Pressure grows to speed aid distribution in Haiti

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The Haitian woman held a baby in her right arm and bottles of mineral water in her left and could only place the food she was given upon her head.

After receiving the relief goods from the U.N. peacekeepers and international rescue teams, she left the distribution site, leaving tens of thousands more still waiting anxiously for their turn.

The makeshift distribution site was built in an industrial park in northwest Port-au-Prince -- home to a number of foreign-backed companies.

Once expected to generate income for the trouble-torn Caribbean nation, the industrial park now illustrates more the difference between the fortunate and the unfortunate, its walls keeping out many more beyond aid.

Relief is mainly reserved for women, children, the old and the injured. When those who met the requirements were allowed to enter the industrial park to get their share of supplies for the day; those who did not, peeked over the wall. Whenever someone tried to force their way in, the police would open fire over the crowd to scare them off.

The day's distribution ended at 4 p.m., but many still lingered since it was the only place where they could expect a piece of bread.

More than a week after the devastating 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck the island, countries and international organizations have pledged huge amounts of funds and aid materials to Haiti. Yet it is reported that food has reached only about 7.5 percent of those in need.

Blocked roads, mountainous terrain, collapsed infrastructure and disrupted telecommunication services have prevented aid from quickly reaching the victims.

Moreover, aid work has also been frustrated by a lack of leadership due to personnel losses among national and global authorities.

Haunted by the growing threat of looting and violence, governments and aid organizations are expected to step up efforts to deliver aid to the most needy with the least delay.

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