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Aid Plane Turned Away From Haiti Airport, Says Medical Charity



Aid plane turned away from Haiti airport, says medical charity
Médecins sans Frontières cargo plane carrying inflatable hospital blocked from landing at Port-au-Prince airport
By Mark Tran | Guardian.co.UK

A medical group today said one of its planes was turned away from Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, despite guarantees given by the UN and the US defence department.

Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) received no explanation as to why the cargo plane carrying an inflatable surgical hospital was blocked from landing yesterday and re-routed to Samana, in the Dominican Republic.

All material from the cargo is now being sent by truck from Samana, but this has added a 24-hour delay. A second MSF plane is on its way and scheduled to land today in Port- au-Prince at around 10am local time (3pm GMT) with additional lifesaving medical material and the rest of the equipment for the hospital.

If this plane is also rerouted the installation of the hospital will be further delayed, in a situation where thousands of wounded are still in need of life-saving treatment, the group said.

"Priority must be given immediately to planes carrying life-saving equipment and medical personnel," a spokesperson said.

The inflatable hospital includes two operating theatres, an intensive care unit, 100-bed capacity, an emergency room and all the necessary equipment needed for sterilising material.

MSF teams are working around the clock in five hospitals in Port-au-Prince, but only two operating threatres are fully functional, while a third has been improvised for minor surgery due to the massive influx of wounded.

MSF doctors say they have never seen so many serious injuries as those sustained by victims of Haiti's earthquake. Read more.

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