From Ed, in Haiti

:::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…

Satellite Photos from Wired Magazine


How’s the relief funding coming?
Chuck Simmins has those numbers11:40 PM

Found at Glenn Reynold’s place: Most relief supplies stuck at the airport. A terrific round-up from Boing Boing, but some of that video is almost impossible to watch. - 11:15 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

Mercy Journey Blog from Haiti. And on the First Things home page, a link to Tsunami and Theodicy, a thoughtful piece initially run after the Christmas Tsunami of 2004 – 9:55 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

Cremating bodies in the streets (H/T Lucianne):

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.

He links to this disturbing story We’re sending 10,000 troops4:01 PM

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

Mona Charen:

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

David Brooks: The Poverty of Haiti also the Marines are preparing to deploy - 11:53 AM

Chuck Simmins: FEMA Report on Haiti relief for January 1511:40 AM

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Chuck Simmins

    Thank you for the links. For photos taken by our military of their efforts, please see this Flickr account:


    I’m aggregating pics for all the military services there. More can be found on each service’s website.

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  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I think Rudy Giuliani would be a good choice. But they need somebody, that’s certain.

  • luvewe

    Thank you for all you do and the links to keep us in the know. I contributed to Salvation Army since I know they have a presence there and the money is used wisely. When I contributed via their site I see where Laura Bush is on the advisory board. That just confirmed my faith in them.

    Prayers to those who are suffering so much….

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  • tioedong

    the reason that “American aid” always looks low next to Europe is that the PC reporters only consider government aid.

    But unlike Europe, the majority of aid money from the US is sent is via private charities and churches.

    And, unlike government “Grants” this money is less likely to be siphoned off into a politician’s pocket.

    And don’t forget the large amounts sent home by Haitians living in the US…

    Here in the Philippines, it is our OFW who keep the economy from collapsing.

  • grace

    This amazing woman has posted alot of photos from Haiti:

  • Themis

    What more “assessment” do they need? Forget about sending Hillary and send someone who has demonstrated their ability to start untangling things the minute their boots hit the ground. Surely partisan politics can be put aside long enough to send Petraus or Rudy before things get any more desperate than they already are.

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  • John

    I heard this morning that there are more NGOs per capita in Haiti than anywhere else on earth. Tens of thousands of Americans already work in these NGOs in Haiti, 24/7/365.

    Can the Nicholas Kristofs of this world ever stop slandering America — even while thousands of our citizens continue to do God’s work in Haiti, thousands more volunteer to go, and yet thousands more in our military deploy to help?

    Even so, America needs to send a real leader there to get things moving, now.

  • w3bgrrl

    Just wow on the Kristoff stuff. Some people will exhale their last breath still ungrateful to be an American.

    Per Haitian, what are the various countries giving in aid? I mean, really. Isn’t per capita aid to Haiti a little misleading, and by a little I mean EXTREMELY so?

    We are, according to Reuters, the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Haiti.

    “Nearly every international charitable organisation in the world works in Haiti. The country has become highly dependent on foreign aid. From 1990 to 2003, Haiti received more than $4 billion in aid, accounting for nearly seven percent of its GDP.

    The U.S. is the largest foreign aid donor to Haiti, contributing over $1.5 billion since 1990. Other major donors include Canada, France, Japan, the Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank.”

    Okay so, the US alone from 1990 to 2003, donated over 37% of all the aid money going to Haiti and we’re supposed to feel BAD for this?


  • backhoe

    May I call your attention to this writeup?

    Haiti and the Logistics of Relief by coldwarrior

  • March Hare

    I read where some Congresscritters are talking about flying to Haiti to “assess the damage” or some other such nonsense.

    Unless they know how to operate heavy machinery or have medical training, they should stay home.

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  • Fr. Steve

    Here is the latest on the Salesians of Don Bosco in Haiti: Here

    It all looks very bleak. We need to continue to pray for the people of Haiti.

  • DeputyHeadmistress

    I thought you’d find this interesting, about a 75 year old retired nurse on one of many medical mission trips to Haiti (I think ten or more), arrived day before the earthquake, hadn’t been heard of since the quake.

    Her daughter is one of my girls’ best friends, and we got a call tonight saying she’d been found alive and was waiting for transport back to the US.

    I’d been praying for her, but when I got the news I burst into tears and said something like, “I can’t believe she’s alive! How is that possible?” and one of my girls said, “Well, Mom, we prayed.”

  • mollo

    Here’s another link for you to pull Haiti information from: Mercy Journey

    It’s the blog of Pastor Harrison, head of Lutheran World Relief. He gives a heart wrenching statement as he reports losses and a couple of his fellow pastors, most likely his friends, as still missing.

    He also has a letter posted from Orphan Grain Train with news of a wonderful blessing: “A semi-load relief shipment of food sent last month arrived on January 6 and is being used to respond to the disaster. Each semi-load contains 256,608 meals.”

    It was good to see Catholic Relief Services on the Nightly News Report. I’m so sorry for the loss of the seminarians and the archbishop.

  • John in Dublin CA

    Thanks for the great coverage of this horror in Haiti. I’m 58, unemployed for 18 months, but I found some money to send to CRS. In Christ.

    [See, I know God will bless you for that. I know it. God bless you! -admin]

  • Lauri Friesen

    Does anyone remember how the IRC was unable to use all the money donated for the tsunami-relief effort in 2005? I know people want to help, but perhaps we should all wait until there is more clarity on just what help will be needed and how best to provide it. Haiti is a country that has been in serious political and social trouble for decades. The threats and incidents of violence, rioting, looting, etc. only underline that and we should be mindful that helping the people of Haiti is going to continue to be a complicated and probably largely unsuccessful project. People should keep Haitians in their prayers for much longer than they will be in our news cycles.

  • Wolfwood

    The media was bad like this after the Virginia Tech shootings, too. Eventually the student assembly passed a resolution asking them to leave. I can understand the feelings of horror and anger you see on a lot of the Haitians when reporters are doing their coverage.

    Also, and you may have addressed this earlier, but I’d just like to say that the hypocrisy regarding the Obama response to Haiti and the Bush response to Katrina is shocking.

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