In Brazil, spokespersons for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) have denied any problems with the activities of Brazilian military personnel in Haiti due to the fact that American soldiers are controlling the Port-au-Prince airport and managing air traffic control there.
FAB says that procedures being followed in Haiti by the American air controllers are those used in NATO operations and in the United States under similar circumstances.
On Monday, January 18, a Brazilian aircraft used by the presidency carrying officials and journalists was not authorized to land. FAB explained that the problem was that the plane’s flight plan did not include prior landing permission at the Port-au-Prince airport.
Because of the heavy volume of air traffic and the enormous relief effort in Haiti, it is now necessary to reserve a time slot or “slot window” (air force talk) for landings 48 hours ahead of time. And there are strict rules once a plane in on the ground: it must be unloaded and back in the air within an hour.
“At the moment, everything is under control. We have the technical ability to unload and lift off in an hour,” declared colonel Amaral of the Air Force press sector. “Right after the earthquake there was intense traffic, but now it is all well coordinated. FAB and the US Air Force are working well together without problems.”
The aircraft that was turned back on Monday flew to the Dominican Republic yesterday where it waited for a slot window at Port-au-Prince which was expected at the end of the day.
Brazilians Dead in Haiti
The number of Brazilians confirmed dead in the Haiti earthquake of January 12 has risen to 20. There were three civilians, Zilda Arns and Luiz Carlos da Costa, and another Brazilian who has still not been identified. A total of 17 soldiers were killed.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations reports that it has received hundreds of phone calls requesting information.
Since the earthquake a total of 20 Brazilian survivors have returned to Brazil, some of them with minor injuries. The Brazilian embassy in Port-au-Prince says it has received a large volume of requests for repatriation and is examining them.
There has also been a significant increase in requests for information by people who are interested in adopting Haitian children.