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Clinton 'Deeply Resents' Criticism of US Role in Haiti Relief

VOA News 26 January 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she "deeply resents" foreign criticism of the United States' response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Clinton told U.S. State Department employees Tuesday that some members of the international press "misconstrued" her country's military and civilian response to provide aid to Haitians who desperately need it. There are currently more than 15,000 U.S. troops in and around Port-au-Prince, with more on the way.

Clinton also said the United States used "development and diplomacy together" in its response to the disaster.

Separately, the head of the U.S. military relief effort in Haiti said Haitians throughout the capital have welcomed U.S. troops, and that the U.S. has delivered more than 1 million bottles of water and 1 million pre-packaged meals.

As many as 1 million people are homeless in Port-au-Prince alone, and many are in desperate need of aid, following the January 12 earthquake that killed an estimated 200,000 Haitians and destroyed much of the capital.

Lieutenant General Ken Keen also says the U.S. and other agencies plan to start building a hospital in the next few weeks to begin transferring patients from a navy hospital ship, USS Comfort, for longer-term care. He said they hope to eventually increase the hospital's capacity to 5,000 beds.

Haitian President Rene Preval has called for 200,000 more tents to house the many people still homeless from the earthquake.

Health Minister Alex Larson says the government is trying to relocate as many as 400,000 residents to temporary tent camps in place outside the ruined city.

Non-governmental relief agencies, as well as U.S. military personnel and United Nations peacekeepers, are struggling to deliver desperately needed food, water and medical supplies. U.N. peacekeepers at one distribution site fired warning shots in an attempt to pacify starving Haitians who threatened to overrun the site.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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