Situation in Haiti

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 13, 2010

Special Briefing | White House | More Information

President Obama has been receiving updates on the urgent situation in Haiti late into last night and throughout the day, and top members of his team have been convening to formulate the government response.

Secretary Clinton said: "[W]e are working as actively as we possibly can under extremely challenging circumstances. But the United States is fully committed. Our military is fully committed. Our search-and-rescue teams are on the way or are about to be on the way. And we’re going to do everything we can to try to save as many lives and to help bring about an orderly environment in which aid and reconstruction can take place."

Read the Secretary's full remarks here.

Today, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, State Department Counselor Cheryl Mills, USAID Administrator Raj Shah and U.S. SOUTHCOM Commander General Douglas Fraser held a special briefing on the situation in Haiti. Ms. Mills said:

"Let me just first start out by saying, and echoing the sentiments of the President, that our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people and the vast international community that is present in Haiti as we are going through what is going to undoubtedly be a very challenging and difficult time. And we are looking forward to being able to provide all the support that we can bring to bear to try and ameliorate the impact of this terrible situation.

"As you all know, shortly before 5 o’clock yesterday, an earthquake struck outside of Port-au-Prince and outside of the island of Haiti, and then there were multiple aftershocks that had an impact on the island as well. According to our initial overflights that have gone on this morning, it appears that most of the damage has been within Port-au-Prince, and that the outlying areas have sustained less damage or very limited damage.

"The situation on the ground is very fluid. We have very limited telecommunications, and certainly within the Haitian community there’s limited telecommunications. We have been fortunate, our U.S. ambassador has been able to reach President Preval, who is safe and who is grateful to the outpouring of assistance that he has been receiving from the international community."

The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince has activated its early warning system to connect with approximately 45,000 U.S. citizens who are in Haiti. Americans in Haiti can call the Embassy’s Consular Task Force at 509-2229-8942, 509-2229-8089, 509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672. Americans are urged to contact the Embassy via email at ACSPaP@state.gov to request assistance.

People in the U.S. or Canada with information or inquiries about U.S. citizens in Haiti may reach the Haiti Task Force at 888-407-4747. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, call 202-501-4444. You may email inquiries to: Haiti-Earthquake@state.gov.

How To Help:Center for International Disaster Information | Clinton Bush Haiti Fund | InterAction | Mercy Corps | Red Cross | Text DonationMore about the crisis:state.gov/haitiquake

Comments

Comments

Brian
|
New Jersey, USA
January 13, 2010

Brian in New Jersey writes:

Knowing Haiti has no comprehensive Emergency Response network,what other assesets aside of search and rescue are being sent? The Guard and Reserve have many capable teams of firefighters, of whom would all be assets of great help in this time of need.
I ask this out of curiosity, and hearing no mention if this was considered in any response plan. Thank you for your time and consideration......... and please keep up the good work!

Joseph A.
|
Oregon, USA
January 13, 2010

Joseph A. in Oregon writes:

@ Counselor Cheryl Mills:

Thanks for your informative briefing today. I would like to see the U.S. government coordinate its relief efforts with the U.N., EU and the international community and start sending a considerable relief, aid, humanitarian assistance and begin a comprehensive assistance effort.
A caller today from a school outside of the Port-au-Prince area, she gave a live account from a outlining area and suggested to BBC World Have Your Say, that they really need care packages, which include the basic essentials; drinkable water, blankets, even first-aid kits. Having people throughout America and beyond putting together care packages is a formidable idea, but they need immediate humanitarian assistance and relief supplies and the care packages should be coordinated with the U.S. Department of State and the U.N. for getting them out to the Haitians.

I don't think most people understand the magnitude of this disaster until we start getting and viewing media coverage in U.S. main-stream media from the ground from Port-au-Prince and the affected area, the impact will be somewhat vague and sorrel. The type of media coverage that I have listened to this morning from South Florida, where BBC World News had a live caller from Haiti, she was speaking from a children's school, miles away from the epicenter and gave us a very dramatic account and brief description of the devastation being witnessed.

Letitia
|
Maryland, USA
January 14, 2010

Letitia in Maryland writes:

We are a group of 9 doctors (mostly pediatricians) from Johns Hopkins Hospital who were scheduled to travel from Baltimore to Port Au Prince for routine medical missions trip from 1/13 to 1/25. Our flight was obviously canceled and many of our pre-arranged contacts can not be found. We have already packed medical supplies and would like to seek your assistance in helping to get us from the US to Port Au Prince to help provide medical relief. If you can help to provide any of the following: transportation, lodging/shelter, safety, and logistics support on the ground, we are willing and committed to helping over the next two weeks. Our group is headed by Sister Karen S. If you are willing to help please contact:

Thanks so much for your assistance.

TweetDeckTV
|
Oregon, USA
January 14, 2010

TweetDeckTV in Oregon writes:

We MUST deploy hospital ship USNS COMFORT and ships to transport Doctors Without Borders and other nonprofit orgs ready to go with personnel and supplies to Haiti and the Dominican Republic now in order to avoid a catastrophic outbreak of typhoid and other epidemic outbreaks that will spread to the entire region and beyond.

palgye
|
South Korea
January 14, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

protection from ..

Thinks that must investigate a martial law or the Garrison Act. Economy, socially oneself the rehabilitation thinks in short duration that is impossible.

Is sorry only, the earthquake to occur, calmly, analyzes and reduces a damage and thinks that must present a reconstruction method. That is sad like, when cries and the rehabilitation thinks that is impossible.
Thinks one proposing the new joint fateful body under the conditions which assists method.

Is a promise about result and the future when the visit is good, is always intending.

palgye
|
South Korea
January 14, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Dear to...

When the letter becomes larger more a little, there is an inconvenience. Then, the time to be short is the same qualitative thing in main point grasp.

Thank you.

Normits
|
California, USA
January 14, 2010

Normits in California writes:

Secretary Clinton, thank you for your compassion to the people of Haiti. This catastrophe touches every heart and soul of people around the world. Our courage and compassion as human beings are tested and we are fortunate to have your leadership.

My husband and I have donated through the Clinton Foundation today. My homeland suffered from disastrous typhoons a few months ago; I fully understand the need to help in every way that we can. We live in a small world and reaching out uplifts our spirit and those of our fellow human beings in Haiti.

God bless the people of Haiti and those who are on the ground to help them.

Ben P.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 15, 2010

Ben P. in Washington writes:

Dear Secretary Clinton,
Our hearts are in Haiti. We must help the Haitian people in their time of need, but we must be more than foul-weather friends. We must stand by them for the long haul.
These people are our neighbors. Yet they live in dire poverty. This must change. It is in our best interest that we secure the long-term health and stability of Haiti. The Haitian people need urgent help: clean water, food and medicine. But we must do more than slap a bandage on this gaping wound. Haiti has been bleeding out for generations. Now is the time to face reality and cure the disease at the root of this crisis.
We must lead the world community in building, from the ground up, a system of community based schools and clinics to heal the sick and educate the young. Non-profits with strong bonds to Haitian communities are our best bet. Partners in Health (pih.org) has been active in Haiti for a quarter century. They run nine clinics across the island. We must both support their efforts and follow their lead.
Healthy, educated people have drive and purpose. They create jobs. They recognize their reliance on the planet, and work to nurture the land’s abundance. They dream about how they want to live, and make their dreams a reality by engaging the political process.
The Haitian people are aching for more from life. We, the wealthy people of the world, must give them an honest chance at realizing their dreams.

Lilyan F.
|
Nebraska, USA
January 14, 2010

Lilyan F. in Nebraska writes:

We are so close to Haiti and have all the intention to help, but it has been more than 24 hs and reports indicate that no help is there to be seen. Rescue efforts are urgent. What is going on with our resources for rescue and aid? Why is it taking so long?

palgye
|
South Korea
January 14, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

When reads and the thing which will laugh the thought does. But, the sprout to send the mail of research report format about once specific subject isn't? About south United States of America which receives in 2009 years the special issue(?) was very interesting. - Stored, loses and throws away and again cannot seek from is inconvenient is a thought.
Knows about business of the Department of State to not to be and that special issue remains long in memory. Public information is even in the different people, is convenient….

P.S
With Iran Republic of Iraq thinks between the original was not good. Also the factional fight of religion to be serious….

Diane
|
Minnesota, USA
January 14, 2010

Diane in Minnesota writes:

One way to help relieve basic needs,would be to enlist cruise companies to bring in their ships to provide shelter and food. It is a time to give back to the people of the Caribbean who have provided beautiful settings for luxury cruise destinations.

allan
|
China
January 14, 2010

Allan in China writes:

As you all know, shortly before 5 o’clock yesterday, an earthquake struck outside of Port-au-Prince and outside of the island of Haiti, and then there were multiple aftershocks that had an impact on the island as well. According to our initial overflights that have gone on this morning, it appears that most of the damage has been within Port-au-Prince, and that the outlying areas have sustained less damage or very limited damage.
it is so sockful to know this message.let's do something what we can do.

Sandra T.
|
Massachusetts, USA
January 14, 2010

Sandra T. in Massachusetts writes:

Consider providing temporary refugee status for vulnerable Haitians in the US.
It might be more cost effective to evacuate the vulnerable populations, those 94 year-old grandmothers who have relatives here in the US, children who are injured or whose parents have been injured. Leave the able bodied in Haiti to rebuild.

Many Haitians have relatives in the US. It is a short trip by plane to critical services, and cheaper than sending hospital boats. The children need clean water, stability to recover. Otherwise Haiti could become a permanent blue tent refugee camp where children live their much of their lives. The cost of this kind of massive recovery operation is huge. It could save money to bring them the short distance to US where it is more cost effective to provide the health care and recovery this part of the population needs.

I am thinking of what happened to those elderly people post Katrina stuck in nursing homes with the water rising. I think of the 94 year-old grandmothers in Haiti right now the same way.

palgye
|
South Korea
January 14, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

THANK YOU.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
January 14, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

The Cubans are renowned (yes, renowned) for their ability and willingness to get hundreds of well-trained doctors experienced in these sort of conditions to where they are needed.

We need to assist, coordinate and cooperate with the Cubans as equal partners in this humanitarian effort. The result would be good for Haiti and good for Caribbean relations overall.

Joseph A.
|
Oregon, USA
January 14, 2010

Joseph A. in Oregon writes:

USAID Administrator, Dr. Raj Shah;

I am delighted to hear of the humanitarian assistance and commitment that President Obama and the U.S. Department of State have pledged and initiated as various agencies assemble and coordinate the complex relief/logistical effort with reaching the countless Haitians who are in desperate need.

I listened to BBC's World Have Your Say (PBS Radio) this morning, broadcasting from South Florida and they, again had a couple of Haitian callers on the line from Port-au-Prince, expressing to the university students present in the audience (many had family members in Haiti and their status remained unknown), the caller from Port-au-Prince acknowledged that supplies and rescue teams were arriving throughout the night at the Airport. But, there are many challenges and setbacks with getting the emergency teams, medical personnel and basic supplies to the urban areas of Port-au-Prince. Monumental challenges in orchestrating a massive effort with reaching the people who are either still alive and buried under rubble, or who are in desperate need of medical attention. It was reported that there is very little room for inbound flights at Port-au-Prince airport, that they've already reached their capacity for aircraft?

My suggestion would be to consider utilizing an alternative airport and staging area (while the damage at Port-au-Prince airport is being assessed and repaired, including replacing the air-traffic control tower), the U.S., U.N. and EU should consider planning to utilize perhaps, the Dominican Republic as a alternative air-landing sight to rush in personnel and urgent medical supplies, from the Dominican Republic, rescue teams and supplies may be sent in via helicopters or ground transported to Port-au-Prince.

I would also suggest, that the U.S. and UN consider coordinating with the Cuban government for providing the urgently needed medical staffing and supplies. The Cubans, besides having a long term presence in Angola, have a lot of experience in Haiti, they are very well equipped, they are able to get to the troubled areas quickly and are familiar with the local geographical area. From what I gathered this morning, there are already a number of Cuban physicians in the Port-au-Prince area, they are well equipped but their status since the earthquake was not known or clarified.
I am absolutely delighted to hear the appointment of President Bill Clinton as the U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti, I am extremely proud of the concerted effort announced by the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of State, launching truly a very intensive relief effort in such a large scale, this is a colossal disaster, it is truly a race against the clock to reach those who are buried and still alive and with rendering immediate medical aid.
Please let me know if U.S. Special Envoy President Bill Clinton, may be interested in having my expertise and/or assistance with this "monumental" humanitarian and relief effort, I have excellent credentials, over twenty years of military and federal experience and I would be willing to devote my time with coordinating the relief efforts.

Derrick S.
|
Minnesota, USA
January 14, 2010

Derrick S. in Minnesota writes:

Has a Husband, Father and Veteran I pray for the people in Haiti, a place which at best was hurting before the quake and now even more!

I wish I could go with my fellow Vet's and Soliders to give a hand!

LINDA E.
|
Florida, USA
January 17, 2010

Linda E. in Florida writes:

PLEASE CONTACT ME IF I CAN BE OF ASSISTANCE I AM A R.N WITH 20 YEARS OF PEDI NURSING EXPERIENCE PLEASE CONTACT ME

JOHN C.
|
Ohio, USA
January 19, 2010

John C. in Ohio writes:

I FIRMLY BELIEVE IN HUMANTARIAN AID FOR THE PEOPLE OF HAITI.

BY THIS I MEAN FOOD, WATER, MEDICAL SUPPLIES, PERIOD.

NO FUNDS FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF THE COUNTRY.

WE ALL KNOW THERE IS A CORRRUPT GOVT. IN HAITI AND MANY MANY OF ITS CITIZENS ARE CRIMINALS, AND WORSE.

OUR OWN COUNTRY IS IN SERIOUS TROUBLEAND OUR MILITARY IS PAYING A TERRIBLE PRICE IN DEATHS, LIFE LONG INJURIES AND LOSS OF LIMBS AND MENTAL PROBLEMS.

IT IS TIME FOR THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT REGARDLESS OF PARTY PREFERENCE TO TAKE CARE OF ITS OWN.

I'M SICK AND TIRED OF THE WAY OUR GOVERNMENT AND THE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX IS RELATING TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND ILLEGALS FOR THE SAKE OF GREED AND PROFIT.

I'M TOO OLD TO ENGAGE IN VIOLENCE BUT IF THINGS DON'T IMPROVE I HOPE THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF AMERICA TAKE BACK THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE BY WHATEVER MEANS THEY CAN.

IF THEY ARE PUSHED TOO FAR NO GOVERNMENT ON EARTH CAN STOP THLEM.

.

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