Day 3: Haiti Struggles To Recover From Devastating Earthquake

Three days later, and many miles to go:

  • The number of people killed in the tragedy is not yet known - the best estimates are assuming in the tens of thousands. The Red Cross is using a different metric, explaining that one in three Haitians was impacted by the quake.
  • The LA Times explains that there is not much institutional help on the ground: "There was little police presence, no water being handed out, no encampments, except those set up by people apparently left homeless by the quake or those too afraid to go back into their ramshackle homes."
  • Rescue efforts are being coordinated by Haitian civilians, with few resources: "Rescuers, often equipped with little more than their hands, hunted for survivors amid a grim tableau of destruction. Entire hillsides of homes appeared to have tumbled, while in other areas structures stood unaffected next to piles of dusty debris. Some buildings lay in pancake-like concrete heaps." Rescue teams from the US, China, The Dominican Republic and France began to arrive in the country last night and early this morning. Other countries are preparing to send in their own teams, field hospitals, and supplies. In the meantime, the people of Haiti have turned pick-up trucks into makeshift ambulances, and fashioned stretchers out of refrigerator doors.
  • President Obama has pledged military and diplomatic support in an "aggressive effort" to support Haiti, but there are concerns that the damage to Haiti's infrastructure (like the ports and airports) could hinder relief efforts. Yesterday, he pressed his staff as to "why we're not doing more."
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on the Today Show to discuss the situation:

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  • The World Bank has pledged $100 million in emergency funds to help with reconstruction.
  • More problems with administering aid: "A few sport-utility vehicles driven by United Nations personnel plied streets clogged with rubble, pedestrians and other vehicles. Fuel shortages emerged as an immediate concern as motorists sought to find gas stations with functioning fuel pumps."
  • The situation in Haiti has also prompted some tense reflection about how the current crisis collides with our immigration policies: "In a letter to Obama, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said temporary protected status for illegal Haitian immigrants is "needed because there is no way to safely return Haitian citizens to their country." She continued by outlining precedent for such action. "The United States granted TPS to Honduras and Nicaragua in 1999, following Hurricane Mitch, and to El Salvador in 2001, following several earthquakes. [...] The Miami Herald is reporting that Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Alcee Hastings - all from south Florida - are also pushing for protected status for Haitians who are here illegally."
  • Stars are using their wattage to shine more light on the situation in Haiti. George Clooney is planning an MTV telethon, and Wyclef Jean's Yele foundation has been involved from the time the news broke.
  • Bill Clinton is also campaigning on behalf of Haiti. He penned an op-ed for Time, explaining what lessons can be learned from international relief effort for the tsunami that struck Asia in 2004, and called on other nations and large donors to honor their pre-existing commitments in Haiti. He contributed a similar article to the Washington Post.

Tens of thousands feared dead after Haiti earthquake [Washington Post]
Weary Haitians face another day of searching in quake's aftermath [CNN]
Bodies lining Haiti's roadsides are the grim tally of disaster
[LA Times]
Haiti quake survivors sought amid 'unimaginable' destruction [LA Times]
Haiti earthquake: News updates [CNN]
Haiti quake: Survivors struggle while awaiting aid [AP]
Obama orders rapid mobilization of U.S. rescue, relief efforts for Haiti [Washington Post]
Congress pushes aid for Haiti [Politico]
President Obama to National Security Staff: I Want to Know Why It Is We're Not Doing More [ABC News]
Relief effort intensifies in quake-hit Haiti [CNN]
Amid Untold Dead, Haiti's Devastation Hobbles Efforts to Reach Survivors [NY Times]
George Clooney to Host MTV Telethon for Haiti [Showbiz 411]
Official Site [Yele Haiti]
What Haiti Needs [Time]
What we can do to help Haiti, now and beyond [Washington Post]