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US bans quake victims in cost row

THE US military has stopped flying Haitian earthquake victims to the United States for medical attention, following concerns about who will pay for the treatment.

"At this moment in time, yes, the flights have stopped," Navy Captain Kevin Aandahl confirmed yesterday.

"We have to have a destination to bring them to," Captain Aandahl said, citing reports that Florida had told the US government that the state needed help paying for the care.

"If Florida isn't taking them ... and I can't confirm this, but I think Georgia has made a similar statement, so if we can't bring them anywhere for treatment, then they're staying in Haiti."

He said the flights had stopped on Wednesday.

"The fact that medical flights aren't taking place does not mean that Haitians who need care aren't getting it," Capt Aandahl added. "We have the medical facilities again on the island as well as offshore."

Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Florida Governor Charlie Crist, was reported as saying that the governor's request for federal help might have caused "confusion."

"Florida stands ready to assist our neighbours in Haiti, but we need reimbursement for the care we are providing," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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