Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti, Update 2--Perilous Conditions

The critical 72-hour mark is passed for the Haitian people. Conditions will rapidly worsen for both Haiti and its international caregivers.  Everything just gets harder to resolve, whether it be an excavation, a broken leg, or just standing up. As the Reuters Alertnet home page puts it, "despair is turning to anger.' This is what I am most afraid of.

The picture above shows that shipping aid in has been compromised also by the quake. Fortunately, the airport is still functional. I imagine it is under security right now, which would be the wise and proper thing to safeguard first; supply entry and those who can help.

Reuters: "No one is running the country" which is a sure recipe for anarchy.
From their rolling updates:
a. Some people are barricading the streets with corpses, (to ambush any organized aid effort with looting and pillage.) This is probably reported a little too sensationally. Likely the bodies were already being stacked for removal and created an opportunity; part of the dire conditions. Remember also that desperation and/or theft vis-a-vis aid is not exclusive to Haiti.
b. The number of MINUSTAH personnel dead has risen to 36 as more bodies have been recovered.
c. Cuba has opened up its airbases for logistical staging of supplies and personnel.

"Port-au-Prince should be evacuated" at Firefighter blog. He's right.
Report on Conditions explains the logistic challenges to aid relief in a good outline form.
The South Kansas City Observer finds video of the actual quake; no bells, no whistles, just the power of nature.

Background papers for care providers and interested people at, both in easy to read pdf.
1. A forty-page summary on lessons from 29 different earthquake relief efforts. Looks good. The first 15 pages are the important ones right now.
2. A thirty-one page summary on lessons from urban disasters. Also looks good.
If you can't read it all, read the first page table of contents for the principles/priorities.

Pictures are from the Big Picture blog.


The Observer said...

Ann T.

Thanks for the referral again. Folks may have found that the video was "removed by user". CBS pulled the video down so they could splash "exclusive" on it, then repost it. My link is fixed and it should work now.

When I viewed it to make sure it worked, I noted the poor befuddled bicyclist wobbling as the shaking began. As I said, the most terrifying of natural disasters.

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
You've been doing great work covering this disaster.

What I like about the blogs I have seen is that they aren't sensationalizing anything, but trying to give people information.

That video shows the magnitude of force in a way no prose can match.

So thank you!
Ann T.

Slamdunk said...

Well said. The organizational needs are beyond the scope of the current regime there. Hopefully, they will move quickly to work with others rather than try to hold power in the wake of this unreal disaster.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Absolutely. My guess is that the official government will give way,and Minustah will prop up with other aid forces. But it's the unofficial government, e.g., gangs, that will be the problem, combined with everyday desperation.

Thanks for writing in.

Ann T.