A plane carrying vital medical equipment to Haiti's quake victims has been prevented from landing at Port-au-Prince, aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF - Doctors Without Borders) said.
The cargo plane, carrying drugs, surgical supplies and two dialysis machines, "was turned away three times from Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday night despite repeated assurances of its ability to land there," MSF said in a statement.
Advertisement"This 12-ton cargo was part of the contents of an earlier plane carrying a total of 40 tons of supplies that was blocked from landing on Sunday morning," the statement from the French-founded organisation said.
"Since January 14, MSF has had five planes diverted from the original destination of Port-au-Prince to the Dominican Republic. These planes carried a total of 85 tons of medical and relief supplies."
The statement did not give any reason for the planes' having been turned away or say who had prevented them from landing, however US forces control the airport in Port-au-Prince.
Loris de Filippi, emergency coordinator for MSF's Choscal Hospital in Cite Soleil, said: "We have had five patients in Martissant health centre die for lack of the medical supplies that this plane was carrying."
International military and aid personnel have struggled with Haiti's limited airport capacity since the launch of a massive relief effort last week after the 7.0-magnitude quake.
Tensions have flared between Paris and Washington after French development minister Alain Joyandet called on the United Nations to clarify the US role in Haiti, saying the priority was "helping Haiti, not occupying Haiti."
But French President Nicolas Sarkozy moved Tuesday to ease strains with the United States saying the two countries were fully cooperating to help the quake-hit country.
"I would like to salute the exceptional mobilisation shown by President Obama and the US administration," said Sarkozy.
More than 700 MSF staff are working to provide emergency medical care to earthquake survivors in and around Port-au-Prince.
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