Shots fired at aid delivery

2010-01-24 09:30

Port-au-Prince - UN troops fired warning shots and sprayed tear gas on Haitian quake survivors on Saturday after a food delivery to hundreds of them spiralled out of control in the capital.

The distribution of food, soybean oil, water and radios at a former military airfield began calmly, with two long lines of people waiting patiently across the field, an AFP photographer saw.

Brazilian troops missed small early scuffles for aid by many who had seen no help since the massive January 12 earthquake reduced their homes to rubble, and were eventually forced to resort to tear gas and firing into the air.

Nevertheless, as order broke down and crowds poured out of the lines, the peacekeepers finally abandoned a pile of radios and other aid for people to fight over, as they stood by.

It was unclear if the delivery by the World Food Programme and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was finally completed.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to send 3 500 extra UN troops and police to quake-hit Haiti to help maintain order and protect humanitarian convoys.

The UN mission in Haiti, deployed in the impoverished nation since mid-2004, currently has roughly 7 000 troops, 2 000 police and about 2 000 civilian personnel.