Friday, January 15, 2010

Dateline Port-au-Prince

President Obama was finally able to get through to the President of Haiti, after several failed attempts due to the country's severely damaged infrastructure. According to CBS News, Rene Preval said that “the needs in his country are great, but that aid is now making its way to the Haitian people. Preval ended the call with a message to the American people, saying ‘from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Haitian people, thank you, thank you, thank you.


As this is written, the US Army 82nd Airborne is already on location, assisting not only with search and rescue efforts, but with policing the capital. CBS News reports on gangs roving the streets with machetes, with looting and hoarding of emergency aid becoming rampant. NBC News reports on US Coast Guard medical corpsmen in some areas of the country, who are tending to the wounded. They have an immediate need for surgical personnel, who are still days away.

So great is the devastation, that Haiti has lost the ability to take care of itself. The USA plans to send more than 10,000 military personnel by next week. But the ports are closed and the roads are damaged, and the ability to physically get any help at all to where it is needed, remains the biggest challenge.

Meanwhile, if you are a doctor or a nurse and want to assist, JetBlue is offering free flights to Haiti. Call the Haitian Consolate in New York City at 212-697-9760, or e-mail "contact at haitianconsulate-nyc dot org."

Through it all, NBC's Ann Curry says that “the heart of America has opened up.”

Let's keep it up, America. HOO-rah!

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