First Wave of Rescue and Relief Workers on the Ground in Haiti

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 14, 2010
Search and Rescue Team Arrives Airport in Port-au-Prince

Interviews:ABC | CBS | CNN | FOX | MSNBC | NBC

Earlier today, President Obama provided an update on relief efforts in Haiti, promising the people of Haiti that "you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten."

During a CBS interview this morning, Secretary Clinton said, "The President ordered a swift, coordinated, aggressive response, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. But let me just give you a sense of what we’re up against. The airport lost its air traffic control system, and of course it was damaged. In order to get the airport up and going so we can land the kind of heavy planes with the massive amounts of aid that is needed, we had to send in a military team to get the airport running. That has been accomplished.

"You heard about how the port has been damaged. That is a big problem because that prevents us from getting our ships in. We have a team working on that. We also have our crack search-and-rescue teams from FEMA and USAID, from Fairfax County, from Miami-Dade, from L.A. They’re already there on the ground. The Fairfax County team has been working. We’ve got the 82nd Airborne coming in. The Coast Guard has been magnificent.

"The depth of it and the extent of it is just unimaginable, as Katie and others are telling you. And depending upon where you are, you may or may not see the results of this coordinated effort. But we’re working closely with the Haitian Government. The president was safe, but many parts of his government are unaccounted for. They have no communications system. We’re bringing the communications system so they can start to talk to one another. We’re working with the United Nations, which was responsible for coordinating aid, which as you know has been devastated with an enormous loss of life.

"So I think the American people can be assured that we’re doing everything we can to help the people of Haiti. And it’s not just for the days ahead with the terrible crisis of search and rescue. It’ll be for months and years ahead as we help them rebuild."

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.

The emergency hotline for family members of United Nations staff in Haiti is 212-963-4139.

Anyone wishing to donate or provide assistance in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that struck near Port au Prince on Jan 12, 2010, is asked to contact the Center for International Disaster Information.

For those interested in helping immediately, simply text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

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

jairo m.
|
Florida, USA
January 14, 2010

Jairo M. in Florida writes:

I am a pilot flying a private aircraft. I would like to know If I can fly to Port au Prince to bring humanitarian aid which I am planning to collect from friends and other people in Miami. Please let me know. Thanks.

Patrick
|
Maryland, USA
January 14, 2010

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hi,Everybody at the Department of States. :)

Thanks , for keeping us informed on the
situation in Haiti.

I wish everyone the best in their efforts
to help the people in Haiti. I hope your
rescue missions are successful, and your
able to save as many people as possible.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Rescue
Teams ,and the People of Haiti.

See Ya ....Good luck on your Mission.

Moshe
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 14, 2010

Moshe in Washington, DC writes:

This is absolutely devastating. Haiti is in fact the least developed country in this side of the world. The lack of infrastructure and economic and political instability only exacerbates the situation. I am very proud to know that the Coast Guard and other branches of our Armed forces are aiding Haiti in the immediate timeframe to handle such a tragic event. Many people do not realize the capability our military has to stabilize areas from a governance standpoint. As was mentioned in the article, we have the ability to fly in air traffic control systems (complete with radars), medical hospitals, housing, and other elements necessary to establish basic governance and stability in times of dire need. The unquestioning and immediate response by the US and other international countries is a testament to the values that make-up our collective consciousness in this day and time. My thoughts are with all those struggling because of this tragic event.

Joseph A.
|
Oregon, USA
January 14, 2010

Joseph A. in Oregon writes:

Madam Secretary,

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.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
January 14, 2010

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Incredible how United States is always first in human aid.

Even as this is posted, thousands of relief benefits are being developed from missionary to the entertainment field…even here in the Nashville area……all over the US. America cares.

In the wake of what is going on negative, perhaps somehow this will pull the people together to develop a country which should be secure enough to have a tourist business established and other small beneficial self supporting business.

Chris H.
|
Austria
January 14, 2010

Chris H. in Austria writes:

I hearty thank Ms. Clinton and the Secretary of State staff for their great engagement to help the people of Haiti. This will definitely not be forgotten, this live example you give to the world is important and lasting. This is how ruling and leading the world the right way has to be done.
Greetings,
Chris H.

Femi F.
|
Florida, USA
January 14, 2010

Femi F. in Florida writes:

Both of my cousins who are Nigerian working in Haiti for the United Nations are missing. Can someone contact me with any information as to condition and whereabouts regarding my two female cousins Dede Y. and Kokwe Y. by calling me . If there is a number that we can call for information please send me an e-mail or call me. Please!!!

If H.
|
Haiti
January 15, 2010

If you are in Haiti writes:

2 WOMEN ARE STUCK UNDER THEIR COLLAPSED HOUSES. They were able to phone relatives in the US to give this information. PLEASE SEND RESCUE WORKERS TO GET THEM OUT FROM UNDER THE RUBBLE!!!

ELLES SONT EN DESSOUS DE MAISONS TOMBEES MAINTENANT!!! ENVOYEZ L'AIDE MAINTENANT!!!!!!!

KATIA J. There is a big red gate which may still be visible before the collapsed house. The house is at the end of the yard, she is stuck in the front right side of the house.

ADELINE P.

Luke F.
January 14, 2010

DipNote Bloggers write:

@ Femi F. in Florida --

The emergency hotline for family members of United Nations staff in Haiti is 212-963-4139.

Kerri F.
|
Ohio, USA
January 14, 2010

Kerri F. in Ohio writes:

use helicopters off an aircraft carrier?

Barbara T.
|
Ohio, USA
January 14, 2010

Barbara T. in Ohio writes:

Why is there not a link set up for nurses or doctors willing to go to Haiti and help? It takes forever to go through all of this to try and find out how to volunteer your services and I still do not have an answer....

Joseph A.
|
Oregon, USA
January 15, 2010

Joseph A. in Oregon writes:

For Femi F. in Florida,

An additional source to consider, if you are not able to reach anyone through the U.N. emergency staff family member number provided by the U.S. Department of State, I'm sure they must be overwhelmed right now with calls and from people searching for family members and friends, I do have an alternative suggestion.

In your efforts to reach or contact your two Nigerian cousins, who are working with the U.N. in Haiti, I would also suggest contacting the BBC World Have Your Say (WHYS) or the BBC World News. They have been broadcasting on the radio, daily live from South Florida, they have a correspondent on the ground in Port-au-Prince and they have already offered to assist, several university students in South Florida, with attempting to contact or in reaching word from their family members in Haiti. Besides their one hour broadcast in the U.S., they also broadcast live from West Africa, presenting additional programing addressing topics related to the international community. They have the sources that are capable of reaching U.N. staff members in Port-au-Prince who may be missing and/or who have not been accounted for. The contact numbers and e-mail are in London, but their team is in South Florida and in Port-Au-Prince.

They will be broadcasting live on NPR/PBS radio at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, from the Haitian district of Miami, Florida.

Please be advised, due to the time difference they will be available in the office, in London after 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

I wish you the best of luck in locating your cousins, many blessings.

S
|
United States
January 15, 2010

S in U.S.A. writes:

@Barbara T... try this: imcworldwide.org

Fred
|
New York, USA
January 15, 2010

Fred in New York writes:

I am interested in volunteering assistance in Haiti.I am with a Fire Department in upstate NewYork and have been doing fire and rescue for 30 years.I am a memeber of the Swift Water Rescue Team,past Emergency Medical Technician,Certified First Responder,and I have NIMS ICS 800.I have not seen anything about the need for Volunteers, all I see is groups asking for money, which is much needed, but when there is so many EMT's And CFR's and Rescue personel available at a moments notice.I do understand the logistics of such a large operation.

robert w.
|
Michigan, USA
January 15, 2010

Robert W. in Michigan writes:

It appears that we are doing better with Haiti than other past diasters. We are getting better. Hopefully, like Fred from New York, those of us that are hooked to fema and red cross with past experience can have an opportunity to volunteer our time/help.

THOMAS O.
|
Florida, USA
January 19, 2010

Thomas O. in Florida writes:

I'M A GENERATOR SPECIALIST, CERTIFIED IN REFRIGERATION , AIR CONDITIONING, AND ELECTRICAL . I WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO HELP!

Maura R.
|
New York, USA
January 17, 2010

Maura R. in New York writes:

Response to Haiti too slow. Airlift of parachuted drops of food and water necessary within 24 hours. Dominican Republic shown keeping Haitians out with high fences. Should be required to open border and allow planes with doctors to land. France planes with Doctors reportedly turned back from Haiti!

US is appearing bureaucratic while dying people cry.

Do Better and faster, Get better help.

.

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