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Via: CharlotteObserver.com

On the ninth day, deeply needed aid streamed into Haiti’s ravaged capital in quantities that relief agencies said is a clear sign of progress.

With more ways to get aid into the country, including the opening of the city’s seaport Thursday and a more efficient system of food and water distribution, a path to recovery seemed clearer.

“I think we’re beginning to turn a corner in logistics,” said John Holmes, under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs of the U.N., which is coordinating aid. “The aid is getting out.”

This week – as the U.N. coordinated 30 countries and 400 nongovernmental organizations and relief agencies – more distribution points for food and water opened, along with new medical clinics. The roads have been cleared for trucks.

The U.S. military increased the capacity of the airport from 30 planes daily before the quake to 130, and three new airfields opened. The Port-au-Prince seaport, battered in the quake, opened for limited deliveries. Some relief agencies began shifting their focus to long-term relief and reconstruction.

Still, much more is needed as Haiti struggles to recover from an earthquake that killed as many as 200,000 and left up to 2 million living in the streets and in tent cities.

“Haiti has truly presented many more challenges than our other relief operations,” said Cynthia Gutierrez-White, senior director of communications for the American Red Cross. “We haven’t faced anything like this.”

On Thursday, World Vision, in partnership with USAID, started distribution of 2,000 metric tons of food – enough to feed more than 94,000 individuals in Petionville, Delmas and Port-au-Prince. Air drops of food and water by C-17 aircraft continued, too, with 14,000 water bottles and 14,500 pre-packaged military meals for people in Mirebalais, about 25 miles northeast of Port-au-Prince.

The USS Carl Vinson is producing 100,000 gallons of potable water daily and water tanks are being installed in each zone of the city.

An extra 4,000 U.S. troops are due to arrive in Haiti on Saturday to join the more than 12,000 U.S. troops on the ground and offshore.

But relief officials warn there are still kinks in the effort and much to be done.

“With each day, we are building momentum and the logistics are improving. We are starting to get aid to the areas relatively rapidly,” said Stephanie Bunker, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “We have done a lot, but we have a long way to go. We are still not getting aid in the quantities we need and not reaching all the sectors.”

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