:::Thanks to reader DeLynn, we are able to get bits of information from a missionary friend of hers who is living through the nightmare of Haiti, and is communicating on facebook, as he can. Immediately below is Ed’s note for today, which I will keep on top, in italics. For the latest updates throughout the day, scroll below the italics. Please keep all of these people, and these trying to help them, and to bring medical care and relief, in your prayers. Times are tight, of course, but as we’ve been taught, giving in hard times counts for even more in God’s eyes.:::
Photo by Ed, “Students in front of their destroyed hut”
“Until the aftershocks stop, we are still stuck in the day this all started. It has all been one big long day to me.”
From Ed, in Haiti:
From Thursday Night: I’m getting ready to sign off. Laptop battery about dead. Manno is here with me and passes these words on to those of you reading this, “Sometimes some things difficult come into our lives. One thing we learn, it has showed us how many friends, brothers, and sisters we have in the world. Thank you for your prayers.” Goodnight.
8:20 AM Friday: — Had a decent sleep in the car last night. Was awakened by aftershocks several times. The house is still standing. The population continues to sleep outside in the streets. The main highway has thousands camping on it. The clean up process hasn’t really started significantly here. Until the aftershocks s…top, we are still stuck in the day this all started. It has all been one big long day to me.
A big issue for most people here now is trying to get news of loved ones. With the phones mostly still out and no power and little radio, most people are just waiting. Every day that goes by without news deepens the fears and despair. We have a girl with us right now, Lora, whose mother and sisters live in a part of PAP that was hit really hard. We cannot find any news of their fate.
For so many the waiting and not knowing is maddening. Students that have not come back from school. People that went to the store and haven’t been heard from since. With so bodies piling up in so many places, mass graves are being dug and many bodies are getting buried with no identification. Some people will never know.
As days go by, some will get some thrilling news that their families are alive and well, many, however, will only have their worst fears confirmed.
We just got news that Daphne, one of our kids that lives at the house, lost an uncle.
10:30 a.m. — We just got news that Lora’s mother and sisters are alive but that their house was destroyed. We do not know where they are but were told by neighbors that they had escaped.
We’re getting a yard full of crying folks. Gonna go for now…
::::ROLLING UPDATES BELOW::::
How’s the relief funding coming? Chuck Simmins has those numbers – 11:40 PM
From commenter Backhoe: Haiti and the Logistics of Relief – that’s very informative. 10:23 PM
Fr. Steve’s Salesian Brothers and Sisters are describing a nightmare. Also, I haven’t had a chance to read this; it looks interesting, but I’m only linking, not endorsing! : Understanding Religion in Haiti. -10:21 PM
Why?: Fr. Lorenzo Albacete writes
To what kind of God can one pray in such circumstances?
Only to that God who, as St. Paul wrote, “spared not his own Son” the pain of the cry of why. If he gave his Son to die for us, Paul argues, it is impossible that he should refuse us anything that will help or bless us, since he has nothing he values more than His Son (cf. Romans 8, 32). I do not want an explanation for why this God allows these tragedies to happen. An explanation would reduce the pain and suffering to an inability to understand, a failure of intelligence so to peak. I can only accept a God who “co-suffers” with me. Such is the God of the Christian faith.
Also, a slideshow: 6:02 PM
More from Mark Knoller on Twitter: State Dept says Haitian Prime Minister signed document granting US control of the Port au Prince airport. – 5:01 PM
Fr. James Martin: Did CNN Go too far?
When does coverage become exploitation? When one aid worker was pulled, after many hours, from the rubble of a collapsed building and collapsed into the arms of his rescuers, a CNN reporter raced up to him, almost tripped over himself, and asked that old chestnut, “How do you feel?” “How did it feel? How did it feel?” he asked the man, literally seconds after his harrowing experience. “Not good,” the aid worker said curtly.
when I was watching Dr. Sanjay Gupta last night tour the hospitals and point out the wounded, I wanted to say to the network, “Put the cameras down and let him be a doctor.” No doubt he was able to treat the poor men and women afterwards. But, more troublingly, the network also filmed him treating a 15-day-old baby in front of the baby’s father, another intensely private moment that could just as easily have been described, not shown.
Read the whole thing. Martin praises the press, but wonders (rightly) about where the lines are drawn. He ends with a prayer. Yes. Let us all pray. – 4:56 PM
Via Twitter: Hillary is going to Haiti to assess. – 4:42 PM
Although doctors, rescue teams and supplies had been flying into the capital, Port au Prince, a series of bottlenecks meant aid was not getting to those who needed it most.
Even the most stoic Haitians began to express frustration at the continued lack of help on the fourth day of their ordeal, and in one part of the capital corpses were piled up to build roadblocks in protest at the delays.
The problem has been worsened by the complete destruction of Port-au-Prince’s main prison, where almost all of the 4,000 inmates survived the earthquake and are now roaming the streets.
Rescuers have been told to stop work when it gets dark because of fears they will be attacked.
“Our biggest problem is security,” said Delfin Antonio Rodriguez, rescue commander for the Dominican Republic. “Yesterday they tried to hijack some of our trucks. Today we were barely able to work in some places because of that. There’s looting and people with guns out there, because this country is very poor and people are desperate.”
Pierre Jackson, who is desperate for medical help for his mother and sister who both have crushed legs, said: “We’ve been out here waiting for three days and three nights but nothing has been done for us. What should we do?”
Read the whole thing. As we have seen before, rescuing stricken people, bringing medical aid and food and water to them is no easy task; it’s not a snap of the fingers. It’s going to get much worse before it gets better over there, and if President Obama does not quickly assign someone to lead -someone who can talk to the Haitian people and reassure them, but who also has credibility with the international community, and experience with managing a crisis- then things are going to spin out of control very quickly. What is already sounding like hell-on-earth will become a place we cannot even imagine.
For crying out loud, Mr. President, what are you waiting for? Send someone to LEAD in Haiti. Send Rudy; send Petraus. These people need someone they can look to and believe -an experienced crisis manager- while they wait for the help that is trying to get through! Let’s Pray. – 4:33 PM
Michael Yon on Facebook:
The Haiti situation worsens. It’s very important not to go there without understanding the sincere dangers. This is for the military and those with them. The biggest danger will become the same desparate people you want to help.
Playing the Stingy-America Card: Nicholas Kristof writes this morning:
The United States contributes $2.32 per American to Haiti each year. That’s much less than other countries do, even though Haiti is in our hemisphere and has historic close ties to the U.S. For example, Canada contributes $12.13 per person to Haiti annually, and Norway sends $8.44. Other countries that contribute more, per capita, to Haiti than the U.S. are Luxembourg, Sweden, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium. True, there are more Americans, so collectively our aid amounts to more than one-quarter of the pot in Haiti, but that’s only because we’re such a big country. Given the per capita sums, we have no right to be bragging about our generosity in Haiti.
This afternoon he adjusts his numbers a bit (and the Times changes the headline):
First, a fact check. In 2008, the most recent year for which we have figures, the United States donated 92 cents per American to Haiti. Granted, any year can fluctuate, so look at three-year totals. The United States contributed $2.32 per American to Haiti over the last three years for which we have data (about 80 cents a year).
$250 Million a year is a great deal less than the $705 Million a year in his erroneous morning report, but there are other factors Kristof needs to consider, and I will be writing about them, later. – 3:42 PM
300,000 displaced. I am surprised it’s not more. -3:34 PM
Aristide: Wants back in. Bad idea, I think. -3:15 PM
Corpses piling up. As I said here and here in the post below, it seems to me President Obama needs to send a pro-tempore leader into Port au Prince, and he needs to do it yesterday. The Haitian people need someone -a real person, who can communicate a real sense of calm and competence- to look to, right now, because things are going to degenerate very quickly. I’m still thinking that person needs to be Rudy. – 12:14 PM
We don’t maintain the world’s largest military to provide humanitarian relief. But those who disdain our military power may want to say a private prayer of thanksgiving that we make the sacrifices to maintain it — if only because in cases such as this, there is no substitute for a military response. After the 2004 tsunami, when ports and roads were destroyed, the U.S. deployed 15,000 troops, a carrier task force, and a Marine expeditionary force. This flotilla supervised the delivery of tents, water, food, medicine, and other supplies to Indonesia and Thailand before any other aid could arrive. The chief of naval operations at the time, Adm. Mike Mullen, noted with justifiable pride: “We literally built a city at sea for no other purpose than to serve the needs of other people.”
I’m proud of America, too -12:02 PM
Chuck Simmins: FEMA Report on Haiti relief for January 15 – 11:40 AM