• U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the U.S. military would fly critically ill quake survivors to locations in several states to avoid overloading Florida. The flights had stalled for five days because of concerns over space and costs in U.S. hospitals.
• In Washington, the American Red Cross said a waiting list of 1,000 flights for Haiti’s airport is limiting delivery of relief supplies.
• A U.S. Navy carrier left Haiti after delivering about 500 tons of humanitarian aid. The USS Carl Vinson arrived off the Haitian coast three days after the quake. Its personnel evacuated 435 patients.
• Haiti announced “Operation Demolition,” an effort to demolish all collapsed buildings — public and private, commercial and residential.
• Many schools in Haiti’s outlying provinces, which were not as affected by the quake, reopened Monday, and more provincial schools will reopen Feb. 8, the government said.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti Haiti’s prime minister said Monday that 10 Americans who tried to take a busload of undocumented Haitian children out of the country knew that “what they were doing was wrong,” and could be prosecuted in the United States.
Prime Minister Max Bellerive told The Associated Press that his country is open to having the Americans face U.S. justice, since most government buildings — including Haiti’s courts — were crippled by the monster earthquake.
“It is clear now that they were trying to cross the border without papers. It is clear now that some of the children have live parents,” Bellerive said. “And it is clear now that they knew what they were doing was wrong.”
If they were acting in good faith — as the Americans claim — “perhaps the courts will try to be more lenient with them,” he said.
U.S. Embassy officials would not say whether Washington would accept hosting judicial proceedings for the Americans, who are mostly from Idaho. For now, the case remains firmly in Haitian hands, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington.
“Once we know all the facts, we will determine what the appropriate course is, but the judgment is really up to the Haitian government,” he said.
Haitian officials insist some prosecution is needed to help deter child trafficking, which many fear will flourish in the chaos caused by the devastating Jan. 12 quake. The government and aid groups are still struggling to get food, water, shelter and basic health care to hundreds of thousands of survivors, and many parents are desperate to get help for their children.
U.S. diplomats have had “unlimited” access to the 10 detainees, and will monitor any court proceedings, said Crowley. They have not yet been charged.
Members of the church group insisted they were only trying to save abandoned and traumatized children — but appeared to lack any significant experience with Haiti, international charity work or international adoption regulations.
Investigators have been trying to determine how the Americans got the children, and whether any of the traffickers that have plagued the impoverished country were involved.
The 33 kids arrived with their names written in tape on their shirts at a children’s home where some told aid workers they have surviving parents.