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 realize1:32 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

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