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APTOPIX Haiti Earthquake

From the Washington Post:

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — International relief organizations backed by American soldiers delivered hundreds of tons of rice to homeless residents of the Haitian capital Sunday, laboring to ease a food shortage that has left countless thousands struggling to find enough to eat.

But even as food-aid workers enjoyed their most successful day since the Jan. 12 earthquake, the increasingly prominent role of U.S. troops and civilians in the capital is creating high expectations that the Obama administration is struggling to contain.

The needs are extraordinary, and the common refrain is that the Americans will provide.

“I want the Americans to take over the country. The Haitian government can’t do anything for us,” said Jean-Louis Geffrard, a laborer who lives under a tarp in the crowded square. “When we tell the government we’re hungry, the government says, ‘We’re hungry, too.’ ”

Added Canga Matthieu, a medical student whose school was destroyed: “The American government should take care of us.”

“They’re well organized. The United States is the richest country in the world, and they can help.”

But help has its limits, U.S. officials emphasize in their public statements and in their interactions with Haitians. “You will have a friend and partner in the United States of America today and going forward,” President Obama said the day after the earthquake. But U.S. officials here make it clear that the American government is not responsible for rebuilding the ravaged country.

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