Haiti Midnight Update

Bill Clinton has an op-ed in Thursday's Washington Post on how to help Haiti.

MSNBC's David Shuster is hosting a show at midnight ET on Haiti, with reports from a few hours ago from those on the scene, including Brian Williams, Kerry Sanders, Al Roker and Ann Curry. (If you saw Olberman, you've probably already seen them.) Kerry Sanders is predicting anarchy will set in. Air traffic control is being set up. The flights are starting to come in. The Canadian military has arrived.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has canceled her trip to Australia and is heading back to Washington from Honolulu due to the Haiti crisis.

Some experts are saying the death toll could reach 500,000 and rival the 2004 tsunami which killed 230,000 people. That seems to include people who will die from lack of treatment and after-effects, in addition to those killed in the actual earthquake, although all numbers seem to be guestimates right now. . From ABC News Australia: [More...]

As aftershocks continued to shake the devastated capital Port-au-Prince, residents tried to rescue people trapped under rubble, clawing at chunks of concrete with bare hands. Tens of thousands wandered dazed and sobbing in the chaotic, broken streets, hoping desperately for assistance. One young man yelled at reporters in English: "Too many people are dying. We need international help ... no emergency, no food, no phone, no water, no nothing."

Bodies were visible all around the hilly city: under rubble, lying beside roads, and being loaded into trucks. President says death toll between 30,000 and 50,000. But PM says toll could be up to 100,000. Red Cross says up to 3 million killed, injured or homeless. Massive aid appeal underway.

There's no electricity. Where are people going to go to the bathroom? The medical implications are huge. Everyone is sleeping outside. Aftershocks are beginning.

A total nightmare. The U.S. says it may bring some Haitians to Guantanamo. It's not big enough to hold all who need help.

Back to Bill Clinton's op-ed:

First we must care for the injured, take care of the dead, and sustain those who are homeless, jobless and hungry. As we clear the rubble, we will create better tomorrows by building Haiti back better: with stronger buildings, better schools and health care; with more manufacturing and less deforestation; with more sustainable agriculture and clean energy.

Establishing this foundation for a better Haitian future will require assistance from governments, businesses and private citizens. The people of Haiti deserve our support. Those eager to help can donate through the U.N. effort, my own foundation or by text message (text "HAITI" to 20222 to donate $10 to U.N. relief efforts).

Even Russia is pitching in. From the AFP newswire:

An airplane carrying search and rescue teams left Moscow Thursday for quake-devastated Haiti, as Russia pledged to send more aid including a field hospital and medical supplies, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The first Il-76 airplane, which lifted off from Moscow at 0230 GMT, will "deliver a specially equipped car, rescuers and trained seeker dogs," the emergency situations ministry said. More airplanes will bring in a field hospital for 50 people "with surgical and diagnostic equipment as well as a blood lab", the ministry said.

Update: Check out David Morel's photos of the devastation at Corbis Images. A good twitter feed from someone in Haiti is RAMHaiti, but I think he just went to bed. Check again tomorrow. He says it's quiet and peaceful, no violence.

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    You know (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by The Last Whimzy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:11:40 AM EST
    There are people in the democratic party who would look at Clinton's op ed as opportunism, people who have convinced themselves that someone named clinton would NEVER do anything without first considering how doing that thing would FIRST benefit Clinton.

    i just want to say how despicable i think those people are.

    They should be purged from the party.


    purge THOSE people from the party, and i will start donating money to the party.


    as of now i'm still an independent.

    until the party can stop CATERING to clinton derangement.

    yes.  it's all awful. but you're bringing up clinton stuff here and i don't have the heart to check other blogs to see how your blogging buddies are making money off clinton hatred.

    If we have to do it ourselves (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Jen M on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 06:44:18 AM EST
    Then lets show the Haitians what we're made of.


    I was watching CNN (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by lilburro on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:49:58 AM EST
    last night and my head almost exploded.  Dr. Sanjay Gupta was on the scene, all day.

    And what was he doing?


    Walking around.

    Guiding a cameraman.


    I cannot conceive of an explanation for that and it makes me sick.

    He turned down Surgeon General (none / 0) (#11)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:01:23 AM EST
    to still be a Journalism Star.  That was a tip-off, hmmmm?  Yes, I had the same thought in seeing a physician who was seeing the suffering but just journalizing about it.  I'm sure that there is some rationale for it, that he was doing his doctor job in bringing attention to the needs there -- but that is something that a C- student in Journalism 101 can do.  The docs I know would have been ignoring the camera and treating the suffering.

    Rationale, yes (none / 0) (#13)
    by lilburro on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:13:23 AM EST
    explanation, no.  And I actually blame Gupta more for that than CNN.  I suppose I'm supposed to write "Dr. Gupta" but clearly he no longer deserves that.

    Finally heard from my Haitian friend (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:44:51 AM EST
    here who still is trying to track down so many family and friends there.  Many in his family lived only blocks from the palace and can't be found now, so it is heartbreaking.  

    My friend also forwarded many messages from those he could reach there, artists and poets who write so well of what they are seeing and experiencing, but even they are searching for words.  Their messages do reminds us that the news may get much worse, as at least we are hearing about how bad it is in urban areas -- but as happens so often, the rural areas may be as hard-hit and with even fewer resources already there before the quake hit.  And those rural areas will be the last reached by the new resources arriving in Haiti now.

    I fear that my friend here, who is not in the best of health, is not sleeping and is in danger, too.  It brings home to me how hard this must be for the hundreds of thousands (at least; maybe millions?) in the huge Haitian diaspora.

    I am glad you heard (none / 0) (#20)
    by lilburro on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:22:43 PM EST
    from your friend.  The country is so small that I would guess almost everyone with any connection to Haiti is worried/freaked out/in great emotional pain right now.  My friend, who fortunately was not in Haiti at the time, has sadly lost one person he knows to the quake.  Pray to God no more.

    I keep thinking about (none / 0) (#1)
    by Radiowalla on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 11:48:03 PM EST
    Voltaire's Pangloss who kept repeating "it's the best of all possible worlds" when Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.

    As for donating, I plan to direct my contributions to

    Doctors Without Borders

    In addition, you might consider Partners (none / 0) (#16)
    by esmense on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:15:33 AM EST
    In Health; http://www.pih.org/home.html

    They operate, in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health, 10 hospitals and clinics, all outside the capital and all still intact. As a result, they are now the largest health care provider still standing in all Haiti.  

    According to their website they are responding to the emergency by "organizing the logistics to get the medical staff and supplies needed for setting up field hospital sites in Port-au-Prince where we can triage patients, provide emergency care, and send those who need surgery or more complex treatment to our functioning hospitals and surgical facilities. To do this, we are creating a supply chain through the Dominican Republic. Second, we are ensuring that our facilities in the Central Plateau are ready to serve the flow of patients from Port-au-Prince. Operating and procedure rooms are staffed, supplied, and equipped for surgeries and we have converted a church in Cange into a large triage area. Already our sites in Cange and Hinche are reporting a steady flow of people coming with medical needs from the capital city. In the days that come we will need to make sure our pharmacies and supplies stay stocked and our staff continue to be able to respond."

    Considering the devastation to the resources of international agencies in the capital (Doctors without Borders lost all 3 of its hospitals) and the logistical delays involved in getting resources into Haiti, supporting this organization may be one of the most immediate ways to help provide care for those who are suffering in Haiti.


    WSWS: Hundreds of thousands feared dead in Haiti (none / 0) (#2)
    by Andreas on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:29:05 AM EST

    The WSWS writes:

    In 2004, the United Nations secretariat that focuses on disaster relief pointed to this combined effect of natural and socio-economic disasters:

    "The impact of the hazards is much greater in Haiti because the vulnerability of people there is higher. Rapid urbanization, lack of land management, the exploitation of charcoal and consequent deforestation make Haitian people more vulnerable to mudslides."

    The head of the secretariat, Salvano Briceño, said at the time: "What is happening in Haiti is an illustration of a combination of vulnerabilities that was bound to happen. Vulnerabilities have been allowed to grow in Haiti in proportions such that any natural hazard would lead to great disaster."

    He urged international agencies and the world's governments to invest in aiding Haiti to build up its infrastructure so that it could be prepared to deal with disasters, rather than relying only on relief after the fact.

    Instead, the United Nations sent thousands of troops, led by the Brazilian army, to occupy the impoverished nation and impose "law and order" in the wake of a US-backed coup that overthrew the elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. An estimated 8,000 Haitians were killed in the period of the coup, many at the hands of right-wing gunmen, some of them trained by the CIA.

    This was only the latest in a long series of US interventions aimed at maintaining Washington's domination of the country and suppressing any movement of the masses to transform the oppressive social and economic conditions.

    Hundreds of thousands feared dead in Haiti
    By Bill Van Auken, 14 January 2010

    please don't reprint articles from (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:31:42 AM EST
    other sources here. Explain the point it makes, quote a paragraph and link.

    Reprinting articles (none / 0) (#4)
    by Andreas on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:58:06 AM EST
    I only quoted a very short section from a much longer article. If that is not ok I will stop posting. I does not make much sense to summarize a summary.

    six paragraphs is a little excessive (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:10:57 AM EST
    You could just summarize the theme, quote an enticing paragraph and link to your site. You'd probably get more traffic too.

    As of today... (none / 0) (#7)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:12:42 AM EST
    LA Times:
    There was virtually no sign of outside assistance other than a few United Nations vehicles passing by. There was little police presence, no water being handed out, no encampments, except those set up by people apparently left homeless by the quake or those too afraid to go back into their ramshackle homes.

    As usual, it is up to individuals to gather money and resources to donate for this humanitarian cause. The government can't seem to be able to use helicopters or parachutes for food and supplies.

    Addendum (none / 0) (#8)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:18:13 AM EST
    NY Times:

    "Mr. Obama did not make a specific aid pledge, and administration officials said they were still trying to figure out what Haiti needed. But he urged Americans to dig into their pockets and to go to www.whitehouse.gov to learn ways to donate money."

    LA Times oughta turn on the teevee (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:06:41 AM EST
    and see the teams at work that we viewers were seeing -- once they could fly in safely.  After all, the airport control tower was out of commission, so the Coast Guard had to get down there first with its mobile control tower ability before planes, choppers, etc., could land safely.  So the government was doing something, but in a safe sequence, from what I could see.

    Good (none / 0) (#14)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:58:09 AM EST
    to hear that.

    But... (none / 0) (#15)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:02:32 AM EST
    I must admit that it drives me nuts that our government is telling us to "dig into our pockets" to send aid.

    They have no trouble coming up with $750,000,000 dollars a day to continue the war in Iraq.

    Only when it is a humanitarian disaster - then they put it in our laps. That's the way I feel about it.


    Lentinel, this money (none / 0) (#17)
    by vml68 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:19:52 AM EST
    $750,000,000 dollars a day

    is coming out of your pocket too. The only difference is in one instance you are giving your money to the causes you believe in and in the other, they are giving your money to the causes they believe in.

    Close - (none / 0) (#19)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:11:10 PM EST
    but I way I see it is that they're are telling me that they will spend my money on the war in Iraq whether I want it spent that way or not. But if I want the Haitian people to receive assistance, that's not in the kitty and it is up to us.

    The war is obligatory.
    Humanitarian assistance is optional.