US Marines Arrive in Haiti to Secure the Ruined Presidential Palace

US troops descended by helicopter to take control of Haiti's ruined presidential palace Tuesday, AFP reporters saw, as the military earthquake relief operation gathered pace.

Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne division arrived in at least four choppers to secure the executive mansion, a once elegant white building in the devastated city center, now surrounded by a vast refugee camp.

United States military helicopters carrying dozens of American troops landed on the lawn of Haiti’s destroyed presidential palace on Tuesday morning, a potent symbol of the escalating United States military presence in Haiti since the earthquake that struck a week ago.

With hundreds of Haitians watching and cheering from outside the white-and-green palace gates, troops in combat fatigues bounded out of the helicopters, carrying food rations, bottled water and other gear across the grass, according to photographs and news reports from the scene.