Updates on Haiti, Kids & Ed – UPDATE

I hate to start off a Haiti round-up with an “I told you so,” so I will wait to say it and urge you instead to go watch this very affecting video -watch the sigh of sadness this beautiful and resilient child breathes as she talks about the death around her; marvel at her composure, even as her eyes tell you the whole story- and then read the accompanying piece, and then come back, because the article touches on two things I’ve either been yammering about or praying about.

Okay, you back?

After the video we read:

Guido Bertolaso, the head of Italy’s civil protection service, said there had been a fundamental lack of leadership thus far in foreign aid missions to Haiti, warning also that the large US military mission in the country was not entirely helpful.

“The Americans are extraordinary, but when you are facing a situation in chaos they tend to confuse military intervention with emergency aid, which cannot be entrusted to the armed forces,” Reuters reported him as telling Italy’s RAI television.

Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, swiftly distanced the government from Bertolaso’s comments. . . .The Italian government does not share these statements,” Frattini told reporters in Washington.

Haiti Relief Copter, photo by Ed

Well, I don’t like anyone saying that America -and her military folk- are not doing necessary work and making a yeoman’s effort, and in fairness to our nation and every other nation that is helping Haiti (and who helped Italy, before) it must be noted that Guido Bertolaso’s work in L’Aquila involved disaster on a much smaller scale than Haiti’s.

But he does have a point, and it one that has gone overlooked in the outcry over his impolitic words; it is a point one can barely find online; the report I had saved from this morning has been changed, but this article at least alludes to it:

He called for the appointment of an international civilian humanitarian coordinator, saying the U.S. military wasn’t adept at coordinating a civilian humanitarian emergency.

Well, yeah. Some of us have been calling for the appointment of a single leadership figure -someone with international credibility, disaster experience and the ability to speak to the people of Haiti and be believed- since the first week into this story. The US Military is terrific and we need some of them to be in Haiti, (see these pics from the USN) but there also needs to be that single person, who can co-ordinate and communicate. I think -given that the US is currently in charge of the Port au Prince Airport, and is still, for now at least, the “indispensable nation”- that the American President needs to name such a leader, and that leader should be able to name his own “international team” comprised of folks he can depend on. That, I suspect, was what Bertolaso, in his clumsy way, was talking about.

Unfortunately, the current American President, who has made it clear that he does not want appear “arrogant” to anyone but the Israelis and, perhaps, his own countrymen, seems disinclined to use the depth and credibility of his office to introduce a leader into the Haiti relief efforts, and thereby help establish a body of leaders -not UN creeps, not power-mad despot wannabees, but real humanitarians- who will be happy to give up the reins when it is time to, but who will be able to help Haiti through a long, hard slog.

Pastor Frantzy with Church in Rubble by Ed

Assign Giuliani. Assign Gen. Honore. Ask someone with the know-how, the energy, the heart and the courage to take on the long, thankless task of helping a nation to rebuild itself in a manner that will nurture potentialities rather than simply prepare them for a potentate.

Alright, enough of that; let’s have a breather for something gorgeous:

Mandy Poulter and new daughter, 4-year-old Maya, Photo: Andrea Melendez, Des Moines Register

You’re free to think this story unfolded solely because of luck and determination. Matt and Mandy Poulter don’t buy it. They are a religious couple, and they see accomplishments as the rewards of faith. They also are bulldogs, who jump into challenges few others would take on.

Last Tuesday, they completed an exhausting odyssey, in which they plucked their new daughter and four other orphans from earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Who’s to say if prayers or moxie pulled them through?

The results are the same either way. Five children who otherwise would be sleeping under tarps in a hot, dusty courtyard in Haiti will be bedding down tonight with their new families in Pella.

You’ll want to read the whole, inspiring story, which was brought to my attention from Rich at The Iconic Midwest.

I think many will be thinking and praying about adopting Haitian orphans
; there is cause for concern:

Haitian children made orphans by this month’s catastrophic earthquake or separated from their parents face a growing threat from child traffickers or illicit adoptions, the government and aid groups say.

An estimated 150,000 have been buried in Haiti, but no one knows how many thousands more are beneath the rubble.

Grating coconut living under a sheet photo by Ed

On the relief front,
Team Rubicon has a blog now and can better detail the work that bunch of ex-marines, first-responders, medics and Jesuits, has undertaken on its own, unconnected to government efforts. They’re updating frequently, and I’m blogrolling them, so do check them out and donate if you can.

“Happy faces this morning,” says Ed

Finally, I have been remiss, a little; DeLynn has been faithfully sending me updates from Missionary Ed (who reports that even now, they are still feeling tremors that leave them unnerved), and I have not had a chance to get to them until now. With the exception of the Poulter photo, all of these pics scattered throughout the post have accompanied his notes:

Joy and sadness live next to each other. Advanced malaria, by Ed

Tent cities are growing at a rapid rate. Some already have thousands of people in them. Many people are building little shacks with scraps of tin and plastic. There are Cite Soleils beginning to pop up everywhere. [Notes DeLynn: this is a large slum, horrid, squalid conditions---people live in cardboard "homes"-- I heard a report on FNC yesterday about gangs fighting to take control there, about prisoners who have gone back there after the jails were demolished--and no one wants to help there as it is so dangerous] It is surreal to see so many people living outside.

Rice and Beans by the hundreds of platesful, by Ed

[Passing by the medical area...] They had a yard full of patients and almost no translators so I decided to stay with them. They are really doing a tremendous job and I was honored to be able to help out. These are Christian doctors and nurses here volunteering their time and working tirelessly. So many lives in the balance. I will try to post a few pictures from the day. I was too busy to take many pictures but there were a few that had to be taken.

Emmanuel born day after quake in which father died; doctors fear he will not survive

There are so many people suffering here now. There always has been but now it’s worse. Today was just a long flow of broken bones, Typhoid, Malaria, gashes, and wounds. Add to that a massive dose of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Ridiculously adorable & too young for PTSD, gets checked out in Petit Goave, Photo by Ed

Had a couple of strong tremors about an hour ago. Many folks are already headed for bed. Mostly in the streets. Things continue to get better and worse. . . .Most people are still thankful to be alive. Still, so many have lost family and homes. The future is just a big blank for most. Even for me, my heart would have fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living…

Ed with kids of Petit Goave

UPDATE: I learned this morning that little Emmanuel, the eleven day old baby, did not survive.

Linked by Instapundit! Thanks, Glenn!

Are TV Crews Inadvertently hurting the people of Haiti?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://onlythreesofar.blogspot.com molloaggie

    Video link? Did you forget to put it or am I blind?

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    You can’t count on government for anything. Certainly, you cannot count on it saving your life. Occasionally, it will, but all too often it is not there when you need help. So, even if there was someone appointed as “leader” it would be only slightly less of a CF than it is now.

    And regarding leadership, what the hell is that waste of space in NYC doing? Things like this should be the number one mission of the UN, but instead they are only exacerbating the problem. And I about choked on my dinner when I read at the CRS website that they were coordinating with UN officials.

    As much as I dislike using the military for non-military purposes, they really are the only ones capable of being first responders in these cases — IF they are called in. Especially in inaccessible places like Haiti, the military is the only one who has the airlift capability, including the ability to helicopter food, water, medicine, clothing, etc. to anywhere, and to also provide the necessary troops to oversee distribution on the ground to make sure that the people get it and not the thugs and criminals.

    As for the future? How about instead of padding the wallets of his friends, Obama take some of that “stimulus” money that is supposed to be spent this year and use it to buy building materials and hire a bunch of Haitians to rebuild the country? You could probably build every Haitian a mansion for $1 or 2 billion total. And then get off the backs of private businesses and encourage the free market to go down there and build up their economy with some trade agreements with the U.S.?

  • http://onlythreesofar.blogspot.com molloaggie

    Okay, the video and article are the same link. :) I done figured it out. I samrt cookie.

  • http://onlythreesofar.blogspot.com molloaggie

    Do you think a leader will help the Haitians this late in the game? I would think any leader appointed now would be more of a international public face, and not necessarily an asset to the Haitians. In fact, the Haitian government is calling for control to be handed back to them.

    I thought that Hillary Clinton, our Sec of State, was going to be that leader/public face when she showed up there. I honestly don’t know who THE leader is right now. It could quite possibly be somebody in our military, but they just aren’t making themselves a public leader. I also read somewhere that the US was trying to go light on their military presense as to not scare the Haitian ppl. It could be PC reason as to why our military is not presenting a more public face.

    Unfortunately for the Haitians, I see the greenies trying to get their hands into the rebuilding and causing immense problems.

  • http://www.Herkybird.info Herkybird

    Who, other than the U.S. Military, has the necessary resources to undertake a disaster relief mission on the scale of Haiti?

    The desalinization plant on one of out nuclear-powered aircraft carriers can produce thousands of gallons of much-needed drinking water a day, and the ship has its own fleet of helicopters to carry personnel and supplies where they’re needed.

    An Amphibious Assault Ship not only carries 500 Marines but, when its San Diego-based medical contingent joins the ship, it becomes the most technologically advanced 500-bed hospital outside of the United States. (Yes that means the Marines have to give up their berths and sleep on the deck or on shore – which they willing do because they are America’s secret weapon…they’re good kids.) And an LHA brings its own helicopters and LCACs for transporting personnel and supplies.

    A natural disaster brings out the best and the worst in people so security is an issue. This is doubly true in a failed state without a functioning government. In a case like this who is better qualified to restore order and keep the peace than the United States Marine Corps? UN Peace-keepers? Many of that existing contingent too was killed in the earthquake.

    Guido Bertolaso shows up two weeks after disaster struck and starts bitching upon arrival about how America is doing it all wrong. But how large a contingent of aid workers and how many tons of supplies did he bring with him? And how long is he planning on staying to help out?

    When disaster strikes all the world’s eyes turn to America to see what we’ll do. And we do not disappoint. We’re there “First-est with the most-est.” Visit any refugee camp and you’ll find that most of the supplies are emblazoned with the logo of USAID and the words, “Gift of the People of the United States of America.” And for that we can be proud.

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  • http://blog.thrufire.com/ Chris Arsenault

    Here’s an article on the work USNS Comfort is doing in Haiti:


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  • ThomasD

    Leading the effort in Haiti is destine to be all guts and no glory. Hard choices will need to be made, priorities set then enforced. Heat will surely follow.

    And that’s the upside of usual relief efforts. The downside is that there can be no ‘relief’ when the subject is Haiti. Even returning it to status quo, already an impossibility, would leave no one satisfied.

    Meaning even harder choices – nation building type choices – must be made, and given the difficulties proven across the globe over the last few decades who really wants to entertain grasping that tiger by the tail?

    I hesitate to turn his into an Obama bash, as I could (and do) see many other international ‘leaders’ being just as feckless. But Obama will take a a pass on something he knows to be well above his pay grade.

    Sadly, everyone in the know and in a position of power is merely playing for time.

  • JohnRDC

    Ms Anchoress:

    The U.S. Government’s man in charge of the Haiti rescue/rehab efforts is the head of AID. He is very new in the position, but he is the person Designated by the President to coordinate all U.S. activities, military and civilian, regarding Haiti.

    This was announced by the White House and State Department about weeks ago. You should at least post this factoid.

    Whether this fellow and AID will be effective is another matter. At least get your facts straight.

    [I appreciate the heads up. Would you know that man's name? Because I am having trouble finding it. Do you mean Rajiv Shah? I mean, I would LOVE to "get my facts straight" but there is precious little being written about who is "in charge" over there, and if it is Shah - who sounds like a good man - then he is keeping an extremely low profile. But I have been talking about something different, something a bit more "high profile." My point -from the very start- has been that the person put (temporarily) "in charge" in Haiti needs to be someone who is recognizable, has experience in crisis management, international credibility, connections in the securities and building industries, that he can lean on, and enough presence to be able to speak to the people of Haiti and be believed. If Rajiv Shah is the guy "in charge" and he meets all that criteria, then that may be a very good thing. I am not sure he is the administrator/security/infrastructure guy Haiti needs. He may be the medical admin guy, though. It seems to me it is quite enough of a job to be head of USAID. Being the pro-tempore head of Haiti, itself, is something very different. Perhaps you misunderstood my meaning, or I was not clear enough. -admin]

  • http://northshorejournal.org/comparison-of-haiti-donations-to-katrina-and-the-tsunami Chuck Simmins

    Donations by private Americans are running behind the amounts for Katrina and the tsunami. That said, far more military committed to Haiti than to either of the other disasters.

    Lots of Catholic churches have had collections but the amounts have not been reported yet. Should be a big number.

  • Peregrine John

    I’ll be thinking of little Emmanuel for a long time, that tiny person named for the proof he is that God is with us (and hasn’t given up on us quite yet), now himself with God. Also thinking of his father, who didn’t have the chance to spend time with him.

    But that’s not right. He has more than time. Little Emmanuel is with his father now. And his Father. And God, still with us, seems not to have given up on us quite yet.

  • http://www.amidclutter.blogspot.com megscole

    May I ask the reason why Emannuel did not survive? It breaks my heart. :( Was it lack of nutrition or was he injured?

    I so badly wish I could adopt a child from this situation but it is not meant to be. I pray they will all find GOOD and safe homes and not be kidnapped and exploited.

    [Emmanuel was born the day after the quake; Ed did not provide details, although I will try to get them. I noticed the infant had an IV hookup. -admin]

  • Jack is Back!

    According to the USAID/Haiti website, a person known as Ambassador Lew Lucke is the Special Coordinator for Relief and Reconstruction. Note the activity of “reconstruction” is being considered. Wonder where that money will come from?

  • Koblog

    Great. Ten days after the disaster the first Italian finally get the scene and complains he wasn’t consulted.

    Heckuva job, Baracky.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Would you know that man’s name? Because I am having trouble finding it.

    His name? His name is Nameless Faceless Bureaucrat.

    But whatever we do, let’s not offend Hugo Chavez any further by having the U.S. military play a bigger role.

  • Roger Allen

    I was a military physician for 30 years. And yes, the US military has the supplies, the people, the leaders and the pre-planning to do what needed to be done in Haiti at lightning speed. Unfortunately, for the mission to be successful, the people and their leaders will need to surrender their autonomy to be cared for properly. Adam and Eve preferred autonomy to security and freedom from want; none of us are any different. Even at their relatively benign level of involvement, the US military was accused of trying to conquer Haiti. Given the fundamental nature of humans, I doubt that disaster relief will ever, ever go smoothly unless you are willing to run the disaster area like a prison camp.

  • Dr. Patent

    One thing to remember is that it’s not entirely the military’s fault that it has trouble working with various NGOs. Many NGOs, especially from other countries are opposed to working with the US military, as one Instapundit reader pointed out(/a>.

  • Mike Spehar

    I’ve worked in logistics for over thirty years, planning airlift in wars and national disasters. What we have in Haiti won’t be solved by a single civilian leader unless other governments and NGOs are willing to do what he says – any no arguments.

    In Haiti, what we have is a classic case of over-MOG, which is military speak for exceeding the maximum aircraft on the ground. Too many aircraft get in each other’s way, delaying unloading and departure, with too many small aircraft taking the place that a truly large airlifter could use in half the time. With standard aircraft and intelligent scheduling, we could double the throughput of supplies and medicine to the needy Haitians.

    But we can’t do that with multiple sources of aircraft. Everyone counts their particular mercy mission as being indispensible, even if it takes up space delivering a few hundred pounds of supplies when a large aircraft could deliver many tons. Your single leader would be helpless in such a situation unless he could compell all other participants to consolidate, prioritize, and take their damned turn.

    But they won’t. Ironically, more Haitians have died then need to because the sheer number of rescuers meant that the effort was unfocused and uncoordinated. But don’t worry. In a couple weeks, after everyone gets their photo op, the US military will still be there doing the heavy lifting along with the few NGOs and governments that matter.

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  • wGraves

    Guido Bertolaso is probably wondering why, when disaster strikes, nobody’s first thought is to call Silvio Berlusconi. Instead, they call the American military. Gosh, I wonder why that is?

  • Mike Spehar

    I just reread my first post and I think I need to apologize. I’m sure 100% of the people involved in the Haiti rescue and recovery effort are motivated purely by humanitarian impulses and I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise.

    It’s just that I’ve seen this situation before and, though I’m not involved in planning the airlift this time, the old juices start flowing when I seen the need for some solid organization.

    And it’s something we should consider for next time – because the next time might be somewhere just as isolated as Haiti.

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    “but there also needs to be that single person, who can co-ordinate and communicate.”

    I’m surprised you fell for that. The only possible EFFECTIVE person would be someone from the U.S. military who has the authority to tell everyone else what to do (or, I suppose, a political figurehead who just repeats what the leader of the U.S. military forces there tells him).

    People still don’t seem to comprehend what the earthquake did to the logistics there – the roads, the ports, the airports – and the effect that has on getting assistance to the people in need, and the limitations on what helicopters can do due to the magnitude of the issue.

    You put “an international civilian humanitarian coordinator” in charge, and you’ll end up with a total cluster$%^&.

  • http://www.Inklingbooks.com/ Michael W. Pery

    In the U.S. fire departments and other disaster relief organizations are trained in various versions of an Incident Management System. It ensures that throughout an emergency response, every need has someone responsible for it and that no one in leadership gets so overwhelmed that they make poor decisions. An IMS response to a fire will start when the first fire truck arrives on the scene and rapidly scale up as dozens of vehicles and hundreds of fire fighters arrive. Done right, there’s no confusion.

    What you’re asking for is that nations cooperate and develop an IMS for international disasters such as Haiti. Its a great idea, but doing that would be messy since:

    1. Some countries are so badly led, a local team couldn’t be in charge. It would have to be run outsiders who might not understand local conditions.

    2. IMS works with fire departments and communities because all those involved have a much in common and have drilled together. That’s unlikely to be true with an international response. That’s been part of the problem in Haiti.

    3. The UN is so corrupt and incompetent, it’d be foolish to try to build an IMS response team within it. Something completely new would have to be created and we’d soon have the mess that ensues when politicians jockey for the limelight.

    In short, a global IMS is a great idea, but implementing it won’t be easy and won’t come quickly.

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  • Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

    For anyone complaining about the US military’s pace of operations, look via Google-Earth at Port-au-Prince.

    They have a one-runway airport that most US mid-western county-seats would be embarrassed-by with minimal parking areas and no fuel to re-fuel and fly-out with. One forklift truck, and no baggage or freight handling equipment.

    The “port” has one container crane…that fell-over into the vacant slip…and room for two medium-sized freighters. That’s it…

    And there’s the pesky fact that Haiti (so far) is a sovereign nation, The US just has temporary authority over the airport. It’s not for the US to coordinate aid, that’s the legal and moral responsibility of the Haitian government.

    If they want the US to lead the recover, the Haitian and international community will need to ask the US government to do-so under either a UN Mandate. Or the US should declare a Protectorate and install an American plenipotentiary as Proconsul or Governor-General of Haiti with full dictatorial powers for 6-10 years.

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  • JohnRDC

    Ms Anchoress:

    You have the right man. It’s Rajiv ______.

    Notice Ms. Clinton today complained about criticism of State’s efforts in Haiti in remarks to State employees.

    The go-to person on AID, etc., matters is Thomas P. M. Barnett, military blogger and author of “The Pentagon’s New Map.” He is not enthusiastic about AID’s abilities, but has been arguing for a “SysAdmin” governmental capability, outside the Pentagon, for years.

    I appreciate your measured response, by the way. I was irritated, I admit. I mean the guy exists, right?

  • mac


    With all due regard, this may be a blessing for Haiti in a very good disguise. Haiti before the earthquake was a poverty-ridden, corrupt hellhole. It has been since before it became independent in 1818. Haitians have NEVER shown, in their entire history, that they have had the slightest understanding of decent governance. Either they’ve had dictators or the U.S. military. The U.S. military was far more beneficent, by the way.

    Their country could not support the numbers of people living there prior to the earthquake. It probably can’t support the numbers that are left. If Haitians can somehow learn to keep their numbers down to something less than the current post-earthquake population, it might be able to function as a self-supporting entity that isn’t a blight and a burden to its neighbors.

  • Mike Spehar

    “One forklift truck, and no baggage or freight handling equipment.

    The “port” has one container crane…that fell-over into the vacant slip…and room for two medium-sized freighters.”

    We’re doing a bit better than that, Ted B. Right now, we have a parking MOG of ten aircraft and a working MOG of five. Meaning we have sufficient material handling equipment for four or five at once. Handling mostly pallets, though, and some rolling stock. Pax can unload their own bags.

    A sizable “pallet farm” is growing as the ability to distribute stuff is still less than adequate, due to road and vehicle limitations.

    We also have some limited MOG on two small airfields a bit distant from the city. Might come in handy later.

    At the port, I hear we’ve begun to use a lightering system to unload containers and whatnot.

    I must say, none of the people bitching are capable of doing any of this. Certainly not the Italians….

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  • newscaper

    It was soft-pedaled a bit in the article I read, but Bertolaso also — properly I’m sure — slammed the NGOs for being more interested in photo-op presences than in actually delivering aid.

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