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Originally published January 19, 2010 at 8:11 PM | Page modified January 19, 2010 at 10:16 PM

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U.S. troops begin patrolling Haiti streets

U.S. military helicopters landed on Tuesday at Haiti's wrecked National Palace, and troops began patrolling the capital's battered streets.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — U.S. military helicopters landed on Tuesday at Haiti's wrecked National Palace, and troops began patrolling the capital's battered streets, signs of the growing international relief operation here.

Haiti's long history of foreign intervention, including a U.S. occupation, normally makes the influx of foreigners a delicate issue. But with the government of President Rene Preval largely out of public view and the needs so huge, many Haitians are shunting aside their concerns about sovereignty and welcoming anybody willing to help — in camouflage or not.

Meanwhile, 125 Marines arrived in helicopters in the damaged farming town of Leogane, south of the capital, delivering cases of water and food.

Army Col. Gregory Kane told reporters at the Port-au-Prince airport that the Haitian government remained in charge. "We're not invading Haiti. That's ludicrous. This is humanitarian relief," he said.

Other troops are on the way. The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved sending 3,500 more police officers and peacekeeping troops to Haiti to maintain public order and augment the roughly 9,000 U.N. troops already there.

Navy divers arrived at Port-au-Prince's crippled port — where a pier was listing perilously and two of three cranes were submerged — to help. Slowly they began to unload shipping containers from a barge that had sailed from Mobile, Ala., filled with supplies for the World Food Organization and Catholic Relief Services.

U.N. aims to

feed 2 million

The U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said in New York that the United Nations' food agency had distributed rations for 200,000 people so far, and other officials said the aim was to supply 4.2 million rations of food for children.

Ban said the agency was aiming to feed 1 million people by this week and 2 million by next week — though 3 million or more people are estimated to need food.

Demand for doctors

outstrips supply

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The demand for medical care far outstripped the supply of doctors. Debarati Guha-Sapir, a professor of epidemiology and the director of the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at the University of Louvain in Belgium, said that deaths in large earthquakes generally declined after the first day or two.

"Haiti, I think, is going to be a little different," she said. "They will die simply because there is no care. People will die of wounds. They will die of lack of surgical care. They will die of simple trauma that in almost any other country would not lead to death."

Officials: 200,000

may be dead

Haitian officials say that as many as 200,000 people may have died in the quake Jan. 12 and tens of thousands more were injured. International rescue teams have reported rescuing fewer than 100 survivors.

The State Department has raised the U.S. death toll in Haiti to 28.

Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the government has confirmed the deaths of one U.S. government official and 27 private American citizens. And he said an unspecified additional number are presumed — but not confirmed — to have died.

Crowley said there were roughly 45,000 Americans in Haiti when the quake struck last Tuesday. He said that about half of those have dual American-Haitian citizenship.

Trilogy International Partners learned that five members of its wireless subsidiary in Haiti were killed. Bellevue-based Trilogy provides mobile-phone service through its Voila subsidiary, which has about 575 local employees.

Seattle Times news services

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