Relief workers are making progress in Haiti. Some of that progress is thanks to the Kentucky Air National Guard. Since the quake struck one of the biggest problems is congestion at the Port-Au-Prince airport, so Kentuckians are in the Dominican Republic, to set up an air hub to help funnel in supplies.
They left Kentucky Friday loaded with pallets of supplies desperately needed in Haiti. "We know that we can be called in to do anything," Lt. Colonel Kirk Hilbrecht says, "from helping the campaigns that are going on in Afghanistan and Iraq to also these humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in another part of the hemisphere."
Hilbrecht says the airstrip they're using in the Dominican Republic is about the size of the Frankfort airport, but within hours, they transformed it into a major hub. "We literally took a piece of concrete and building and have now made this an airbase."
The base has proved essential in helping get doctors, UN peacekeepers, and other humanitarian aid workers into Haiti. "Humanitarian relief organizations who cannot get into Port-Au-Prince because they are so clogged and congested are actually coming through Barahona, Dominican Republic where we're at right now through our air hub," Hilbrecht says.
Beyond the capital, affected areas north and northeast of Port-Au-Prince had been inaccessible from that city, so the only way in has been through the Dominican Republic.