article

01.13.10

Inside Haiti's Horror

The Daily Beast rounds up the most harrowing tweets and blog posts from inside Haiti and the smartest commentary on the quake and its fallout. Plus, photos of the destruction.

The Daily Beast rounds up the most harrowing tweets and blog posts from inside Haiti and the smartest commentary on the quake and its fallout. Plus, the latest photos of the destruction.

The Daily Beast’s full Haiti coverageAs aid workers and supplies are rushed into Haiti, the country’s crippled government and collapsed infrastructure are creating a bottleneck, allowing only a trickle of support to reach thirsty and hungry survivors. In central Port-au-Prince, more than 1,000 rioters looted homes and shops for whatever goods they could find. About 1,700 people camped out in a field, begging for the biscuits and water purification tablets that aid workers provide. With only one airport runway, a ruined port, and littered roads, getting supplies to people is a logistical nightmare. Spots have been cleared in the capital for helicopters to land, but throngs of people clamoring for help have made landings difficult. The U.S., which is controlling the airport, is being criticized for focusing more on security than on delivering food. But more than $48 million worth of food supplies has been shipped from Texas, and 600,000 packaged meals have been distributed.

The Daily Beast has sought out harrowing on-the-ground blogs and tweets, as well as a roundup of commentary about the way forward for Haiti.

Click Image to View Photos of Haiti in Ruins

Tara Livesay, wife of missionary Troy Livesay, on U.S. citizens being evacuated on The Livesay [Haiti] Weblog:

“Many people were angry at not being able to bring bags. I got very angry listening to that as CNN inside the Embassy droned on and on about all the trapped all the dead all the hurting. I think a bag of possessions is hardly something to fight over. There are lives hanging in the balance and there is no end in sight.”

“The US Embassy employees who have also lost homes and friends are doing an AMAZING job on little to no sleep and dealing with a lot of hostile and rude people. I was blessed by watching them work. Pray for these employees. “

“Today we are beginning to prepare for mobile medical clinics and try to discern a safe and smart way to begin to do this in our area.”

“Haiti is disorganized and without infrastructure on the best day. For the aid to work and the teams of search and rescue workers to be able to do their job there is going to need to be a major effort of all people to lay down their own fear and personal need and allow the help to get to the worst off. Pray that people will think of others as best they can and that relief will begin to get to the places it is needed most.”

Musician and hotelier Richard Morse:

Morse’s Twitter is a window into the chaos after the quake.

“Reality:There are people who charge your phone with a car battery; nominal fee;sometimes you need someone 2 buy u a fone card@billiegirltoo”
 
“I know of someone buying gas today for 150 Haitian dollars which is about $18-$21 a gallon. Most people in Haiti don't have cars.. @ asta

“Is this a one week story?Is this a 10 day story? is this a one month story?Where r 2 million ppl going to go? Nothing for them in PauP?”

"The school behind St Gerard still has people buried as does everywhere.The dead bodies are becoming a greater and greater concern"

Pooja Bhatia, a fellow at the Institute of Current World Affairs:

Has filed a bleak op-ed in The New York Times about her post-earthquake experience. And her Tweets reveal details of the earthquake:

“internet, water, gas scarce; updating-- and most communications-- are difficult. but we are healthy and relatively sane, gras a dye.”

"From walking around most of the day I estimate that one third to half of the houses are or will be demolished"

"and no medical care at all."

"many people have not eaten since tuesday. there are corpses everywhere—including pigtailed school girls in their uniforms"

"all of which gives me some hope that riots and violence might not happen, but it will depend greatly on when aid arrives."

"very calm outside. haitians are incredibly gracious. was told at least five times that suddenly homeless peeps want to pray for me"

"aid is on the way, but hasn't arrived"

"profiteers are charging double and triple prices for gas, food, drinks, water they had in stock"

Fireside, Inc

The nonprofit Tweets about the fear pervading Haiti, and posts grisly images of the carnage:

"I've been passing through the streets for days. Haitians need help NOW. Disease is setting in. They are trying to burn the bodies."

"IRONY: The people arriving in tanks and choppers, afraid of the people with nothing. The UN needs to mobilize NOW. People are dying."
 
"The longer the UN waits, the more "unsafe" the situation becomes. What makes it so hard to see the obvious?'

"The supplies in the UN warehouse were given for Haitians. When Haitians take what's theirs, we call them looters. We suck."

"We either care and will help or we don't and won't. It's just that simple. These Haitians have less than u and are helping 1 another."

"Let's stop calling them "looters" and start admitting that we're failing at distributing aid. They are "survivors," not criminals!"

"The sun is rising. We could use some hope today. When will that aid be distributed? Looting is increasing."

"Report in: Bodies are starting to burst. Thousands of bodies still in the streets."

TV and Radio host Carel Pedre:

“Haiti Year 0...Day 4 - I have no more water, no more Doritos. I have to take a big decision today about Khara..”
 
“For Me Leaving The Country Is Not An Option even if My Family and I are running out of water and food! #haiti”

"The governement just had a press conference. The survivors are still waiting. The situation is unfortunately the same! Year 0...day 3"

Human rights journalist Josh "NiteOwl" Shahryar

Blogs about the aftermath on The Daily Nite Owl:

"Started to do some shopping today to feed journalists.Someone opened a market for us.one of few not damaged."

"Communication is frustrating.Can’t reach people in Jacmel to get news.Can’t reach people around PauP.People are still remarkably calm"

"Workers trickling in,so many have lost their homes,all their belongings.How many have lost family,home,job,neighbors? Now what? Stay?"

"I’m hearing that they’re stacking up bodies along Nazon.I saw picture of a morgue and it was a blanket of bodies.Got some help at St Gerard!"

Getty photographer Frederic Dupoux from Port-au-Prince:

"2 Hospitals in Cap-Haitien are equipped and ready to receive patients"

"We were not expecting this most of us are not equipped for survival. Places need to start opening, we all need food, water & fuel."

Jennifer Brea, the French editor of Global Voices:

Reports that Twitter is being used in rescue efforts:

"On Twitter, the tag #relativesinhaiti is being used by Haitians abroad who are still trying to locate missing relatives. Meanwhile, #rescuemehaiti is being used to direct search & rescue efforts to specific addresses around Port-au-Prince where survivors are known to be still trapped under the rubble"

Anderson Cooper, CNN

On his blog, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper posts an article by Arthur Brice, who describes the wreckage post earthquake: “The streets of Port-au-Prince resembled grainy black-and-white newsreels from World War II that showed the rubble of bombed-out houses in Berlin and London. The devastation was wide and often horrific.” He said houses are “flattened and severely damaged” and that the streets are “choked with pedestrians and residents.” He added, “Sirens could be heard at times, but the predominant sounds in the pre-dawn darkness were the shouts and screams from the thousands of people who spent the night in a dark park across the street. A rooster's crowing could sometimes be heard above the din.”

Kate Snow, ABC News

Tweeting from the scene:

"At st Gerard votech school now. They're talking w/ at least 3 ppl buried in the building still alive. Maybe as many as 20 young ppl in there"

"They have pulled 8 people out alive in last 24 hrs. These 2 guys were in separate elevators. Being in the shaft saved them"

"We just passed a sign in the middle of the road: "Help please. Movement, organization, protection of children"

Doctor John Carroll and wife Maria:

The American couple, both whom work in Haiti, blog about trying to recover from the quake in the “scandalously poor country.”

“If you think about what happens in the United States when disasters strike—everything from car accidents to N1H1 to tornados—there is a professional, adequate response—ambulances, police, doctors, government bureaucrats—lots of people tackle the problem. When I think about the people lying under the rubble in Haiti: there is no one from Haiti that is going to be coming to their rescue soon, save their families and neighbors. I just heard Anderson Cooper bemoan the fact that he had seen no heavy earth moving equipment on the scene. Welcome to Haiti, Anderson. The existing hospitals are totally inadequate for every day circumstances; there is no military, there is no National Guard, there are no ambulances or road crews, or maintenance people to fix a practically non-existent infrastructure, there is a barely functioning police department.”

Civilian Yael Talleyrand:

Tweets about damages and chaos of earthquake aftermath from Jacmel:

“there are thousands of people in the airport. & there are only three tents which house only about 50 people each.”

“the road from Port-au-prince to jacmel is cut and there's no way to pass...even on a rhino or a motorcycle.”

“and the ONLY hospital in jacmel is DOWN.”

 

Click Below to View Our Gallery of Relief Efforts in Haiti

help-in-haiti---gallery-launch

Chris and Leslie Rollings, directors of humanitarian organization Clean Water for Haiti

The aid workers described the aftermath on their blog, The State of Things. “As we were able to sit and talk more last night, he shared what he’d been through and it left me with tears[…] After he was able to help the first girl out of the building yesterday he went deeper in and found another girl. He did everything he could with what he had in the limited light and couldn’t get her out. He knew her name and had to walk away. There was no one around to help him and aftershocks were hitting. It was getting dark. I don’t understand what is going on in his heart, I can only imagine, and it breaks my heart.”

David Rothkopf

The current disaster in Haiti is not solely the result of a devastating earthquake, writes former Clinton appointee David Rothkopf in Foreign Relations. Rather, it has deep roots in both its “centuries of misfortune” and a failure on the part of the international community—and, in particular, its largest and richest neighbor, the U.S.—to help it. Rothkopf says that despite initial attempts to help Haiti in the 1990s, waning interest and “political calculations,” including decisions to focus resources and troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the part of the United States and other nations left Haiti poor and unstable. “Thousands are dead,” he concludes, “But it is not solely or even, I would argue, primarily due to an act of God. It is due to the callous neglect of neighbors who were content to live with one of the world’s poorest countries at the doorstep of the world’s richest.”

Matthew Yglesias

Daily Beast contributor Matthew Yglesias pointed out in a blog post that while Haiti is viewed as a “basketcase country,” for its poverty and political upheaval, the country had been making huge strides in the past few years, and can again.

“Part of the context for Haiti’s earthquake is that, unbeknownst to most people, we were just now in the midst of a pretty hopeful episode in Haiti’s history. Before the quake hit, Tyler Cowen was writing about this yesterday and observed that ‘Over the last year Haitian exports rose 23 percent and the country is expected to grow at a rate of 2.4 percent, only one of two countries in the Caribbean expected to have positive growth, Guyana being the other.’”

Missionary Troy Livesay, The Livesay [Haiti] Weblog:

"Many roads are blocked by fallen buildings. MANY people walking around with open and serious wounds. It is hard to travel freely to the areas you've asked us to check, that is why we don't have that information for you."

"The deceased are being dragged to the side of roads, covered in sheets and left. We don't live in the hardest hit areas but even so there are many bodies."

"Everything in Haiti (PRE earthquake) runs on generators and inverters and batteries == sometimes (pre earthquake) we get a city power current. Now there is no city current. Right now the Internet companies need to use diesel and generators to offer us service. It won't likely last ... and will come and go. We'll do our best to stay in touch. Diesel is going to go fast and will be needed for any sort of communication."