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Hospital Ship USNS Comfort Receives First Haitian Patients

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NEW DELHI The U.S. military is sending additional ships to help with earthquake recovery in Haiti, including one that could remove debris blocking the main port.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signed orders sending a port-clearing ship with cranes to Port-au-Prince. It would remove debris that is preventing many larger ships from docking, holding up the delivery of vital food and other relief.

Gates, who's in India, says the ship could help get the port back in operation within a week or two.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon says the hospital ship USNS Comfort has received its first Haitian patients. A 6-year-old boy and 20-year-old man, both severely injured, were flown by Navy helicopter from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to the hospital ship as it streamed toward Haiti.

The nearly 900-foot floating hospital is expected to arrive near Port-au-Prince today. The Comfort left Baltimore on Saturday, carrying about 550 medical staff and about 60 civilian mariners.

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