Haiti Burning Tires to Light the Night

:::This post will be continuously updated throughout the day, (Instapundit-style, bottom to top), so please check back!:::

More rolling updates on Haiti here and here

They are still having tremors: From reader DeLynn’s missionary friend’s facebook:

3:24 PM It’s a nightmare here. They are starting to dig mass graves for the many unclaimed bodies. Some areas,the smell is unbearable. We still are having tremors. Just now in fact.
I feel that these little snippets I’m writing don’t begin to convey the suffering here. Everybody is living in the street, including us . . . BIG tremor just sped up my heartbeat . . . We are getting a radio station from PAP and they are instructing folks on how to deal with all the dead bodies. One of the things that really tears me up, and I may not even be able to write this…the kids we saw on our way out to the school. They still came running out to us and calling our names with great joy as they always do. But, many of them had piles of rubble behind them. Rubble that 2 days ago was where they called ho…me. How can they even think about smiling at a time like this? . . .6:48 PM The tremors continue. Thank you again for so much concern and so many prayers. This truly overwhelming and we want to be helping others through this time even as we struggle to find our own way. The Lord is our Hope. Our strength. Our strong tower.

I think that will do it for this post. - 8:26 PM

Talking about the leadership vacuum in Haiti and the idea of Rudy Giuliani in that role (see 6:35 PM), a friend emailed, “I seriously doubt Obama would send a Republican and potential future opponent to Haiti. ”

And this is why America is in so much trouble. Everyone is so polarized by ideology, and by the need for non-stop political strategizing that nothing can move; nothing can happen upfront; everything is a backroom deal. Giuliani is NEVER going to be anyone’s political opponent again. His half-hearted campaign in ’07 and his refusal to run for the governor’s job in NY have amply demonstrated that he does not have the stomach for politicking anymore. But Rudy knows how to lead; he knows how to manage, and he has good international relationship, plus security and infrastructure contacts. He is a very logical choice. Your thoughts? - 7:00 PM

Allahpundit: “The difference between this and an atomic bomb being dropped is the absence of radiation”. Read his posts and watch the videos if you can. That child’s voice crying out in pain and terror is awfully tough to hear. I’m going to try to watch it to the end, though, for the good outcome. – 6:40 PM

Who is running Haiti? No one:

Haitians are doing their best to survive chaotic conditions in the absence of any clear leadership, said Latin America expert Dan Erikson of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue think tank.

“The sad truth is that no one is in charge of Haiti today. This vacuum, coupled with the robust response from the Obama administration, has inevitably created a situation where the U.S. will be the de facto decision-maker in Haiti.”

I asked earlier (3:33 PM) what people thought about this issue of reconstruction. This is both a crisis and an opportunity. The entrenched corruption is gone. Something needs to quickly take its place. Personally, if I were President Obama, I would send Rudy Giuliani (who knows about both disaster management and team building, and has tons of contacts in many fields) to work with President Rene Preval, and what infrastructure remains, in establishing some sort of pro-tempore authority in order to prevent the power-struggles that will very quickly try to fill this leadership vacuum. Obama is going to have to send someone able and credible over there, and he’s going to have to do it soon. Rudy may be that guy. I wonder, though, if American ideologues are so caught up in partisanship that any effort would get bogged down in discussions of political parity? – 6:35 PM

Mobilizing takes time 6:20 PM

Blood in the gutters6:15 PM

“Earthquake Day” – a first-hand account of what people in Haiti experienced:

When the tremors ceased, a large dust cloud was rising from the building a few doors down. A 3 story school full of teenage girls had collapsed. I stood around looking stupid for longer than I’d like to admit. I looked at the truck from Toyota, tried to call my wife (the service was out) and looked around me at people’s reactions. Virtually everyone reacted in strange ways. Eventually, I went to the school and started working to pull trapped students from the wreckage.

The work was very hard because I was working by myself . . . One guy stayed and helped, on and off. I got one girl out, who was very frantic. I told her to stop shouting and pray for help. She was about 10 feet deep under the collapsed cement roof of the building. At one point I went and borrowed a hammer from someone to break up the large piece of cement that she was trapped behind. The aftershocks scared the crap out of me, and I really didn’t like being under that cement slab. There was an obviously dead woman under the slab with us.

When the girl was out, I took my hammer and moved over to find the next trapped girl. All I could see was her face and left arm, and she frantically called out to me. I asked her to calm down because it would help me to work and asked her to pray for both of us. She calmed down and became very brave. I was having trouble seeing her where she was jammed under the slab. I pulled out a very large piece of rubble that didn’t really help Jacqueline at all (her name was Jacqueline). There was some sort of object behind that rubble and when I went to move it it turned out to be another girl’s bottom. The girl cried out but I could barely hear her – her whole head was underneath rubble.

At this point I began to realize that I was in over my head. All I had was a hammer . . .

He could not rescue Jacqueline. You’ll want to read the whole thing. – 6:00 PM

“Your help is urgently needed”5:57 PM

“Too much suffering” - 5:12 PM

Archbishop Timothy Dolan: Gripping and moving, speaking off the top of his head: “Haiti is the broken, bloody body of Jesus, in the arms of his blessed mother, crying out to the world, now, for aid and assistance . . .”

I wish I had a transcript. Pat Robertson’s foolishness gets the publicity. This is inspiring. H/T: Deacon Greg, who says this is Dolan, “uncut and unscripted.”

Catholic Relief Services website and coverage is here

Also the Papal Nuncio gives gives a dramatic report from Haiti (via New Advent

Our Sunday Visitor has extensive list of Disaster Relief outlets 4:56 PM

Haitian Ambassador: lets Pat Robertson have it. - 4:48 PM

Medical Workers are overwhelmed:

Haitian Red Cross spokesman Pericles Jean-Baptiste told Reuters that “There are too many people who need help,” and former president Bill Clinton said that some places don’t even have aspirin.

A doctor with the aid organization Partners in Health tweeted that it had been “getting overwhelmed in terms of wounded coming from [Port-au-Prince]. Will need orthopedic support as well.”

Also, President Obama, taking a cue from Bush’s making effective use of his his father and President Clinton after the 2004 Tsunami, is combining former presidents again to help with relief efforts. What do you know, Obama sort of acknowledges that Bush did something right during his tenure as President. – 4:44 PM

A report from the Episcopalians4:39 PM

From commenter Dry Valleys:

It seems to me that after the urgent humanitarian crisis is over they do need to sort out their infrastructure. If the buildings weren’t so badly built, if the people were more prosperous, they might not have sunk so rapidly. Any reconstruction needs to bear that in mind. But now this minute it is food & medicine.

He is echoing points made yesterday by Doc Zero and in 2003 by Thomas Sowell, and also touching on the conversation below, between me and Elder Son (see 3:33 PM). Seems to me that if folks on the left and right can easily identify fundamental flaws and necessities, they should be able to come together to forge something lasting, here, even with disagreements on some issues. -4:01 PM

Frugal Cafe: Looking at the fears and pain in Little Haiti - 3:41 PM

Pat Robertson and Haiti: I have my own thoughts and links to others, and the comments section is very good. – 3:40 PM

Haiti’s Tragedy is an Opportunity: Something my Elder Son and I were discussing. Haiti is so devastated that it will need enormous help for years to come, and possibly something like a Marshall Plan. But this gives us a tremendous opportunity to help form a society from the ground up; entrenched corruption, entrenched institutions have been crippled, there is an opportunity for light, and ideals. In truth, this is a perfect opportunity for philanthropists, government and industry to work together to help Haiti develop infrastructure and industry which can help them to work and grow – build schools, hospitals, art venues, etc. The fear, of course, is that those government and industrial entities best equipped to help Haiti in that way will come burdened down with their own entrenched weaknesses and, yes, corruptions. My son suggests that Haiti needs the helping hand to build infrastructure, but the industry has to come organically, from within, and not at the behest of conglomerates and “big” anything. Your thoughts? – 3:33 PM

Why Is Haiti So Poor? - 3:27 PM

Webster Bull: defends Catholic response to Haiti. - 3:25 PM

LiveSayHaiti: A blog by a missionary family in Haiti, via Fr. Dwight Longenecker (Thanks, Grace!) – 3:23 PM

Links from Glenn Reynolds and The Corner, thanks guys! – 3:20 PM

Blackfive has word from on the ground in Haiti:

A colleague of mine lost her husband and 2 of 3 young daughters. She had to leave 2 daughters in the rubble to save the life of the third child, a toddler. She didn’t want to leave her daughters and Husband in the rubble, but she had to in order that her third child might have a chance at life. How do you maintain sanity after a “gut-wrenching” decision like that.

Horrific. I read a comment in another forum, where someone was complaining that the Haitian people are “walking around the streets instead of digging people out.” Please. These people have had their entire world come crashing down on them. You expect them not to be dazed and in shock?
– 2:18 PM

Times: It’s worse than we realize -1:32 PM

Fasting for Haiti12:50 PM

Steve Brusk at CNN tweets:

State Department, Pentagon both strike back at some claims response has been slow. Pentagon says military “forward leaning” in moving assets

In fairness, in a catastrophe such as this, people want responses “yesterday if not sooner.” We forget that it takes a little bit of time to put things in place when a disaster has struck. I know the “narrative” is that Bush sat around doing nothing after Katrina, and that narrative will live on, because it was so effective in destroying Bush, but if we take a look back, we can see what efforts were in place, 100 hours after stormfall. It’s much more than anyone remembers. – 12:48 PM

Very grim updates from Haiti:

In Jacmel, Haiti, as light rain fell with the darkness Wednesday, Gwenn Goodale Mangine and a group of 35 people prepared to spend their second night sleeping outside on mattresses and cardboard boxes in her driveway. Everyone is scared to be indoors. It is cold and damp.

The people of Jacmel line the streets, setting tires on fire to light up a town that has been reduced to rubble in many parts and is without power, she said. The flames are all that illuminate what remains of this town on the southern coast of Haiti, about 25 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

“No one is wanting to go back into their homes, so they were all on the street. It’s still like that,” Mangine, 32, told CNN, speaking using a fleeting Internet connection. “Hundreds of people are all hunkered down for the night passing time and burning tires to light up the night.”

In one incident, a staff member’s daughter was nowhere to be found after her home collapsed. They feared the worst, but eventually were elated to find out she was OK.

Mangine also helped a 24-year-old man named Hughes find his mother. Mangine and Hughes drove towards Hughes’ mother’s house. From the truck, he spotted her in the distance.

“He jumps out of the car as I am still driving and he yells, ‘Manman, Manman!’ [Mommy, mommy],” Mangine said. “He runs and hugs her and starts sobbing. His mother, Rosemary, is clinging to him, and sobbing too.”

They embraced tightly for more than five minutes, Mangine said. “Man, it tore my heart out,” she said.
– 12:00 PM

On Twitter:

I’m hearing planes and or helicopters..yesterday there were none to speak of.it changes the atmosphere.I hope there is help on the ground

Very likely it’s media and assessment.
- 11:58 PM

Missing Persons Registry Here

President Obama has asked President George W. Bush to help with relief efforts

Praying: Prayer has real power, of course. The Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word will be praying the Rosary for Haiti at 3:30 PM Eastern. You can livestream it here

Dominican Republic: why they were spared

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://www.reflectionsbykris.squarespace.com Kris, in New England

    As we ready ourselves to help in any way we can, if that way is financial donations, please check with your employer to see if they match charitable donations. Some employers will even increase their match during this kind of crisis. Imagine that even 25% of the donations made were doubled by the employers…

    Right now 6 US Navy ships are steaming their way to Haiti, with 2 more from the Canadian Navy on the move as well. The USS Comfort has 12 operating rooms and 1,000 bed availability. 2,000 Marines are on their way. One of the ships will providing staging and logistics for helos.

    I am never prouder of this country than when our citizens work together in whatever way they can to help those whose needs exceed our worst nightmares.

  • Pingback: » Links to Visit – 01/14/10 NoisyRoom.net: Where liberty dwells, there is my country…

  • grace

    Go to Fr. Longenecker’s blog. He has a link to a great blog from Haiti.

  • Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » THE ANCHORESS is keeping a constantly updated Haiti post going….

  • Mary

    Not just shock. The first rule of emergencies is: Avoid adding to them by becoming one of the victims. Digging through fallen buildings is very dangerous.

  • george

    What service do you think you are performing, exactly, by mounting this blog vigil? You may have a good reason, but you might need to explain it just a little bit.

    [To promote awareness and encourage humanitarian relief in the wake of this horrible tragedy. -admin]

  • Fred

    Imagine if so much ‘help’ had been o.k.d by Pelosi and congress, and the ‘leaders’in Lousiana and Mississippi, for Katrina, at the time it happened! But, they had an agenda…

  • Fred

    So we’ve sent tons of money and supplies. And it’s just sitting there. People are dying. Another Obama clusterfluck.

  • Pingback: Pat Robertson and Haiti – UPDATE » The Anchoress | A First Things Blog

  • John

    Haiti is now, effectively, without a government and without an infrastructure. As Americans, we want to help, but we cannot, and should not, be expected to become in a very literal sense, nationbuilders. If there was ever a case for a UN protectorate, it is Haiti today. As loath as I am to see this bloated, self-important body involved, it is far better than making Haiti a U.S. territory, which would be the result of our taking control there. We would never be able to leave.

    [Putting it in the keeping of the UN, though, guarantees it will be corrupt, inefficient and forever poor. We can do better than that. A chance to rebuild and reestablish this society cannot be sloughed off on so untrustworthy a body as the UN. Moreover, this is close enough to America's borders to be of strategic interest to terrorist groups and others. We need to look out for it. -admin]

  • jgreene

    This may be a long term opportunity to help these people rebuild their nation and even their culture. I hope there are many private organizations that get involved voluntarily to help. Haiti has been a “basket case” for their entire existence. What can be done to reverse their downward slide?

    [As Rahm would say, "let's not let this crisis go to waste." ;-) I wholly agree...let us help Haiti to become all it can be. -admin]

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  • max

    Please change the title, there is a slang term “Haitian necklace” which makes mention of burning tires and Haiti in the same sentence rather different than the one you want to convey. Historical reasons for associating the term with Haiti too, which makes it worse.

  • http://24Ahead.com/ 24AheadDotCom

    Meanwhile, the Dems (and a few Republicans) are pushing for TPS and will probably get it. That would make the situation worse both for the U.S. and for Haiti: link

    Where’s the GOP response that would include a long-term plan designed to improve the situation there? Currently the only thing they’re doing that I can find is a link to the Red Cross. Long-term plans from the Bush types would consist of giving “opportunities” to connected contractors. Long-term plans from the “free market” types involve sociopathy, open borders, or plans that would make things even worse than they were.

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  • http://freealabamastan.blogspot.com Paul A’Barge

    This is hard to say but here it is: “Get out of Haiti”.

    Haiti occupies barely half of the island Hispaniola. It sits on the western side of the island across a north-south border with the Dominican Republic. How many reports of disaster and need for relief have you heard coming from the Dominican Republic? Yes, that’s right. None.

    What’s up with that?

    Take a look at this map: link

    Now, can you really tell me that this is a natural disaster? It is not. It is a man made disaster, caused by a country that is arguably the living definition of hopeless corruption.

    What the Haitians need is not relief and aid. The Haitians need the motivation to clean out their own corruption and a dedication to hard work and education, all directed to building better infrastructure under a merit-based capitalist system.

    Until the Haitians change their own culture, they are going to be a chain of disasters, one after another.

    Help Haiti help itself. Stop sending aid.

    [They have no industy, they have no infrastructure. They have NOTHING right now. They should do all of this (and work hard and get an education) how? By pulling it all out of their own behinds? We have to help them get on their feet and help them to establish their own, organic, ways and means. -admin]

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    If anyone takes over Haiti, I hope it’s us, rather than the UN.

    More people will survive that way.

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  • Stefanie

    Elizabeth — Today’s Divine Office readings (from the website you recommended and which I am now participating in daily) used a hymn based upon Venerable John Cardinal Henry Newman’s 1865 poem, “The Dream of Gerontius”. I had never heard of it before, so began researching it and found that Roman Catholic Sir Edward Elgar had written a famous musical composition, using that poem. The music is so beautiful — there are many internet of portions being performed.
    Especially the song of the guardian angel to the soul as the music …and their journey together…comes to an end. So very lovely and it will help everyone here to read or listen to it. It is called “Softly and gently, dearly-ransomed soul.”
    “Softly and gently, dearly-ransomed soul,
    In my most loving arms I now enfold thee,
    And o’er the penal waters, as they roll,
    I poise thee, and I lower thee, and hold thee.
    And carefully I dip thee in the lake,
    And thou, without a sob or a resistance,
    Dost through the flood thy rapid passage take,
    Sinking deep, deeper, into the dim distance.
    Angels to whom the willing task is given,
    Shall tend, and nurse, and lull thee, as liest;
    And Masses on the earth, and prayers in heaven,
    Shall aid thee at the Throne of the Most Highest.
    Farewell, but not for ever! brother dear,
    Be brave and patient on thy bed of sorrow;
    Swiftly shall pass thy night of trial here,
    And I will come and wake thee on the morrow.
    Farewell! Farewell!”

    I like the Sarah Connelly version best, but I fail at linking internet things properly. Perhaps you can do so.

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  • dymphna

    If anyone takes over Haiti they will find that it’s like sticking your hand in a scorpions nest. The Haitians are poor but they are proud. Nobody wants to be under anyone else’s commnad even if the dictator is benign.

  • Pingback: From Ed, in Haiti » The Anchoress | A First Things Blog

  • http://freealabamastan.blogspot.com Paul A’Barge

    We have to help them get on their feet and help them to establish their own, organic, ways and means

    We and others have been attempting to help these folks for years and years. This is the result. Inevitable. Predictable.

    Just like individuals, cultures are responsible for their own evolution and must take responsibility for their own failures.

    And I don’t even begin to understand what organic ways and means are.

    I will ask again. Where are the disaster reports from the Dominican Republic?

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  • http://freealabamastan.blogspot.com Paul A’Barge

    Predictable. I told you so: Haitians blame USA: link