HAITI EARTHQUAKE LIVE BLOG: Who to Follow and What to Read for Breaking Developments

Tuesday, 12 January 2010 14:51 By Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | Live Blog | name.

Here is the link to Thursday's live blog. Please check the page regularly for updates.

7:45am PDT: The BBC has a disturbing first hand video report from a hospital in Port-au-Prince where, last night, injured people waiting for treatment slept amongst dead bodies.

7:37am PDT: The Washington Post reporting that the Haitian Red Cross estimates between 45,000 and 50,000 deaths.

7:12am PDT: CNN reports that, beginning today, paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne division will deploy from North Carolina to Haiti. 3,500 paratroopers are expected to deploy, with the first arriving in Haiti this evening.

7:04am PDT: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reported on MSNBC that today the US is sending 300 medical personnel to Haiti. 12,000 more medical workers are being placed on alert to possibly deploy to Haiti soon.

9:15pm PDT: Truthout is wrapping up its coverage for the evening of the earthquake in Haiti. We hope you found this live blog helpful and informative.

You can continue to follow our streaming twitter feed on the right hand side, which includes handpicked tweets from several residents of Haiti reporting what they are witnessing on the ground. Just move your mouse over the tweet to read it and keep it from scrolling.

If you're keeping up with late, breaking developments via your own twitter feed than here are a few people you should follow and hash tags to subcribe to. Their tweets are must reads.

@RAMhaiti

@fredodupoux

@troylivesay

@emilytroutman

@InternetHaiti

#haiti

#HaitiCNN

Additionally, CNN's coverage of the aftermath of the earthquake has been nothing short of spectacular. Be sure to check out their website regularly.

The UN's website has regular updates about international recovery efforts and breaking developments, including video reports. The UN was hit particularly hard in Tuesday's quake. Seventeen UN workers were reported killed, 56 are injured and about 150 are still unaccounted for.

UN Dispatch is another go to website for up to the minute news about the devastation.

Finally, the State Department has regular briefings throughout the day about US recovery efforts.

8:33 pm PDTEmily Troutman, the UN Citizen Ambassador who recently returned from a trip to Haiti, said via twitter that Haiti resident Pascal Lauture reported: "Many people trapped alive under debris, crying for help" at the Hotel Montana. For updates, please see the Hotel Montana's Facebook page, which has become a clearinghouse for people trying to locate friends and loved ones.

8:24 pm PDT: CNN has obtained exclusive video of the moments after quake hit in Haiti. Viewer discretion advised.

7:09: pm PDT: Spoke a little too soon. The White House press office just sent reporters a summary of conversations President Obama had today with numerous officials in the international community regarding the situation in Haiti.

Over the course of today, President Obama spoke with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, President Lula of Brazil, Prime Minister Harper of Canada, President Calderon of Mexico, President Bachelet of Chile, and the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, Ken Merten, about the on-going efforts to assist Haiti in the wake of yesterday’s earthquake.

The President expressed his deepest sympathies to Secretary General Ban and President Lula for the losses suffered by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Efforts to contact President Preval of Haiti have not proven successful, but Ambassador Merten relayed to the President a conversation he had with President Preval earlier in the day, in which the Ambassador conveyed the deep condolences and unwavering support of the American people.

In each of his conversations, the President underscored the United States’ commitment to act as rapidly as possible to support the rescue and recovery effort in Haiti. As a part of that effort, he underscored our commitment to participate in and support the immediate search and rescue efforts that are underway involving personnel from each of the countries, and many others represented within MINUSTAH. The President also made clear America’s commitment to the people of Haiti, both in the difficult days ahead, and over the long-term.

Presidents Lula, Calderon, and Bachelet and Prime Minister Harper described the significant contributions each of their countries is making to the search and rescue mission and to long-term international efforts to support Haiti’s recovery. The President and Secretary General Ban discussed the important role the United Nations has played and will continue to play in Haiti. The leaders affirmed their commitment to work closely together in this international effort.

Finally, the President commended Ambassador Merten for his leadership during this crisis and the valiant efforts of the staff of the United States Embassy in Port au Prince. They also discussed efforts underway to locate and confirm the status of U.S. citizens in Haiti and to ensure their safety and well-being.

7:04 pm PDT: We have to tend to other news, but we will return shortly to wrap up our live coverage for the day.

6:53 pm PDT: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking from US Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii, said earlier this evening that "we are facing a disaster of as yet unknown magnitude. And the problems that we’re going to confront over the next days in particular as we try to launch successful search-and-rescue missions, followed up by the immediate pressing need for food and water in particular, are just of unimaginable extent."

Clinton canceled her Asia trip Wednesday and will return to Washington Thursday to deal with the crisis.

She said in terms of global catastrophes, "this is going to be one of the highest in terms of loss of life in recent years, so far as we can tell. The estimates are very high.

"I don’t want to repeat them because we can’t verify them; we just know what we’re hearing anecdotally. But the Indian Ocean tsunami was such a terrible tragedy and with such high loss of life. This will be a very high loss of life as well."

6:46 pm PDT: The USS Vincent is expected to arrive in Haiti tomorrow and will be able to assist in providing the country with potable water, according to Ambassador Rajiv Shah, head of USAID.

6:24 pm PDT: According to the Vatican, the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Msgr. Joseph Serge Miot, was one of the victims who died in Tuesday's earthquake.

The Vatican, quoting the apostolic nuncio in Haiti, said Miot was in the archdiocesan office building when it collapsed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Miot, 63, "was appointed Archbishop of Port-au-Prince in 2008 after serving as deputy archbishop for a decade."

He was a member of the Saint Jacques order of missionary priests, founded in 1951 by the bishop of Gonaives, Haiti. The Archbishop was a philosophy professor at the Port-au-Prince seminary, and he founded an association to help the poor of Haiti.

6:19 pm PDT: Speaking to National Public Radio, Haitian Ambassador to the US Raymond Alcide Joseph appealed for hospital ships and said that he expects the US to lift visa restrictions on Haitians to allow some to travel to the US for medical care.

6:15 pm PDT: US special forces from Clearwater, Florida sent to Haiti to help with recovery have set up a control tower at the airport. Cellular service is beginning to return, which will go a long way in helping with the coordination of relief efforts, MSNBC reported

6:10 pm PDT: Citing the Red Cross, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported this evening that one-third of Haiti's 9 million citizens have died or are in desperate need of medical attention.

She added that 2,000 Marines are being deployed to Haiti to help with rescue and recovery efforts.

5:59 pm PDT: In less than 24 hours 1,000 registered nurses have volunteered to help with relief efforts in Haiti. Now the Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), which is sponsoring the effort, needs the public to help fund the nurses travel to Haiti and for medical supplies.

The organization is holding a conference call Thursday for the media and registered nurses. Here are the details:

Press and nurses are invited to a conference call Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time for an overview of the efforts and their logistics, including the details on the first teams of nurses traveling to the area. Press can call in for the briefing at (866) 320-4709 using the access code 143135, or gather with local nurses and representatives in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Miami.

"The need for help has never been so acute. We need financial support to transport them," said NNU Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro. "Nurses will be fundamental to the disaster relief process, to provide immediate healing and therapeutic support to the patients and families facing the devastation from this tragic earthquake."

For more information on how you can assist the nurses visit this link.

5:31 pm PDT: Haiti's president told CNN between 30,000 and 50,000 likely died in the earthquake. Earlier Wednesday, Haiti's Haiti's Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said he believes more than 100,00 were killed.

Preval told CNN that there are "lots of houses destroyed, hospitals, schools, personal homes -- a lot of people in the street, dead."

"You have to see it to believe it," he said.

5:19 pm PDT: MSNBC reported that air-traffic control in Haiti is non existent, a real danger considering airplanes are expected to arrive with food and medical supplies. 

The US military has set up a a make shift air-traffic control center to assist incoming aircraft land safely. Additionally, crowds are reportedly heading toward the airport where they believe they can obtain help.

Hospitals have been destroyed and people are being treated for their injuries in the street while dead bodies are scattered throughout the streets of Port-au-Prince covered in shrouds.

5:00 pm PDT: I just posted a video containing raw aerial footage captured by the Coast Guard of the devastation on the ground in Haiti. Check it out here.

4:16 pm PDT: Former President Bill Clinton, the UN special envoy to Haiti, spoke before the UN General Assembly now about the devastation in Haiti. 

"We've got to save lives," Clinton said. He also called on the public to support relief programs aimed at providing Haiti with immediate food, water, and medical supplies.

UN Dispatch reported

Clinton says he will personally delivery cash for said "water, food, shelter, and first aid supplies" that is donated through the Clinton Foundation. He also mentions the likelihood of a "flash appeal" which is a way that the UN raises money for disaster relief. Individuals can donate to this appeal through the Central Emergency Response Fund. (Which is supported by the UN Foundation.)

4:10 pm PDT: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York Wednesday that buildings and infrastructure in Port-au-Prince "suffered extensive damage, while basic services, including water and electricity are near the brink of collapse."

“There is no doubt that we are facing a major humanitarian emergency and that a major relief effort will be required,” he said, adding that $10 million in emergency funds will be set aside to help with relief efforts.

4:04 pm PDT: The Associated Press just reported that 17 UN workers have been killed and 150 are still unaccounted for, including the UN's mission chief.

Acccording to the AP:

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced late Wednesday that 11 Brazilian peacekeepers and five international police officers — three from Jordan and one each from Chad and Argentina — were killed in the quake. Earlier,U.N. peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said a Haitian civilian working for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country also died.

"The figure we are giving to you is only the confirmed fatalities," Le Roy said. "But of course, the number of (U.N.) fatalities at the end will be much higher — it's obvious."

3:58 pm PDT: The State Department has advised Americans in Haiti to seek shelter and stay there until an evacuation location is chosen.

3:42 pm PDT: Another aftershock with a magnitude of 5.1 has reportedly taken place between Port-au-Prince and Leogane at 5:21 pm EDT.

3:35 pm PDT: CNN has footage of bodies lying in the streets of Port-au-Prince. The cable network's Gary Tuchman reports that "no emergency officials in sight, and residents are watching the flies to find out where to dig in the rubble."

2:11 pm PDT: We're taking a break from live-blogging for a bit to cover some other developments. But be sure to check back within the hour for updates.

2:03: pm PDT: Felix Augustin, Haiti's general counsel to the UN, told CNN that the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, "is flattened."

CNN's Anderson Cooper, who is reporting live from Haiti, viewed Port-au-Prince from a helicopter and said the sight was "incredibly shocking" and "eerie."

1:48 pm PDT: At a State Department briefing earlier today, USAID Ambassador Raj Shah said the federal government has "two urban search-and-rescue units on their way, both are units with 72 individuals, people who have significant training and significant equipment and technical capacity to conduct search and rescue in urban settings, to drill through and clear as much as is possible rubble in order to try and identify individuals that can be saved and continue with the mission of saving lives."

"We’re working aggressively across the various agencies of the federal government, including FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, to identify additional units that will be able to deploy as rapidly as possible. And we’re working hand-in-hand with the Department of Defense and General Fraser to make sure that we have the transport and logistics to get these assets into the country and efficiently operating as quickly as possible."

Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said the US has about 172 embassy personnel in Haiti and as of 8 am EDT "just about all of them" were accounted for. Mills said there eight embassy personnel who were wounded and four who suffered serious injuries.

1:28 pm PDT: This is a video of a rescue attempt at a UN building in Haiti where a UN official said as many as 100 people are still trapped beneath the rubble.

 

1:19 pm PDT: In a statement the White House emailed this afternoon, President Barack Obama said:

The reports and images from Haiti of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes, and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching.

As we learn more about the extent of the devastation, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti and Haitian Americans around our country who do not yet know the fate of their families and loved ones back home.

I have directed my Administration to respond with a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives. The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States Government in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief -- the food, water and medicine -- that Haitians will need in the coming days.

This is also a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share, and Americans have always responded to these situations with generosity of spirit. If you would like to support the urgent humanitarian effort in Haiti, I encourage you to visit our website where you can learn more about how to contribute:

http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/HaitiEarthquake

Americans trying to locate family members in Haiti are encouraged to contact the State Department at (888) 407-4747.

12:41 pm PDT: On CNN moments ago, Haiti President Rene Preval said, "We don't have the capacity to bring the injured to hospital." The country's prime minister said earlier today he believes the death toll to be well over 100,000.

The Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), a program of National Nurses United (NNU), said more than 700 registered nurses from across the country have volunteered to provide help with relief efforts.

"The RNs are now issuing an urgent appeal for the public to support these efforts with donations of funds to support travel costs and medical supplies on their upcoming emergency nursing mission, according to a news release the group distributed.

Details are still being worked out, but those able to support the efforts of these nurses can get involved via:

www.NationalNursesUnited.com to sign up to volunteer or donate

@NationalNurses on twitter or by following #haitiRN

Calling 1-800-578-8225

12:20 pm PDT: Readers should also follow Emily Troutman, the United Nations Citizen Ambassador, whose tweets about the sitiuation on the ground are must reads. Troutman pointed Truthout to the Hotel Montana Facebook page that has become something of a clearinghouse for people trying to locate friends and loved ones who are missing.

12:01 pm PDT: The FBI issued this news release warning people who intend to donate money via the Internet to assist with relief efforts in Haiti to be aware of scams.

Before contributing funds, the FBI said "consumers should adhere to certain guidelines," such as:

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
  • Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group’s existence and its nonprofit status rather than following a purported link to the site.
  • Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  • Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

Anyone who has received an e-mail referencing the above information or anyone who may have been a victim of this or a similar incident should notify the IC3 via www.ic3.gov.

11:54 am PDT: The Pentagon just announced that it deployed a team of 30 people to Haiti to support relief efforts currently underway.

According to a news release issued by US Southern Command: 

The team, which includes U.S. military engineers, operational planners, and a command and control group and communication specialists, will arrive in Haiti today on two C-130 Hercules aircraft. The team will work with U.S. Embassy personnel as well as Haitian, United Nations and international officials to assess the situation and facilitate follow on U.S. military support.

Other immediate response activities include:

At first light today, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter evacuated four critically injured U.S. Embassy staff to the Naval Station Guantanamo, Cuba, hospital for further treatment.

Elements of the U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Wing are deploying today to the international airport at Port au Prince, Haiti, to provide air traffic control capability and airfield operations. They are expected to arrive in Haiti this afternoon.

A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion aircraft from the Forward Operating Location at Comalapa, El Salvador, took off early this morning to conduct an aerial reconnaissance of the area affected by the earthquake.

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, is underway and expected to arrive off the coast of Haiti Thursday. Additional U.S. Navy ships are underway to Haiti.

11:24 am PDT: If you're following the devastation in Haiti via Twitter be sure to follow @RAMhaiti who has been providing must read updates from the ground.

11:06 am PDT: UN forces are scrambling to protect weapons from looters ransacking stores in Port-au-Prince and Petionville, according to reports coming out via Twitter.

10:39 am PDT: The UN mission chief in Haiti is likely among those killed, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said, according to Voice of America

10:13 am PDT: CNN is reporting that at least 15 United Nations peacekeepers died.

9:55 am PDT: The American Red Cross released this photo essay of the devastation in Haiti, which contains powerful images of the destruction from Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake and the two-dozen aftershocks.

9:52 am PDT: In a statement, the Red Cross said the scene in Haiti is like the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks with bodies buried under rubble.

9:40 am PDT: UN Dispatch reported earlier this morning "all of the hospitals to which it would normally refer patients have either collapsed or are otherwise unusable."

9:30 am PDT: Haiti's Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN that he believes more than 100,000 people have died in a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti Tuesday.

"I hope that is not true, because I hope the people had the time to get out. Because we have so much people on the streets right now, we don't know exactly where they were living.

"But so many, so many buildings, so many neighborhoods totally destroyed, and some neighborhoods we don't even see people, so I don't know where those people are," Bellerive said.

Meanwhile, MSNBC, citing the United Nations, reported that the main prison in Haiti has been destroyed and prisoners are now on the run.

Last modified on Thursday, 14 January 2010 21:46