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Earthquake and Aftermath in Haiti
A woman stands in the rubble of her home the day after an earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. (AP)

A woman stands in the rubble of her home the day after an earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. (AP)

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Bodies everywhere in Haiti today. In the streets. In the rubble. And the living, up against challenges that are getting tougher.

Relief is starting to trickle in. But it is coming into a scene of overwhelming earthquake disaster.

In this hour, we will go to Haiti. We’ll talk with officials at the top of the relief effort. We’ll team up with a Haitian radio station in Florida to learn what can be known.

And we’ll take your calls, your news and insights from family and relief workers in Haiti.

This hour, On Point: the epic earthquake and its aftermath in Haiti.


Joining us from Port-au-Prince is Ivan Watson, correspondent for CNN.  See CNN’s complete coverage.

Joining us from Miami is Carol Rosenberg, foreign correspondent for The Miami Herald, where she’s covering the Haiti quake

Joining us from West Palm Beach, Florida, is Ralph Cheriza, political commentator for radio station WPBR and formerly a journalist and commentator in Haiti.

Joining us from New York is Sir John Holmes, Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations and Emergency Relief Coordinator for Haiti.

With us in our studio is Ophelia Dahl, executive director of Partners in Health, the Boston-based non-profit health care organization she co-founded with Paul Farmer, which has done extensive work in Haiti. See PIH’s updates on the Haiti situation.

And from Golden, Colorado, we’re joined by Paul Earle, seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey.

More links:

How to help: WBUR offers links to resources for those who want to help in the Haiti relief effort.  Also see Help Haiti on Twitter.

The BBC News live coverage of the Haiti quake is updated constantly. Here’s a BBC video showing an aerial view of the quake damage in Port-au-Prince.  The New York Times news blog, The Lede, has continuous updates on the news from Haiti. 

NPR.org has a gallery of photos from the quake’s aftermath.

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  • Anne Greene

    Please address the differences in response by the American government between the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina.

    Is there any chance the country of Haiti could be made a protectorate of the UN for a decade in order to rebuild the physical infrastructure and restructure the government?

    My best hope going forward is that the UN, US and international community build the infrastructure using local labor – allowing the Haitians to gain some income, skills, and basic services.

  • cory

    I’ve always understood Haiti to be the most impoverished nation in the western hemisphere. I also have always heard that Haiti is perpetually ruled by buffoons and despots. You’d have to imagine that great suffering is a daily reality for Haitians.

    Why then does it take a natural disaster for the world community to decide that Haitians need help? Will assistance end when they are returned to their normal abject poverty and hopelessness? We humans certainly are an odd bunch…

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    The Philippine Government has been helping Haiti for awhile now.

    There are 450 Filipinos doing business with the Haitian people from manufacturing,develop and peacekeeping.

    The Papal Nuncio of Haiti ( A Filipino) is truly devastated of the death of the ArchBishop of Haiti.

    United Nation had suffered a lot all over the world and other 150 UN workers are missing in Haiti including 2 Filipinos peacekeepers.

    The Philippines are sending additional Peacekeepers to help the Haiti and to assist the Filipino workers.

    Mabuhay Ang Haiti (Long Live Haiti)

  • Brian

    From http://www.state.gov:

    To help with relief efforts, text “HAITI” to “90999″ and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill.

  • JG Mc Laren

    Haiti, historically was a colony of the French. They systematically raped that country of all its natural resources and left it the most impoverished and illeterate country in the western hemisphere…

    My question is, “What are the French doing for Haiti right about now?”

  • Melissa

    As a recently registered architect, I am deeply concerned that an international organization’s building (the UN) collapsed in this earthquake. I understand that, sadly, an impoverished nation may not have the means to use best building practices for its buildings. But if an organization is in Haiti to help/aid the country, shouldn’t its building serve as a safe place for the workers and citizens it is trying to reach?

  • emily hoffman

    In response to the caller who was asking about the Dominican Republic, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and my husband is currently down there. While I have had no success in calling anyone in the DR, I have received a few emails from my contacts on the island and there was no physical effect from the earthquake aside from feeling the tremors. According to my contacts, NGOs that are located in the DR are rushing to provide services and supplies to their neighboring country. The Dominican government and military have also been mobilized. A Dominican Air Force plane with a 20-seat capacity has be sent to Haiti immediately with medical and rescue personnel, dogs and medicines. There has also been a great exodus of Haitians living along the border in the DR who are heading to Port-Au-Prince to find their families.

  • gary gilbert

    Many of the collapsed homes are concrete blocks and mortar with no reinforcing. What has been the success of past efforts in other developing countries after an earthquake to get them to rebuild with reinforcing so that fewer buildings collapse in a quake? This will inform the rebuilding efforts after the human tragedy is dealt with. What next for buildings? Has anything worked in the past? Is a donation of massive quantities of recycled steel rebar going to help, etc…?

  • jeff

    My sister, Janet Brubacher, who works in Haiti with “save the children” was inside the airport when the earth shook. Her narrowing escape from the airport and report of the day after in this email is quite an insight into the reality of the situation.


    Bondye bon! I am okay and have been trying all night to reach you all but none of my phones work.

    I was at the airport waiting for Linny up in the second floor diplomatic lounge when the first erathquake struck. My brain refused to accept what my eyes saw- those walls were moving and the floor was jumping? When the roof started falling down I aimed for the stairs knowing I had to get out fast but movement wasn’t working very well with that heaving floor; I fell down the first step lost my shoes my wallet went flying climbed back up the stairs to get my wallet and then slid on my butt the rest of the way down the steps shoe and wallet in hand dodging the flying pieces of metal and ceiling. Something grazed my arm with no serious injuries. Arrived outside to a welcome silence so different from the deep explosive rumbling sounds inside and let out a shreak and a woop of joy and relief, so glad to be alive but trembling so much I couldn’t stand up. Once I caught my breath, and my heart beat slowed I put on my shoes and moved the car away from the building and parked on the other side of the street tried to make phone calls. Strangers hugged me, lots of hand slapping, everyone just so happy to have survived.

    Headed in my car for the MINUSTAH base a couple of miles down the road, and within minutes, as the sun set, there were hundreds of people running pell mell amongst the 4 rows of traffic in a 2 lane road. Saw the clouds of dust rising from the mountain ridge above me, heard people wailing, saw pickup trucks piled with wounded, others being carried piggy back. Then it was dark and I was still far from the base, stuck in traffic with the radio playing 99 point heaven sweet FM. Yes, true, and how it gave me hope that my world still existed. Turned off the engine and talked with people in vehicles next to me. Everyone worried about family members and so glad to be spared themselves. And where is Linda? I caught the tail end of a siren-blaring UN cortege that passed me and pulled up in front of the UN base and with the help of my Save the Children license plate I talked my way into the logistics base for the UN stabilization force military base. And here I remain sheltered.

    That was yesterday evening. I just came from the hangar where they are treating wounded. I stopped in to pick up a bandaid to prevent a full blown blister on my foot. Its a trek to get around this huge compound and I’ve been relaying messages to their command center from stranded UN people who reported to our office in Petionville. Now I have sore feet. As I taped on my own gauze I got caught up with various pleas ‘just a drink of water; please, where am I?; is there a doctor?; are they going to cut of my leg?’ Tears burn my eyes now as I see 10 year old Jonas shadowing me as I give water to patients laying on army cots in the improvised hospital, asking me to please put him in my car and take him to Champs Mars cuz he knows he can find his way home from there. His 2 little brothers died and his uncle put him in the caravan to treat his broken wrist and head contusions. Lots of wrecked bodies and lots of demand for body bags.

    I keep in touch with Save the Children office via 2-way radio but my mobile radio battery discharges rapidly and so I shuffle back and forth from the Chief of Operations office to use the car radio. UN returning patrols bring unbelieveable news of the destruction. No helicpters move after dark so rescuing must wait. At 3 am I snuggle into the back seat of the Patrol trying to keep the cold and the mosquitoes at bay.

    A Save the Children employee did a reconaissance on motorcycle around the city and determined my apartment building is still standing. I’m waiting permission to leave this safe haven where, unbelievably there is no food, no telephone access and no internet access. I masqueraded as a UN employee to get aces to this computer in the training center. You see, I have a 2-way radio, a big status symbol! which gains me access to many places. Finally I can communicate and I feel releived.

    I’m heading back to the hospital to give another hand until the 5 pm humanitarian emergency response meeting planned here on this compound. Later I hope to make it home tonight for food and a shower. I will do my best to keep in touch with you.

    So thankful to be alive and full of love for you all.


    Please share my good news.

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    The French already send help to Haiti JG Mc Laren.
    They are the first European country to send supplies and people to Haiti. The first Asian country to send help are the Philippines and China.

    China donated cash,supplies and men to help the Haitians but the Philippines can only afford manpower like soldiers and medical staff but with some supplies coming for Philippine Embassies in Cuba and South America.

  • DrSkylaser

    Anybody remember the website of that local hospital 70 miles north of Port-au-Prince? Can’t find it, would like to donate and tweet the link. . .

  • Jeremy Baker

    Refined sugar is an excellent antibiotic for wounds, superficial and deep…
    I’m trying to find an early 1980′s paper detailing a major surgery (laceration removed all skin from back of leg) that healed over several months using nothing other than refined sugar, no antibiotics used.
    Sugar affects the bacteria’s ability to absorb water, doesn’t kill but inhibits growth and will keep dirty wounds from infection.

  • A Bishop

    Call Pat Robertson’s “700 Club” @ 1 (800) 759-0700 to give them your opinion of his comments about Haiti. It costs them about $1 to pick up each 800 call.

  • http://ncpr stillin

    There needs to be a physical address to send checks to. According to the cnn poll…almost 70% of listeners are not giving, and right now, the biggest amount of people are sending money by cash or check…yet nowhere is there an address to send the check to. I just wondered if anyone else is noticing this…so , a physical address please on the front website of the Haiti news…I know you can go to the redcross, or yele, Wyclef’s organization…but there needs to be an address pronto.

  • https://community.elca.org/NetCommunity/SSLPage.aspx?pid=538 Elizabeth Yenchko

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) through the Lutheran World Federation, is already responding to the critical needs of survivors in Haiti. Thankfully, the LWF offices and staff on the island were spared in the earthquake, making it possible for work to begin immediately. Staff there will focus their immediate efforts on issues of water safety and sanitation, assisting with medical triage, and providing emergency sheltering for the many who are now homeless. The ELCA has long-standing relationships in Haiti through several organizations and the Lutheran Church in Haiti. International partnerships include Church World Service and ACT (Action by Churches Together).

    In anticipation of your generous gifts, ELCA Disaster Response has authorized $250,000 for immediate relief assistance in Haiti, with the possibility for an additional $500,000 as the full scope of this disaster continues to become clear. Your gifts are needed now to make this type of rapid response possible.

    Please hold the people of Haiti in your prayers, both in your personal time of devotion and together with your family, friends and communities of faith.

    Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response help us to provide immediate and effective support to communities which are in need. Please consider giving to support the needs of this response and others like it. Information on giving is provided in the website link attached. 100% of your gift will be used in full to bring life sustaining support to this crisis. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.

    Note: While volunteers, especially skilled workers, will likely be needed in the coming months, the situation on the ground is still far too chaotic – no water, no power, few roads, and very limited communication – to support volunteers traveling to the area in the immediate days.

  • Elizabeth Yenchko

    The ELCA website address for donations to Haiti disaster relief is: https://community.elca.org/NetCommunity/SSLPage.aspx?pid=538

  • Jeremy Baker

    Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1983 May;23(5):766-73.
    In vitro study of bacterial growth inhibition in concentrated sugar solutions: microbiological basis for the use of sugar in treating infected wounds.

    Chirife J, Herszage L, Joseph A, Kohn ES.

    The use of sugar for the treatment of infected wounds was investigated in in vitro experiments with bacteria pathogenic to humans, such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Staphylococcus aureus. Studies showed that solutions of appropriate sugar concentration incubated at pH 7.0 and 35 degrees C were lethal to the bacterial species studied. On the basis of these results, it is proposed that an important function of sugar in the treatment of infected wounds is to create an environment of low water activity (aw), which inhibits or stresses bacterial growth.

    Todays Surg Nurse. 1997 May-Jun;19(3):28-30.
    A bag full of sugar. Surgeons find that ordinary table sugar is a sweet adjunct to conventional treatment of deep wound healing.

    Beadling L.

    Table sugar used as an adjunct to antibiotics may be effective in treating deep wound infections. Filling infected wounds with sugar has been practiced for centuries in some countries.

  • KathyOlwell

    Does anyone know the website they were talking about, where one could search for family in Port au Prince? Please post it here or on the On Point page. Thanks

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    To All Haitian Facebook,Twitter and Texting are the main sources of communication in Haiti.

    Please be careful of SCAMS from organizations that are not legal to distribute or receive donations.

    Please be careful where you send your donations. thank you

  • http://www.filipinoboston.blogspot.com akilez

    In order for Haitian to GET OUT OF POVERTY.

    The Haitian people should EDUCATE THEMSELVES.

    We Filipinos are not better than the Haitian people but a lot of Filipino poor went to school to finish High School, College or Vocational Education in order to rise up from Poverty. To Leave the Philippines to be nurses,doctors etc etc in America and Europe.

    A lot of my Filipino Friends were poor but now they make more money them ME.

    Education is the answer to Poverty.

  • yolette ibokette

    Wings of Hope is the only school in Haiti that serves people with mental and physical handicaps. It has two locations. In Haitian society, most people with disabilities are shunned and ridiculed. Many end up living on the streets. I just learned that one of the locations was completely destroyed by the earthquake, while the other suffered structural damage. Luckily all the residents were outside of the schools at the time of the earthquake. These residents have no other place to go. These schools must be rebuilt immediately.

    To donate, go to: heartsofhaiti.org. Thanks.

  • Tom Manthey

    Another place to donate money is to The California Institute of Earthen Technology. Calearth.org. They have developed buildings built of sandbags and barb wire. In Southern California they have the building permits for earthquake zone 4. They are simple, strong and easy to build.

    As for the dire poverty. Howard Zinn in his book A People’s History of America points out with Haiti being nearly 100%
    Black the White power structure in the US would not tolerate a prosperous, sovereign nation in the Western Hemisphere…much less one a stone’s throw from the Southern United States.

  • Tom Knuckey

    We have not been able to find my good friend Lee Strickland who was staying at the Montana Hotel. PLease get his name out. We have not been able to find out any information on him.

  • PValdez

    In reference to the caller’s inquiry about the participation of the Dominican Republic, please refer to the official Presidential website where it list all the actions DR has taken in aiding Haiti. The Dominican Republic was the first responders in the ground controlling Haiti’s airport and immediately sent a plane with doctor, medicine and supplies, and rescue dogs. Moreover, the DR has sent trucks of water, food and additional supplies. The DR has opened its border to allow Haitians to be treated at their hospitals and is working in restoring the power and clean water in Haiti. Lastly, DR is providing a route for all international aid to get to Haiti given the unfortunate circumstances of Haiti’s port and airport. If you want more detail information please refer to these links: http://www.presidencia.gob.do/app/frontpage.aspx. May the creator help and bless Haiti in this time of extreme hardship.

  • David Bodman

    HEalth and welfare information is being collected by the Salvation Army through their SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) via Amateur Radio.

    H&W info requests can be entered on the SATERN webpage, http://www.satern.org.

    Please, Tom, in future broadcasts do mention the efforts provided by Amateur Radio as the ultimate “fallback” of all disaster response. We do a lot, all voluntry, with our own equipment, and get little publicity for it. Several times I have heard people like Gov. Mitt Romney say things like “We don’t need Amateur Radio”, but when the fit hits the shan, they always fall back on us.

    I can help with connections if you’re interested in researching the role of Amateur Radio in disasters further.

  • harthad

    For Dr Skylaser: The intact hospital north of Port-au-Prince that was mentioned by a caller is the Good Samaritan. They are accepting donations on the website, http://www.hbslimbe.org/

  • Janet

    The rest of the world turned their back on Haiti and obama once again.

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    I think that it’s critically important that people get over this notion of looting. It does much more harm than good. I was in Louisiana after Katrina, and the talk of looters in the media made everyone so paranoid that they locked up their waterlogged houses. If they had left their doors and windows open, their houses might have dried out and some of their stuff could have been salvaged, but because they closed them up, not only all of the stuff, but the entire house it self became unusable because of mold that covered everything.

    Now they aren’t going to get mold in Haiti, but having guards with guns standing around protecting what little is left intact is silly when there is so much more important work to be done. Who cares about all of the stuff in stores? It’s more valuable in the hands of someone who needs it than it will ever be on the shelf in a month. It’s such a waste of resources to try to secure some crappy manufactured goods when there are lives that can be saved. The value of man-made stuff cannot even be compared to the value of human life. The fact that people in our culture even waste precious time mentioning looting shows how petty the priorities of our culture are.

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