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Report: Haitian aid gathering dust

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- International aid groups say red tape and corruption in Haiti are withholding supplies a year after a major earthquake ravaged the impoverished country.

Near the airport in Port-au-Prince, 700 vehicles, six ambulances and some 450 water filtration systems are gathering dust, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

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Various aid organizations told the newspaper the delays are caused by customs and government officials seeking bribes to release the aid, although government officials deny it.

The Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake killed as many as 300,000 people and wiped out 65 percent of the country's agricultural production.

Chad Walsh of Grassroots United told the Herald his small organization scrambled to get 450 water purification units to Haiti, only to see them gather dust in a customs warehouse.

"You spend days and days getting some paper customs asked for, and then they come up with something else," Walsh said.

A spokesman for the British charity Oxfam told the Herald eight cars it sent to Haiti were held for a full year.

Apart from the frustration of seeing distribution being delayed, various charities told the Herald they were also ordered to pay steep storage fees for their donations.

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