Friday, January 15, 2010
Haiti Needs Cuba Now
As reported everywhere, conditions in
Effectively all the building stock is uninhabitable. At present it is a desperate race to dig out the handful of living and recover the dead. The only mercy is that it is warm and obviously not the rainy season. Had this occurred in
Hopefully the political types can quickly get over their issues for a time in order to pull this chunk of fat out of the fire. In the meantime,
The immediate advent of several thousand troops from the
It is also a surety that most of the damaged buildings will have to be bulldozed. It is therefore a great time to plan a
Aid workers in
By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS, Associated Press Writer – 58 mins ago
GENEVA – Roads full of hungry, homeless people. A ruined port and an overwhelmed airport. Hundreds of crumpled buildings and little heavy machinery. Few working phones.
Relief supplies and emergency experts started pouring into Haiti from around the world Thursday but aid groups said the challenge of helping Haiti's desperate quake survivors was enormous.
"It's chaos," U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told The Associated Press. "It's a logistical nightmare."
Aid deliveries by ship were impossible to
because the Haitian capital's port was closed due to severe damage from Tuesday magnitude-7 earthquake. The city's airport was open but damaged, laboring mightily to handle a flurry of incoming aid flights. Port-au-Prince
Fearful of going near quake-damaged buildings, Haitians stood or rested on the roads, slowing the transport of food and other crucial aid.
Severe damage to at least eight Port-au-Prince hospitals made it nearly impossible to treat the thousands of injured or prevent outbreaks of disease, said Paul Garwood, spokesman for the World Health Organization.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, presents unique logistical challenges for aid workers even in the best of times. It shares an island with the
, meaning that aid must arrive by sea or air. Haitian streets are in poor condition under normal circumstances, and even if aid reaches the Dominican Republic, the road from there to Dominican Republic is narrow and easily clogged. Port-au-Prince
Almost everything has to be imported, even wood for building temporary shelters, because Haitians have denuded their hillsides by cutting trees for cooking fuel.
"If you see
Dominican Republic and from the air, it's really striking," said Byrs. "Half of the island is green and the rest is dust." Haiti
was already heavily damaged by a series of severe hurricanes, the most recent in 2008. Haiti
President Barack Obama announced Thursday the
U.S. government was making an initial $100 million relief effort and promised an all-out rescue and humanitarian effort that included military and civilian emergency teams from across the U.S.
"We have to be there for them in their hour of need," Obama said.
The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was deployed to
, and the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan had been ordered to sail as soon as possible with a 2,000-member Marine unit. Haiti
Even as the United Nations stepped up its massive aid operation, the world body was trying to determine how many of its own staff were killed in earthquake.
"It's very difficult to give an exact number," said Byrs. "This is also a tragedy for the United Nations."
She said up to 100 U.N. staff were trapped in the main U.N. peacekeepers' building, which was destroyed.
Byrs said 40 search-and-rescue teams from around the world had started arriving in
to look for survivors trapped inside collapsed buildings. But to find and save people, the rescuers need heavy machinery to lift tons of rubble — equipment that teams from places like Haiti Britain and have, but others don't. Iceland
Haiti has virtually none of those machines but aid workers were trying to get some into Haiti from theDominican Republic, Charles Vincent of the World Food Program said.
"We'll have to see how that works out," said Vincent. "The
military will also be bringing in some equipment." U.S.
The desperate situation has aid groups fearing a surge in lawlessness, Vincent said. U.N.
peacekeepers are patrolling to try to control looting but they are dealing with many deaths and injuries of their own, he added.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said its forensic specialists would help ensure that bodies of the quake victims are recovered and identified for the benefit of their families.
The Red Cross set up a special Web site to help Haitians find their missing loved ones, and after just a few hours, over 5,000 people had already registered on it, many from the
United States and . Canada
Aid was delivered or promised from many countries, including
Brazil, the European Union, Britain, Germany, Israel, France, Switzerland, South Korea and . China dispatched a chartered plane carrying 10 tons of tents, food, medical equipment and sniffer dogs, along with a 60-member earthquake relief team who worked in Canada 's own 2008 earthquake, which killed some 90,000 people. China
The Red Cross estimated that some 3 million people in Haiti will require aid, ranging from shelter to food and clean water, and said many Haitians could need relief aid for a full year.
Aid workers base such estimates on previous disasters that appear to be the same size, said Pablo Medina, operations coordinator of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
"At this very early hour, with such limited amount of information, what you have to do is base your calls on past experience on previous earthquakes, on media reports and on information on the ground,"
told the AP. Medina
Initial planning is conservative and is normally revised upward as more information becomes available. This time, the Red Cross decided to send 100 experts to
"That's fairly big,"
Associated Press Writers Frank Jordans in
Geneva, Meera Selva in London, Tini Tranh in Beijing, Kwang-tae Kim in Seoul, South Korea, Rod McGuirk in , Aus Canberra
January 14, 2010
By Circles Robinson
The brigade was first established to offer help to the
United States when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the in 2005, an offer rejected by ex-President Bush. Gulf Coast
Since then the brigade has been on the scene after earthquakes in
Pakistan, and China, the Tsunami in Indonesia and major flooding in Guatemala and . Bolivia
Haiti’s ambassador to , thanked the Cuban people and government for their assistance in such difficult times. “The Cuban doctors have a lot of experience with our reality and a lot of desire to understand and help, and that’s what we most needed,” Geneus told the Cuban News Agency. Havana