for those buried by the quake. A Mexican team created after that nation's 1985 earthquake rescued Ena Zizi, 69. She had survived a week buried in the ruins of the residence of Haiti's Roman Catholic archbishop, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, whose body was found Tuesday sitting in a chair in what appeared to be his office.
Doctors said Zizi was dehydrated and had dislocated a hip and broken a leg.
"I'm all right, sort of," she said, lying on a foil thermal blanket outside the hospital, her gray hair covered in white dust.
It is not just Haitians questioning why aid has been so slow for victims of one of the worst earthquakes in history: an estimated 200,000 dead, 250,000 injured and 1.5 million homeless. Officials in France and Brazil and aid groups have complained of bottlenecks, skewed priorities and a crippling lack of leadership and coordination.
Governments have pledged nearly $1 billion in aid, and thousands of tons of food and medical supplies have been shipped. But much remains trapped in warehouses, diverted to the neighboring Dominican Republic, or left hovering in the air.
Aid is being turned back from the single-runway airport, where the U.S. military has come under criticism for poorly prioritizing flights.
Doctors Without Borders said a plane carrying 12 tons of medical equipment, including drugs, surgical supplies and two dialysis machines, had been turned away three times from the Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday night, resulting in the deaths of five patients.
"We were forced to buy a saw in the market to continue amputations," coordinator Loris de Filippi said Tuesday in a statement.
The Air Force said it had raised the airport's daily capacity from 30 flights before the quake to 180 on Tuesday.
About 2,200 Marines established a beachhead west of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday to help speed aid delivery, in addition to 9,000 already on the ground. Lt. Cmdr. Walter Matthews, a military spokesman, said helicopters were ferrying aid from the airport into Port-au-Prince and the nearby town of Jacmel as fast as they can.
The United States has taken charge of pieces of the operation, but coordination has been uneven.
Hanging over the entire effort was an overwhelming fear among relief officials that Haitians' desperation would spill over into violence.
Looters rampaged through part of downtown Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, just four blocks from where U.S. troops landed at the presidential palace.
U.S. officials insisted they had no plans to take on a policing role in Haiti, and the arriving Marines are allowed to use force only in self- defense, according to Maj. Gen. Cornell A. Wilson Jr. But troops of the 82nd Airborne took up positions outside General Hospital on Tuesday when the crowd grew too large.
Haitian Police Chief Mario Andersol said he can muster only 2,000 of the 4,500 officers in the capital and said they "are not trained to deal with this kind of situation."
Some police are urging citizens to take the law into their own hands, and neighborhoods are creating security forces, forming night brigades and machete-armed mobs to fight bandits.
"If you don't kill the criminals, they will all come back," one officer shouted over a loudspeaker in the Cité Soleil slum.