More relief flights able to land in Haiti

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Associated Press

Posted on January 18, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 18 at 4:04 PM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The U.S. military says it's expanding the capacity of the cramped airport in Haiti's capital.

A military spokesman says about 100 flights a day are now landing there, up from 60 a day last week.

The spokesman says a ramp that was designed for 16 large aircraft was holding as many as 40 last week. He says, "That's why there was gridlock."

But the U.S. military has been criticized by other countries and aid groups for diverting some relief planes to the neighboring Dominican Republic. The aid group Doctors Without Borders says that's what happened to planes carrying doctors and medical supplies, causing their arrival in Haiti to be delayed by two days.

And a French official expressed concern about the U.S. military role in Haiti, saying the relief effort is "about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti."

But the U.N. now says that it's worked out an agreement with U.S. officials on a system to give priority to humanitarian flights.

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