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Haitian Earthquake
January 12, 2010 4:21 PM   Subscribe

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake centered near Port-au-Prince, Haiti has caused major devastation. (CNN link).

NY Times coverage.
USGS coverage.
Wycleff Jean appeals for aid (CNN video).
Quake is a "catastrophe of major proportions." (CBS News coverage).
Haitian radio station websites, some with live streaming.
posted by fourcheesemac (294 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just when you think things can't get worse for Haiti.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:25 PM on January 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


3.5 million or so living in clapboard houses with already insufficient healthcare and sanitation facilities. This is going to be horrific.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 4:26 PM on January 12, 2010


How awful... lots of big seismic activity recently, but this one seems like the biggest in a terrible place for it to have happened.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:28 PM on January 12, 2010


Where are the lwa? Who watches out for Haiti? Is there no end to their misery?

I donate money to Haitian charities with some regularity. My heart bleeds for that country, and I just don't think it's a wound that will ever be staunched.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:32 PM on January 12, 2010


Poor Haiti, things just go from bad to worse. What terrible news.
posted by Forktine at 4:34 PM on January 12, 2010


Fuck. That breaks my heart. Getting aid there seems to be such a problem under "normal" circumstances - this is horrible.
I really feel the need to do something and I guess the only thing I am able to do is give some small donation.
Does anyone know the best charity to give for this disaster?? Wyclef's Yele Haiti?? Unicef? International Medical Corps??
posted by beccaj at 4:38 PM on January 12, 2010


I heard about this on NPR while driving home from work. My first thought was pretty much what Forktine said. Some places just never seem to get a break. Then to make it worse, the first report of major damage is evidently a hospital that collapsed. Just awful.
posted by Babblesort at 4:39 PM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by yeloson at 4:45 PM on January 12, 2010


Holy Shit.

.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:46 PM on January 12, 2010


Haiti deserves a lovequake, not an earthquake.
posted by shii at 4:47 PM on January 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


Jesus, this is awful.
posted by rollbiz at 4:47 PM on January 12, 2010


The Chinese will do anything to get our minds off this Google thing.

But seriously ...
posted by philip-random at 4:48 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good lord. As if things weren't bad enough there.
posted by lekvar at 4:49 PM on January 12, 2010


IMHO, there is no better place to send donations earmarked for Haiti than Partners In Health, www.pih.org. Their overhead is as thin as they can make it, and they probably have people on the ground right now (judging from their quick and pragmatic response to last year's floods).
posted by homerica at 4:51 PM on January 12, 2010 [24 favorites]


IMHO, there is no better place to send donations earmarked for Haiti than Partners In Health, www.pih.org. Their overhead is as thin as they can make it, and they probably have people on the ground right now (judging from their quick and pragmatic response to last year's floods).

I met someone who worked with them, and based on both that and the books I've read by Paul Farmer, I think this is a really good suggestion.
posted by Forktine at 4:59 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Médicins sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders is working in Haiti.
posted by Lebannen at 5:05 PM on January 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, no.
posted by brundlefly at 5:06 PM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by _paegan_ at 5:07 PM on January 12, 2010


.

What can we do to help?
posted by flippant at 5:11 PM on January 12, 2010


If anyone finds a link to streaming radio from Haiti that is actually working, please share it. I've tried a number of stations to no avail...
posted by rollbiz at 5:11 PM on January 12, 2010


Same for any live tweets you find - service is spotty at best, but if you find someone, a link would be appreciated.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:14 PM on January 12, 2010


I made a donation to PIH -- thanks very much for the link, homerica.
posted by lisa g at 5:18 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pictures are appearing on flickr. it's terrible, the poor, poor, fucked over country.
posted by Rumple at 5:18 PM on January 12, 2010


What can we do to help?

I appreciate lebbanen's suggestion.
posted by bearwife at 5:24 PM on January 12, 2010


Haiti Quake Twitter feed (LA Times)

Live streaming with chat
posted by desjardins at 5:24 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Twitter-er on the ground
posted by ersatzkat at 5:26 PM on January 12, 2010


Another
posted by ersatzkat at 5:26 PM on January 12, 2010


The weather forecast shows tomorrow's high at 90 degrees and rising every day until Sunday when it peaks at 96 degrees. Those temperatures are really stressful to exert yourself in even if it's typical of where you are from and you have plenty of clean water.
Then, though I didn't expect the pre-quake situation to be great I had to investigate and I went and read this:"In Haiti, contaminated water is the leading cause of infant mortality and illness in children. Germs for hepatitis, cholera, and chronic diarrhea are carried in water used for cooking and drinking. Nearly every water source in Haiti has become contaminated with human waste because of the absence of a sewage sanitation system."
Gah - clean water now please.
posted by vapidave at 5:26 PM on January 12, 2010


Thanks desjardins and ersatzkat.
posted by rollbiz at 5:28 PM on January 12, 2010


Aristide and the endless revolution
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P77s-SeA8rs
posted by robbyrobs at 5:34 PM on January 12, 2010


Any tips for donating quickly? Via SMS? etc?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 5:38 PM on January 12, 2010


@NPRnews has a similar feed
posted by ersatzkat at 5:39 PM on January 12, 2010


SMS donation via YELE
posted by ersatzkat at 5:41 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Island + High population density + Extreme poverty + Poor building codes and no infrastructure + 7.0 earthquake.

It's gonna be bad.
posted by tkchrist at 5:42 PM on January 12, 2010


American Red Cross releasing supplies housed in Panama - you can donate via the International Relif Fund @ this link.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:45 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


how do you donate money via text message?
posted by any major dude at 6:06 PM on January 12, 2010


A friend is a nurse (in the US) and wants to go volunteer and help out. Anybody know of a way for her to do that? Are there organizations who take volunteer medical professionals in this kind of situation?
posted by lullaby at 6:22 PM on January 12, 2010


"how do you donate money via text message?"

I make no claims whatsoever but saw on Twitter " Me too: I just texted "yele" 2 (to) 501501 & donated $5 2 @wyclef 's relief efforts in haiti. Reply w/word "YES" 4 confirmation"
posted by vapidave at 6:23 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've donated to This American Life/WBEZ via text message. It's as easy as it sounds.
posted by rollbiz at 6:25 PM on January 12, 2010


Typically cash is the best thing you can offer (definitely not bulky supplies that need cash to be shipped anyways). Volunteers need to be fed and housed so it's often not a very good idea to think in those terms.

Here's hoping the damage and death toll are as limited as possible.
posted by bardic at 6:26 PM on January 12, 2010


The US Geological Survey's map of population exposure
posted by cr_joe at 6:27 PM on January 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


MSNBC reports that the presidential palace, UN HQ and other central government buildings are flattened. Yikes. I really hope Clinton and the elder Bush mobilize quickly, along with some other high profile people, and get the donations flowing in. No doubt we'll see a major telethon fund drive soon. I hope Haiti gets a break soon. They were the first independent country in Latin America, and founded by revolting slaves just 30 years after the US Declaration of Independence. The rest of the "developed" world has not made it easy for them since. Please spare a few dollars for them now.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:02 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every time something like happens, people ask how to help. By all means offer a hand now , but the best way is to donate regularly to those NGO's who never cease struggling to improve the lot of those less fortunate.

As always, The Red Cross, World Vision, and Doctors Without Borders are deserving recipients for those who can afford it. Being on the ground and poised to spring into action are key in such cases.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:07 PM on January 12, 2010


An NGO affiliated eyewitness is on CNN now describing an eerie soundscape of alternating terrified screaming and cheering when someone is pulled from the rubble.

Holy fuck.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:13 PM on January 12, 2010


The Palais National has indeed collapsed.
posted by rollbiz at 7:14 PM on January 12, 2010


Montana hotel destroyed, helicopter evacuation reported.

Wycliffe about to appear live with Cooper on CNN.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:15 PM on January 12, 2010


mr. desjardins told me we'd donated to the Red Cross while I was at work.

(and since it hasn't been spelled correctly yet, this guy's name is Wyclef)
posted by desjardins at 7:24 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"the world is coming to an end" YT video of dust over Haiti
posted by desjardins at 7:26 PM on January 12, 2010


Daniel Morel's photos (WARNING: GRAPHIC)
posted by rollbiz at 7:28 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


rollbiz is not kidding. some of those will break your heart.
posted by desjardins at 7:30 PM on January 12, 2010


Shit. I just found out my father is there. The only reason I can imagine him going there is to look into post-retirement medical volunteer work (he's a retired surgeon). Whether he survived or not (I still don't know -- just got wind of this), what an ironic and terrible thing to have happen.
posted by strangeguitars at 7:31 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


10 on the Modified Mercalli in many areas? Oh that's not good.
posted by Big_B at 7:39 PM on January 12, 2010


Holy shit, that's horrible strangeguitars...! I don't even know what else to say other than that I really hope he's fine and please keep us updated.
posted by rollbiz at 7:41 PM on January 12, 2010


how do you donate money via text message?

If you follow the instructions, $5 will be put on your next phone bill, as I understand it.
posted by Jimbob at 7:42 PM on January 12, 2010


vapidave: "rising every day until Sunday when it peaks at 96 degrees."

Pretty much everywhere, it's gonna be hot.

.

God help them.
posted by mwhybark at 8:03 PM on January 12, 2010


Whether he survived or not (I still don't know -- just got wind of this), what an ironic and terrible thing to have happen.

I hope he survived unscathed and is helping out right now.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:40 PM on January 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hugs, hugs, hugs to strangeguitars, to strangeguitars's dad, and to everyone else caught up in this nightmare. Ugh. It's more than I can wrap my mind around.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 8:42 PM on January 12, 2010


homerica and Forktine, thanks for your recommendations. The only worse to me than voiceful inaction is contributing to those who profit from misery.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:00 PM on January 12, 2010


@b1tr0t: I hope so too. If he's alive, I'm sure he'll be pulling an all-nighter tonight.

@palmcorder: thanks! :)

My sister just told me that the organization he went with is Lumiere Mission. She also said that he might have gone to King's Organization or Hospital of Peace. Any info about the current state of those two places would be greatly appreciated.

As far as who he is, he's this guy.
posted by strangeguitars at 9:04 PM on January 12, 2010


I'm sure he'll be pulling an all-nighter tonight.

I should have wished that he's not exhausting himself. I've got a few MDs in my extended family as well, and every one of them would be working themselves to exhaustion if they were in Haiti today. I'm sure your dad would do the same.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:23 PM on January 12, 2010


God. Poor Haiti.
posted by rtha at 9:52 PM on January 12, 2010


My heart is breaking. The driver/guide and translator for our group when I went down there in 2008 both live in Port au Prince, and I have literally no way of knowing if they're okay. I will doing a lot of praying, and sending money to PIH (thanks for the link).
posted by sarahsynonymous at 10:28 PM on January 12, 2010


.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:30 PM on January 12, 2010


Que Lastima!

.
posted by schyler523 at 10:38 PM on January 12, 2010


I've just donated $10 to the Red Cross, the absolute bare minimum I feel I can do. You don't have to be a great world news geek to know how hard Haiti struggles in the face of poverty, and to be dealt this card is absolutely devastating to watch. I've been following tweets since the first quake hit, and then took a break for a few hours. To return and discover there have been over 20 aftershocks of serious strength since the first... I am speechless. My heart goes out to every single person there, and may the death toll be less than expected.
posted by saturnine at 11:38 PM on January 12, 2010


Before and after pictures of the Presidential Palace.

If no one died in there, it would be a miracle.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:21 AM on January 13, 2010


Thanks for the PIH link, homerica.

Easiest way to send a donation to help out.
posted by bwg at 12:56 AM on January 13, 2010


For those who want to help Haiti, please consider sending donations to The What If? Foundation.

The What If Foundation was formed in 2000 by
Father Gerard Jean-Juste, with the goal of caring for poor children in the shantytown of Ti Plas Kazo. It has been tremendously effective at mobilizing local people to help feed Haiti's poorest children.

Unlike many others in Haiti, the father spoke out against the return of the military dictators after the coup against Aristide... and he suffered for it.

Giving to the organization he started is a great way to keep donated funds out of the hands of dictators, their cronies, or merely having to pay the oftentimes expensive salaries of western NGO workers.

Instead, it puts the money directly into the hand of local volunteers who already have a very successful track record of providing aid to their fellow Haitians, so that they can rebuild their country from the ground up.

Please help spread the news about the What If? Foundation. They're a good cause and could clearly use all the help they can get.
posted by markkraft at 4:13 AM on January 13, 2010


.

I am a survivor of (was about 10 miles from the epicenter when it hit) the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.

It was about as strong as this one. I'm not interested in taking any limelight or anything, just wanted to say that the experience really cannot be described well. Your mind tries to go into bullet time, but it can't, so you come away with snatches. I remember a sound (its baby cousin you can sometimes catch when massive central HVAC systems in huge east coast buildings fire up - I found that out through PTSD-like experiences later). I remember running on ground that acted like the cakewalk in a carnival. I remember brick and stone buildings and chimneys falling down. I remember, in the same way, walking home because no one was willing to drive anywhere.

Loma Prieta was in California. A rich part. We had relatively good infrastructure and rescue services. It took days to get back on our feet if not weeks and months to recover fully.

My mind shuts down again when I try to consider what it's like for the people of Haiti.
posted by kalessin at 4:38 AM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


From today's NY Times:

Louise Ivers, the clinical director of the aid group Partners in Health, said in an e-mail to her colleagues: “Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS . . . Temporary field hospital by us at UNDP needs supplies, pain meds, bandages. Please help us.”
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:07 AM on January 13, 2010


If any mods are reading, maybe we could get this thread side-barred before it scrolls of the front page. I am sure in the coming days many mefites will want to help and could use the links and suggestions now here and sure to be posted in the next few days.

This is going to be a disaster on an epic scale when they start counting bodies this morning. It's not going to scroll of the front page of history for a while.

One's heart just breaks for the people. The photos emerging of dust-covered children wandering the streets crying are just too much to look at. Even the photos of dead bodies are not as wrenching.

Just headed over to Partners in Health to give $100, as a start. Let's pump up the MeFi giving apparatus. Haiti needs all our help.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:33 AM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Amateur radio operators have been asked to keep 7045 and 3720 kHz clear for communications but early reports are there's nothing coming out of Port-au-Prince.
posted by tommasz at 5:55 AM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


It looks like the internet is still up, at least in parts! Reliant on electric holding out too, of course.

Richard Morse is/was twittering from Hotel Oloffson here (if their generator is gone, so is the internet...) It looks like Petionville is relatively safe, but Bellair is in chaos. Delmas is okay, as far as I can tell. The Montana and Christopher Hotels are flattened -- particularly bad news, as MINUSTAH headquarters were (in part? in whole?) at the Christopher. Oloffson is okay, but the big building behind it is flattened.

Jacmel, Cap Hatian and Aux Cayes were apparently also affected. I'm getting most of my news from word-of-mouth (knowing some people who know some people, as you do!) and the Corbett list.
posted by kalimac at 6:22 AM on January 13, 2010


FYI: The Red Cross is now accepting donations for the relief effort in Haiti. Text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10.
posted by rollbiz at 6:29 AM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just headed over to Partners in Health to give $100, as a start. Let's pump up the MeFi giving apparatus. Haiti needs all our help.

Awesome. I gave $5. Not much but it helps. Here's an NPR story on PIH (founded in 1987).
posted by cashman at 8:04 AM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know some folks who've had the opportunity to work with Dr. Farmer. PIH does great work. Donation made.
posted by pointystick at 8:44 AM on January 13, 2010


CNN is reporting that "hundreds of thousands" are dead.
posted by something something at 9:28 AM on January 13, 2010


A list of charitable organizations active in the nation.
posted by ericb at 10:15 AM on January 13, 2010


I'm stunned. I'm numb.

In the past I've volunteered in Port-au-Prince at St. Vincent's Center for Handicapped Children. I can't even fathom the misery the staff and children must be going through.
posted by ericb at 10:18 AM on January 13, 2010


Biggest need: More people on the ground in haiti reporting into http://haiti.ushahidi.com and spreading the word
posted by infini at 10:20 AM on January 13, 2010


A good source of information: The Daily Haitian Times.
posted by ericb at 10:20 AM on January 13, 2010


sorry, that is biggest need from them, just cut and pasted, not to imply that there are not other far far bigger needs on the ground
posted by infini at 10:20 AM on January 13, 2010


Nthing sidebarring this one - I've been checking it regularly from the front page.

My heart is breaking for these people.
posted by futureisunwritten at 10:28 AM on January 13, 2010


.

I fucking hate that the news today is all about the white Americans who are okay in Haiti. Don't worry guys! Everything is okay! No white Americans were harmed!
posted by shakespeherian at 10:48 AM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes to sidebarring, please! It's more than a current events thread, there's a lot of good information in here about how to help.
posted by rollbiz at 10:53 AM on January 13, 2010


CNN is reporting that "hundreds of thousands" are dead.
I just saw CNN a few minutes ago, and what it actually reported is that the President (or perhaps Prime Minister, I forget) of Haiti said that he expects there to be hundreds of thousands dead.

I truly hope that he was exaggerating, in order to improve the chances of much-needed donations and other aid.
posted by Flunkie at 10:56 AM on January 13, 2010


Don't be surprised if there are a half million dead within a few months. Unless there is a massive deployment of UN troops to keep order and assist in aid distribution and reconstruction, chaos may begin to become the law all over Haiti.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:01 AM on January 13, 2010


Here's an older picture of the Port-au-Prince skyline. I wonder if any of the tall buildings in the background are still standing.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:27 AM on January 13, 2010


Yes, please sidebar this.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:45 AM on January 13, 2010


CNN's Anderson Cooper describes the devastation he is witnessing in Port-au-Prince.
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on January 13, 2010


According to one of my sources some of our military is already on the way-they got a six hour notice before shipping out. I don't even want to think of what they are facing when they get there but so glad we are sending people to help.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:51 AM on January 13, 2010


Airport landing lights not functional, which would mean relief flights have to cease after dark unless someone can get down there with some mobile strip lights and radar.

Looking at the pictures and calculating the delay in getting heavy equipment and medical facilities in place, the certainty that fire and disease and death from dehydration are about to follow in waves and that nothing can really be done to stop that now, only to limit it, and factoring in the godawful infrastructure and the density of the population, I think half a million is very much within the realm of possibility here. If the China or Pakistan or Qum quakes had happened under large population centers (granting that the sheer extent of the China quake took in a lot of population overall), or in areas where there was no capacity for response (granted that Pakistan took a long time to get in, but the population density was so much lower), those already monstrous tolls could easily have tripled or quadrupled in the ensuing weeks.

This will end up ranking just below the banda aceh tsunami in loss of life, I fear. I heard someone on CNN compare it to Hurricane Katrina. I'm afraid that was a matinee of Mary Poppins by comparison with what is already irreversibly happening in Haiti.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:01 PM on January 13, 2010


if you ask pat robertson, the haitians had it coming.
posted by nadawi at 12:25 PM on January 13, 2010


Seriously, I'm not even prepared to talk about the Pat Robertson thing without accidentally wringing the neck of someone nearby me in sheer, unfocused fury.
posted by rollbiz at 12:28 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Limbaugh is also being predictably classy.
posted by brundlefly at 12:29 PM on January 13, 2010


Robertson is talking about Boukman. Boukman's prayer was to the god of the island people, "the god who created the earth."

Pat Robertson is a moran.
posted by billysumday at 12:32 PM on January 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


here's the rush limbaugh quote

apparently, the white house is excited about haiti because it will boost their credibility with the "light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country"
posted by nadawi at 12:34 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


... and Rush Limbaugh thinks the President will use this to burnish their credibility with both the "light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country".

...because, you know, helping people 600 miles from our country is inherently racist, political posturing that victimizes all those poor white males out there.

(And I remember when white bigots used to accuse blacks of having a victim mentality that prevented them from improving their lot in life...)
posted by markkraft at 12:36 PM on January 13, 2010


Airport landing lights not functional, which would mean relief flights have to cease after dark unless someone can get down there with some mobile strip lights and radar.

CNN reported that a Coast Guard vessel arrived a few hours ago with the express mission to manage air traffic control at the airport. They have portable equipment to achieve such. Also, many are flying into Santa Domingo and taking helicopters west to Haiti. In the Anderson Cooper clip (above) he talks about the chaos in the skies and CNN's decision to land and stay on the ground for now.
posted by ericb at 12:38 PM on January 13, 2010


But for a second, place yourself in the shoes of Pat Robertson. Or any Christian who believes in an ever-present, all-knowing, all-doing God. What else are you going to tell yourself? If the people of Haiti didn't bring this upon themselves, then what is the alternative? The alternative is that God seemingly haphazardly destroyed one of the poorest, most destitute countries in the world. Basically, the alternative is that the God you believe in is the biggest dick ever.

What I find frustrating is that out of one side of his mouth, he can spout nonsense like this, blaming the people of Haiti for their own misfortune, then when you call hiim on it or try to pin down exactly why it seems that God is always destroying areas full of poor people living in shabby buildings, I'm sure he'd say that God works in mysterious ways. Anything to keep the wall from crumbling.

Sorry for the rant. Many religious organizations are doing amazing work as we speak and a belief in God gets a lot of people off their asses to help those among us who are less fortunate. I just wish they'd leave the "why did it have to happen" questions alone, because answering those questions makes them sound like assholes or, worse, insincere assholes.
posted by billysumday at 12:38 PM on January 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


As for Limbaugh, there's no excuse. He's clearly just a sadist and one sick fuck.
posted by billysumday at 12:39 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's wishing that Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh experience the suffering of all Haitians who have ever suffered, past, present, and future, multiplied to the billionth power when they die and go straight to hell.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:42 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Babblesort : Then to make it worse, the first report of major damage is evidently a hospital that collapsed. Just awful.

Fucking hell. Life likes to just stick it in and break it off, huh?

This is tragic. I hope we can mobilize and provide some serious help.
posted by quin at 12:45 PM on January 13, 2010


Let's keep the focus on Haiti here people.
posted by Big_B at 12:49 PM on January 13, 2010 [18 favorites]


One wants to stay above the level of people like Limbaugh and Robertson. But.

Anyone who knows Haitians knows that they are mostly very deeply faithful Christians, which is neither here nor there except that I hope their faith brings them comfort right now. For anyone claiming to be a man of God to claim to know and proclaim God's justice when he sees the already wretched of the earth cast into even deeper despair and degradation and death shows us exactly who Pat Robertson is: a subhuman raised by other subhumans and warped by hatred so deep that his soul is not worth redemption.

Can these people not, for one damn day, stop thinking of every human tragedy as an ATM machine or a chance to let us know they still feel the same way they always did?

Scumbags.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:09 PM on January 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


Great news ericb, and go Coasties!
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:10 PM on January 13, 2010


msali has posted a question on AskMe about the best ways to give to Haiti right now.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:16 PM on January 13, 2010


Mods, this may be somewhat newsfilter... but I recommend a sidebar placement as others have.

This event is tragic... and it may just change the way we handle humanitarian crises in the Western Hemi.

Hopefully we will all rise and help in the ways we can.

I am not a religious man, but may God be with the people of Haiti.

I'll give what I can.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


What are the odds that the government will collapse after this? I gather that it was barely in control of the country as it was.
posted by empath at 1:26 PM on January 13, 2010


What are the odds that the government will collapse after this? I gather that it was barely in control of the country as it was.

According to a guest on Democracy Now! this morning, things were nearing stability in Haiti with foreign investment picking back up and some direction to the economy. Now they are just going to have to focus exclusively on digging out of the bloody rubble.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:41 PM on January 13, 2010


Correction, that was NPR - A Portrait Of Haiti Before Earthquake Dashed Hopes. (I flip between the two during drive time)
posted by Burhanistan at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Devastating photos from the Big Picture. The first one made me burst into tears. May be NSFW; definitely terribly upsetting.
posted by rtha at 1:58 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are some moving personal stories in this CNN article, "A Final Goodbye Before Everything Fell."
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:59 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Devastating photos from the Big Picture.

Tears for most of those, yeah. Different kind of hopeful tears when seeing all the teams from far flung places assembling for search and rescue ops. Here's hoping for many survival miracles beneath the rubble.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:13 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Now sidebarred. Thanks mods.
posted by cashman at 2:21 PM on January 13, 2010


Almost any of this I read or watch is too much.

The humanitarian situation is going to become quite dire. It's difficult for me to believe that even the rudimentary water system in Port-au-Prince can have survived. This was already a key focus of charity missions in Haiti before the quake. UNICEF and Oxfam are two widely-respected NGOs that are working specifically on this problem.
posted by dhartung at 3:40 PM on January 13, 2010


Tears for most of those, yeah. Different kind of hopeful tears when seeing all the teams from far flung places assembling for search and rescue ops.

I actually didn't mist up until I scrolled down to the photos of grim-faced, uniformed teams from around the globe arriving at a moment's notice. Pat Robertson** et al notwithstanding, sometimes people are good, dammit.

**and to Robertson and his ilk, I'd show these as exhibit "a" for, faith without works is dead, mofo.
posted by availablelight at 3:45 PM on January 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean, a Haitian immigrant, delivers a tearful address. English starts at about 5.00 minutes in.
posted by Rumple at 4:13 PM on January 13, 2010


On Monday, less than 24 hours before the earthquake, I watched a story on Haiti on PBS Newshour: Despite Years of Crushing Poverty, Hope Grows in Haiti

And this is how the report ended:

KIRA KAY (reporter): U.S. Ambassador Merten says, bluntly, Haiti doesn't have many more chances to get this right.

KENNETH MERTEN: We really need them to -- to understand that this may be the last time that they are going to have this level of international community interest and willingness to help out, particularly financially, quite honestly.

KIRA KAY: This may be the last time donors are really going to put so much effort into Haiti.

YOLETTE ETIENNE (grassroots organizer): I think so. I think so. The situation has become so critical. Now something needs to be done.

KIRA KAY: It's a race against time for Haiti to convince its people and the world that this moment of promise can be made permanent.

.
posted by limeswirltart at 4:18 PM on January 13, 2010


If you, like me, have the kind of attitude towards Haiti that makes you want to help but also makes you worry about giving money to large international NGOs due to their role in Haitian politics over the last 20 years or so, the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund seems to be pretty right-on.
posted by stammer at 4:30 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


How Wall Street Could Help Haiti and Partially Redeem those Bonuses
posted by homunculus at 4:53 PM on January 13, 2010


When it comes to scum, it's hard to beat this: FBI warns of Haiti charity scams.

After disasters like this, dozens of impromptu charities always pop up to collect money. Some of them aren't honest.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:04 PM on January 13, 2010


@strangeguitars -- Any word from your father?
posted by zerobyproxy at 5:08 PM on January 13, 2010


I'm not finding any verifiable efficiency ratings online for the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund you recommended above, stammer. What criteria do you use to base this suggestion on; and why would you take issue ( if indeed that is what you are doing ) with such well-rated and known NGO's as The Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, or World Vision, as just examples?

Not looking for a fight, just want to make sure that every vital dollar is doing the most good; and I have some cash I can put in right now beyond my monthly donations to those organizations. . If someone can show me a better option, i will explore it show me, but gut instinct is to give it to Doctors Without Borders.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:28 PM on January 13, 2010


I missed that Partners In Health recommendation on first reading. 94.8% of funds raised goes to programs. Done, and thanks, homerica.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:34 PM on January 13, 2010


HERF's website in no way suggests they have the relevant competencies to do rescue or medical or aid distribution work, stammer. The things they do seem appropriate for a later stage in this crisis. Do you know differently?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:48 PM on January 13, 2010


Seems that the U.S.A., and Doctors Without Borders are stepping up big time.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:09 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Earthquake hitting Haiti reminds me of that game Ayiti: the Cost of Life (previously), that game where no matter what you do, the Haitian family doesn't make it. Buy a bicycle, no more jobs that need bicycles. Fix the roof, here comes a hurricane. I hope the Haitians climb out soon. I just gave to PIH - and I'm going to give to a local charity also, just because. (I remember local charities suffering after the tsunami.)
posted by anshuman at 6:41 PM on January 13, 2010


Any update on strangeguitars' dad?
posted by tizzie at 7:38 PM on January 13, 2010


CNN Haiti Updates is providing live updates about Haiti and says Lumiere Medical Ministries' employees are all safe (@ 3:47 P.M.) if that is the same organization that strangeguitars' father is with.
posted by sacapuntas at 7:52 PM on January 13, 2010


HERF's website in no way suggests they have the relevant competencies to do rescue or medical or aid distribution work, stammer. The things they do seem appropriate for a later stage in this crisis. Do you know differently?

Certainly not! I would agree with just about all of that. I didn't intend to start a NGO/charity argument in this thread by giving their link, and I definitely don't want to chase people away from MSF or the other giants. I'd also appreciate information about HERF.
posted by stammer at 8:40 PM on January 13, 2010


holy fucking donkey balls

.
posted by LMGM at 9:10 PM on January 13, 2010


I just got an email that someone from the medical mission company he went with (Lumiere Missions) called my stepsister and told her that my dad and his wife are OK, but another email said that the phone was suddenly cut off. Lumiere Missions hadn't been reachable after closing time yesterday, I haven't heard if anyone has been in contact with them yet today.

Also, now, reading upthread, I see that someone linked to the CNN update page (which I also just became aware of through the same email).

Anyway, it sounds like he is OK.

Sorry for being silent for a while (it was nighttime here in China at the time, and in the morning I was rushing to get my kids off to their classes).
posted by strangeguitars at 9:26 PM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


And thanks for everybody's concern!

I hope my dad is right now in his element, heavily involved in surgery after surgery!
posted by strangeguitars at 9:27 PM on January 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


That is excellent news. (Nice that there's a bit of that.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:16 PM on January 13, 2010


.

I made a small donation to MercyCorps.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:20 PM on January 13, 2010


This message arrived in my inbox after a donation; thought you all might like the update:

--------------------
Over the past 18 hours, Partners In Health staff in Boston and Haiti have been working to collect as much information as possible about the conditions on the ground, the relief efforts taking shape, and all relevant logistics issues in order to respond efficiently and effectively to the most urgent needs in the field. At the moment, PIH's Chief Medical Officer is on her way to Haiti, where she will meet with Zanmi Lasante leadership and head physicians, who are already working to ensure PIH's coordinated relief efforts leveraging the skills of more than 120 doctors and nearly 500 nurses and nursing assistants who work at Zanmi Lasante's sites.

We have already begun to implement a two-part strategy to address the immediate need for emergency medical care in Port-au-Prince. First, we are organizing the logistics to get the medical staff and supplies needed for setting up field hospital sites in Port-au-Prince where we can triage patients, provide emergency care, and send those who need surgery or more complex treatment to our functioning hospitals and surgical facilities. To do this, we are creating a supply chain through the Dominican Republic. Second, we are ensuring that our facilities in the Central Plateau are ready to serve the flow of patients from Port-au-Prince. Operating and procedure rooms are staffed, supplied, and equipped for surgeries and we have converted a church in Cange into a large triage area. Already our sites in Cange and Hinche are reporting a steady flow of people coming with medical needs from the capital city. In the days that come we will need to make sure our pharmacies and supplies stay stocked and our staff continue to be able to respond.

Currently, our greatest need is financial support. Haiti is facing a crisis worse than it has seen in years, and it is a country that has faced years of crisis, both natural disaster and otherwise. The country is in need of millions of dollars right now to meet the needs of the communities hardest hit by the earthquake. Our facilities are strategically placed just two hours outside of Port-au-Prince and will inevitably absorb the flow of patients out of the city. In addition, we need cash on-hand to quickly procure emergency medical supplies, basic living necessities, as well as transportation and logistics support for the tens of thousands of people that will be seeking care at mobile field hospitals in the capital city. Any and all support that will help us respond to the immediate needs and continue our mission of strengthening the public health system in Haiti is greatly appreciated. Help us stand up for Haiti now.

If you are not in a position to make a financial contribution, you can help us raise awareness of the earthquake tragedy. Please alert your friends to the situation and direct them to www.pih.org for updates and ways to help.

Donate now to support our earthquake relief efforts
Share this important update with a friend

Thank you for your solidarity during this crisis,

Ophelia Dahl
Executive Director
--------------------
posted by bwg at 12:04 AM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe 20% of Jacmel (on the South coast) is ruined, and somehow that's what hits me hardest. I was there a few years ago for Kaneval, and it was gorgeous, such a wonderful city. They're pretty well cut off by road last I heard (not even motorbikes are getting through), though there is a tiny, tiny airport there. I hope they can get help too.

And so that this isn't all navel-gazing: http://www.koneksyon.com to find relatives, should anyone need it.

The latest news from Richard Morse is that he's not heard gunfire, just singing. Considering I could hear gunfire all the way in Cite Soleil when I was there, he's got a pretty good aural range. Just a data point, since CNN is/was apparently reporting gunfire?

Also, my heavens, I'm impressed with my own ability to turn my brain off for my own good, upon reading Robertson's remarks. Really, it's a talent.
posted by kalimac at 1:15 AM on January 14, 2010


Now is not the time for broken hearts, now is the time for helping hands. The first step is giving money. There are several good suggestions in this thread for that. The next step is gathering and shipping medicines, clothing, and foods. It is relatively simple to figure out how to do. Just look up shipping agent in the phone book for an agent near you.

Putting together a 20' shipping container will generally run between $1500-$3000 dollars. That is actually not a lot for a dedicated individual with strong ties to a community to put together. Say 30 people/businesses donating $100 a piece.

Having worked around many good neighbors and friends of Haitian descent for years now, I have come to understand the needs of the island. Rather, I understood. At this point all I can say is yes, clothes are as important as food and medicine.

I am out of state presently, but we are already coordinating this exact style effort in Key West, FL. With luck, the shipment will go out next week. As I already have contacts both there and here who are Haitian, the confidence of these goods getting into the right hands is very high. (Hoarding will now be a real problem.)

Speaking of which, if you do not know of someone who is Haitian or who knows Haiti, try contacting a local Haitian church. Most communities with large numbers of constituents who are Haitian will have strong churches.

I wish everyone luck with their efforts to help. In Key West, because of the numbers of people who live and work here who are Haitian, we love Haiti. Again, I wish everyone much success with their efforts to help.

Lastly, TPS for Haitians in the US now.
posted by humannaire at 1:15 AM on January 14, 2010


Just donated mumblemumblesmallamountmumble to CARE and Mercy Corp, as i am a subscriber to their email newsletters and found out about the Haiti tragedy through them (don't read the news much lately). Will see if I can scrounge together enough cash to donate to Doctors Without Borders as well.

The pictures are heartbreaking, and I can only hope that Haiti gets all the funds, supplies and volunteers she needs to save her people.
posted by Alnedra at 1:49 AM on January 14, 2010


Red Cross just got a donation from me. I work a few doors down from their head office in Ireland and it felt like the absolute least I can do.

The good thing is that the lines seem to be absolutely inundated with calls- the RC worker with whom I was speaking said that cash is best but that spreading awareness is also incredibly important.

(Is there anything else we can do?)
posted by psychostorm at 2:33 AM on January 14, 2010


for the poster whose nurse friend wanted to go to Haiti, PIH has put out a call for medical volunteers.

I've sent them $100, which feels inadequate.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:23 AM on January 14, 2010


CBS news has an amazing little piece of security camera video from the moment the quake hit.

Yikes. I don't think most buildings would have stood a chance even if they had been better constructed.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:30 AM on January 14, 2010


I don't think most buildings would have stood a chance even if they had been better constructed.

Good construction really helps. It's the difference between widespread damage and total devastation. Or think of the earthquake in China, and how the schools that followed building codes often survived intact, and the schools that were poorly constructed mostly collapsed.
posted by Forktine at 5:56 AM on January 14, 2010


help_haiti is a fandom auction of creative fannish works over on livejournal to fund raise for relief efforts.

Won't be of interest to everyone, but figured I'd mention it.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:44 AM on January 14, 2010


AskMe post about the mechanisms behind donating to the Red Cross via SMS.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:00 AM on January 14, 2010


Ok, I just gave $50 to PIH. Reading the director's statement on the site got me all upset, because it's pre-earthquake and is all about the great progress they've made in Haiti, which is of course mostly undone at this point. Sigh.

Also, I am really happy to be part of an online community that can be fun, snarky, and a PITA, but that knows when to get serious and that really cares and gets involved.*

* Yes, that's you guys.
posted by freecellwizard at 7:13 AM on January 14, 2010


For those with American Airlines frequent flier accounts, AA is giving 100 miles for donations of $50 or more and 500 miles for donations of $100 or more. Info. on aa.com.

They are also flying medical professionals to Haiti for free, just contact them if you fit that bill.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:31 AM on January 14, 2010


forktine, I agree of course, and surely thousands could have been saved were the construction better in PaP. But looking at that video, the earth is buckling in great waves. I wonder what on earth could have withstood that.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:32 AM on January 14, 2010


Lullaby - The California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee has also put out a call for volunteer nurses.
posted by anshuman at 7:46 AM on January 14, 2010


Google Earth and GeoEye provide Haiti imagery layer.
posted by ericb at 8:03 AM on January 14, 2010


Google Earth and GeoEye provide Haiti imagery layer.

Man. What a shame that they only go and get fresh, clear imagery of some places after there's some kind of disaster or incident.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:05 AM on January 14, 2010


Partners in Health has also put out a request for medical personnel (doctors, surgeons, nurses, etc.) as well as medical supplies.
posted by rollbiz at 8:18 AM on January 14, 2010


By the way.. Here is a quick note from PIH. My good friend happens to be one of the main donation recipients. If you call to donate, you're probably talking to her.

Hi friends - PIH staff & hospitals largely fine. We are one of the orgs with the capacity to deal with the earthquakes - 120 docs and 600 medical professionals going from our sites to Port au Prince. Help here: http://act.pih.org/earthquake
posted by namewithhe1d at 8:30 AM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I fucking hate that the news today is all about the white Americans who are okay in Haiti. Don't worry guys! Everything is okay! No white Americans were harmed!

I fucking hate how some people jump into threads about catastrophes with kneejerk bullshit like this. Presumably you're watching American media? Do you not expect American news outfits to report on the fate of Americans, many of whom are white? In the early hours of a disaster these are some of the few real stories the media have access to and can report authoritatively. On the morning after a massive earthquake the family of an aid worker in Alexandria, Va., is easier to interview than someone in a locale where there are few, no power and no communications.

All day yesterday my local news was reporting from the Haitian communities in New York, interviewing black Americans. CNN was in Miami, doing the same thing. And as footage began to come out of Haiti and reporters got on the ground there, the stories overwhelmingly are about the heart-wrenching devastation to the country, the people affected and the international response.

So stuff it.
posted by stargell at 8:32 AM on January 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


clickable link to PIH: https://donate.pih.org/page/contribute/haiti_earthquake for your giving convenience.
posted by Rumple at 9:02 AM on January 14, 2010


More from my friend at PIH:

We have teams of docs, nurses who work in haiti and have for 25 yr
but we have particular need for volunteers who are:
In particular, we need surgeons (especially trauma/orthopedic surgeons), ER doctors and nurses, and full surgical teams (including anesthesiologists, scrub and post-op nurses, and nurse anesthetists).
otherwise, best way is $$$
http://act.pih.org/earthquake
our medical teams will then use the $ as fast as possible for food, water, housing, fuel, medical suppplies, etc
posted by namewithhe1d at 9:26 AM on January 14, 2010


I'm wondering if a mod could consider adding links to PIH and MSF to the FPP
more inside section so they're right at the top of the page? We seem to have consensus on these recipients.

namewithhe1d, thanks for the insider perspective.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:30 AM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


fourcheesemacPoster: "They are also flying medical professionals to Haiti for free, just contact them if you fit that bill."

Its been reported that American Airlines flying people for free is a hoax started on twitter. As is the UPS shipping anything under 50 lbs for free.
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:04 AM on January 14, 2010


my apologies.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:07 AM on January 14, 2010


These look useful in the longer- term: Shelterbox. (a lot of people are going to be homeless for a long, long time)
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:37 AM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Canadian Government is saying that they'll match donations made directly to Haitian relief from certain established charities but I can't find a list of them. Anyone know?
posted by beautifulcheese at 11:20 AM on January 14, 2010


The Canadian Government is saying that they'll match donations made directly to Haitian relief from certain established charities but I can't find a list of them. Anyone know?

The announcement appears here.

http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/ACDI-CIDA.nsf/eng/CEC-11475659-H7P

And there's an FAQ here. I still don't see a list of the charities, but perhaps it's because the terms are broad and could apply to a lot of organizations:
1. How will Canada's Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund work?

The Government of Canada will match dollar for dollar the contributions of individual Canadians to eligible Canadian charitable organizations in support of humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction efforts in response to the earthquake in Haiti, up to a total of $50 million. The government will then use the relief fund to provide assistance through international and humanitarian organizations, as per established channels and procedures.

2. Will the Government of Canada match all donations?

The maximum amount per single donation that the government will match is $100,000. To count towards the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, donations must be:

* Made by an individual Canadian;
* Made to a registered Canadian charitable organization that is receiving donations in response to the January 12 Haiti earthquake;
* Specifically earmarked by such organizations for the purpose of responding to the earthquake; and,
* Made between January 12 and February 12.
A side note - another round of photos from The Big Picture - just heartbreaking. The one with the woman walking out of a building with the body of another woman underneath just crushed me. I do wish there were more names of the people in the photos instead of just "man" or "woman". I think it really hits home when you are forced to realize they aren't just a man or a woman, but an individual, a personality, a character. But I'm glad the pictures are even there at all (thanks kokogiak). Thank you to everyone who donated and continues to do so.
posted by cashman at 11:42 AM on January 14, 2010


CNN's Ivan Watson has been covering a live scene in the last half hour of an attempt to rescue a trapped 11 year old girl. It is mind-warpingly awful. They have to decide whether to amputate her leg or not, and they don't have blood for that. But they don't have the equipment to lift the concrete off her. Oh, you poor child.

There surely must be a massive need for blood as well. I wonder if that's being organized yet?

There is this line of witnessing that I think is going to be crossed with this disaster. I've never seen so many dead bodies on TV before. Or heard so much screaming.

CNN has actually been stunningly good in an impossible situation, I think -- at least I can't stop watching. Watson, Sanjay Gupta, and Anderson Cooper have really shown commitment.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:51 AM on January 14, 2010


forktine, I agree of course, and surely thousands could have been saved were the construction better in PaP. But looking at that video, the earth is buckling in great waves. I wonder what on earth could have withstood that.

Surprisingly, quite a lot. Take a look at this photo. Note that several of the multi-story modern looking building are mostly intact while others are smashed. Reinforced concrete, proper load distribution, cantilevers, and a host of other measures make all the difference. Most of those buildings will probably have to come down anyway, but at least they didn't collapse while people were trying to escape.

Now it seems Haitians are not going inside anytime soon.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:59 AM on January 14, 2010


This is an incredible blog post, from a young missionary couple.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:07 PM on January 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


@fourcheesemac--That post is so tragic. Dealing with these types of ethical decisions is not something most of us do every day. There is going to be so much PTSD to deal with in Haiti...
posted by zerobyproxy at 2:49 PM on January 14, 2010


I hope he can let it go and not second-guess himself into insanity.
posted by merelyglib at 2:52 PM on January 14, 2010


I fucking wept when I saw the papers this morning.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:56 PM on January 14, 2010


The Big Picture shows the problem quite clearly; my only complaint is the caption on one photo that read:

"A resident loots food from the Caribbean supermarket in downtown Port-au-Prince after a major earthquake hit the Haitian capital, January 14, 2010. "

When you have absolutely nothing after your city has been devastated, getting food from a destroyed supermarket hardly counts as looting.
posted by bwg at 4:57 PM on January 14, 2010 [10 favorites]


Those looking for an antidote to Pat Robertson's bile might want to hear the response (and history smackdown) from Haitian ambassador Raymond Joseph on MSNBC.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 5:44 PM on January 14, 2010


CNN reporting the 11 year old girl I mentioned above *was* freed by locals, leg injured badly but they didn't need to amputate on scene. Small blessings.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:41 PM on January 14, 2010


Another PIH update:

-----------------------
The tragedy in Haiti is more dire than we could have ever expected it would be in the hours following the earthquake. But thanks to your support, we're already making a difference.

We received a report from Cate Oswald, one of our staff in Haiti, who traveled through the Central Plateau to Port-au-Prince yesterday with two truckloads of meds and supplies. She described the scene:
"We started seeing destruction from Mt. Cabrit (where big rocks lie in the middle of the road) through Croix de Bouquets where it doesn't seem as bad but lots of walls down. Then the scene gets much, much worse. Tonight, everywhere throughout the city, as we drove by the national plaza, there are thousands of people sleeping outside. While I was in Port-au-Prince, there were still aftershocks being felt. I didn't venture into other parts of the city, but as you all know, koze sa pa jwet menm [Haitian saying literally translated as "this is not a game"]."
The trucks met up with PIH staff, including Dr. Louise Ivers, at the UN's logistics base in Port-au-Prince. Louise was one of two doctors attending at the time, and they had nothing but aspirin until our trucks showed up.

Our leadership is in Port-au-Prince now determining the best location to establish a base of operations. Their assessment includes laying out all the next steps for getting supplies, equipment, and additional staff to the people most in need.
-----------------------
posted by bwg at 7:09 PM on January 14, 2010


CNN reporting the 11 year old girl I mentioned above *was* freed by locals, leg injured badly but they didn't need to amputate on scene. Small blessings.

Thanks for that update. I've been thinking about her, and now I'm breathing a small sigh of relief.
posted by Salieri at 7:47 PM on January 14, 2010


CNN seems to really shine during real crises, shame that they can't pull it off day to day.
posted by rollbiz at 7:53 PM on January 14, 2010


I wonder what on earth could have withstood that.

This earthquake is about the same power as the Loma Prieta quake was. That caused damage, but not widespread devastation. It killed 63 people; we'll be lucky if the death toll in Haiti is only a thousand times that.

None of the big skyscrapers in San Francisco were damaged at all. Certainly none of them fell.

It's possible to build buildings to be very quake resistent. But it's also expensive. California has required it since the 1905 quake, and that's why California quakes don't cause this kind of slaughter.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:05 PM on January 14, 2010


Big quakes in Japan also don't generally cause immense destruction. Same reason: after the 1923 quake, the government there started requiring that construction be quake resistent.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:34 PM on January 14, 2010


Kim and Patrick Bentrott are the daughter and son-in-law of one of my high school teachers. They've been missionaries in Haiti a little over a year. He works in theological education for the National Spiritual Council of Churches in Haiti (CONASPEH), and she's a doctor who's been doing training and clinic work for them. They made it through the earthquake okay, and similar to the link fourcheesemac posted, Kim wrote of their experiences. "Oh good, a doctor was here. He needs anesthesia. I had none. He needs pain meds. I had none. Everything I had that could help in some miniscule way was buried under six stories worth of concrete. Helplessness."
posted by weathergal at 10:34 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am aware of the value of earthquake zone construction practices. Like I said, I am sure there was a significant margin of difference due to Haiti's shoddy construction. But I suspect when things settle and they look at the seismology here that even well built buildings had no chance with a giant S-wave that close to the surface. Loma Prieta was about the same strength, but I wonder whether Haiti's wasn't closer to the surface or a different waveform from the strike-slip combination. I have lived through a few small (4-4.5) earthquakes myself. What I saw on that security camera video from PaP was like a tidal wave passing through buildings. Hard to tell from how much the camera was moving itself, but it looked like the range of motion on the buildings across the street was several *feet* of bucking and twisting with each convulsion of the surface. They fell in seconds, but the shaking went on for much longer.

All I know is I wouldn't want to be in any building when the ground was doing that, not even the most modern building in San Francisco.

Sickening.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:12 AM on January 15, 2010


For some fortitude, and joy, here is the website of my favorite Haitian singer, Emeline Michel.

And here's a 2 part live (Youtube) performance by Emeline from 2007.

Part 1
Part 2

Let's remember the beauty and soul of Haitian people and culture. It's coming back.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:20 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


And Arcade Fire's "Haiti"

(Youtube video, with some beautiful photos of pre-quake Haiti)

Haïti, mon pays,
wounded mother I'll never see.
Ma famille set me free.
Throw my ashes into the sea.

Mes cousins jamais nés
hantent les nuits de Duvalier.
Rien n'arrete nos esprits.
Guns can't kill what soldiers can't see.

In the forest we lie hiding,
unmarked graves where flowers grow.
Hear the soldiers angry yelling,
in the river we will go.

Tous les morts-nés forment une armée,
soon we will reclaim the earth.
All the tears and all the bodies
bring about our second birth.

Haïti, never free,
n'aie pas peur de sonner l'alarme.
Tes enfants sont partis,
In those days their blood was still warm
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:26 AM on January 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide ready to return. Wiki.
posted by billysumday at 5:33 AM on January 15, 2010


"We need to act, not because Haiti is some nation of perennial victims that we need to have pity on - we need to act because Haiti is a nation of heroes. And we need to repay them for what they've given us."

Illdoctrine.com YouTube video.
posted by cashman at 6:34 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide ready to return.

A NY based Haitian activist was on Democracy Now! this morning stating that Aristide's return would be a big rallying point for dispossessed Haitians. If he does, it will be interesting to see him knock heads with Bush and Clinton who have been tapped by Obama to co-chair the US efforts there. Bush cut off aid to Haiti and Clinton forced Aristide to accept a host of economic measures that added more debt to Haiti.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:42 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have lived through a few small (4-4.5) earthquakes myself. What I saw on that security camera video from PaP was like a tidal wave passing through buildings.

The 2001 Nisqually quake measured 6.8 and did surprisingly little damage in and around Seattle. The worst hit buildings were near nearly 100 years old and built on unstable landfill. The quake felt like a very long and violent roller coaster ride, while I find it difficult to distinguish a 4.x quake from a large truck rumbling by.

Skilled and well-funded civil engineers can work miracles.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:41 AM on January 15, 2010


This is so heartbreaking. From cnn.com:

The Haitian government stopped accepting flights Thursday because ramp space at the airport in the capital city, Port-au-Prince, was saturated and no fuel was available, said Federal Aviation Adminstration spokeswoman Laura Brown.

Meanwhile, the pier used for delivery of cargo to Port-au-Prince was "completely compromised" by Tuesday's earthquake, said CNN's Eric Marrapodi. Three ships filled with medical supplies, food, clothing and water were turned away, he said. Roads leading into the city from the dock were bucked about 5 feet high by the earthquake, he said.

posted by malocchio at 8:03 AM on January 15, 2010


The Times has a similar article about the attempts to find pathways to bring aid in. None of the options are very good, including overland from Cap Haitien or Santo Domingo, because of limited facilities and road damage.
posted by Forktine at 8:10 AM on January 15, 2010


"A resident loots food from the Caribbean supermarket in downtown Port-au-Prince after a major earthquake hit the Haitian capital, January 14, 2010. "

When you have absolutely nothing after your city has been devastated, getting food from a destroyed supermarket hardly counts as looting.



the guardian is starting to report people taking out undistributed supplies as looting as well - rather than the fact no one has got these supplies out.
Now begins a subtle process of blaming the haitians for their plight. Followed after by a lack of government investment etc.
I often wonder why, when newspapers whine about their declining readerships - they never seem to pin the blame on the fact that even the best of them print a load of bullshit.
posted by sgt.serenity at 8:14 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


the guardian is starting to report people taking out undistributed supplies as looting as well - rather than the fact no one has got these supplies out.

Well, I agree that the reporting language is problematic. But the issue with taking aid supplies is that people will strong arm others and it won't be distributed as evenly as it would otherwise be if done by the UN or something. Bad reporting is the least of anyone's worries there right now, however.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:46 AM on January 15, 2010


This missing persons wall at the NY Times is breaking my heart.
posted by Salieri at 11:37 AM on January 15, 2010


from the guardian : "Shops have been stripped, but UN food warehouses, contrary to earlier reports, were not looted."

Bad reporting is the least of anyone's worries there right now, however.

when it changes public opinion so much that no one will care about haiti in a few weeks and the west can sweep it under the carpet, is that when we should worry ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:52 AM on January 15, 2010


it won't be distributed as evenly as it would otherwise be if done by the UN or something.

a fantastic leap of logic.

"we wont distribute the food in order to ensure it is evenly distributed."

but anyway, its good to know that "looters roam port au prince" rather than the suffering people we've been seeing pictures of - i guess we can forget about it now, thanks guardian.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:57 AM on January 15, 2010


Hey everybody, let's stop talking about Haiti and talk instead about how sgt.serenity is mad at the Guardian.
posted by billysumday at 12:15 PM on January 15, 2010


That was inappropriately snarky, I apologize. But really, let's keep this thread a place to post links and updates, not grind personal axes, kthx.
posted by billysumday at 12:19 PM on January 15, 2010


Naomi Klein notes the "disaster capitalists" have already started to use the earthquake disaster as a lever towards a corporate-friendly reshaping of American policy towards Haiti. cf. David Brooks.
posted by Rumple at 12:20 PM on January 15, 2010


Up to 4500 inmates escaped a Haitian prison.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:53 PM on January 15, 2010


Both Nisqually and Northridge were at depths of around 30 miles. I think the hypocentral depth of the PaP quake is being called much lower than that. For what it's worth.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:04 PM on January 15, 2010


Indeed, Haiti's quake was at a depth of about 8 miles. North Ridge was 11 miles deep, which is shallow for California. Nisqually was 33 miles deep.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:06 PM on January 15, 2010


"Northridge," not "North Ridge," sorry.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:07 PM on January 15, 2010


Apparently, Wyclef's (finally spelled it right!) Yele Haiti has fallen under some suspicion.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:09 PM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


As Burhanistan notes, one of the issues is that those best in a position to loot -- in any volume -- are armed gangs, of which Haiti has known no shortage. These groups walk a very fine line between taking truckloads back to their people and distributing food only to people they approve of, at best. And a key point: this is something that was endemic even pre-quake. They will almost certainly soon (re-)establish their legitimacy in parts of Port-au-Prince that have been difficult for them in the presence of the UN. This will be yet another impediment to building legitimacy for the official government.

We can't exactly blame the UN here -- as Bill Clinton said today, the organization was decapitated.

when it changes public opinion so much that no one will care about haiti in a few weeks

Worse is yet to come, I guarantee it.

Look, I want to believe in the Haitian people as much as anyone, but Brooks isn't far off from consensus opinion in saying that what we've done doesn't seem to help much -- in Haiti or anywhere. He's leaping to his own turf in promoting benign paternalism, but the straight answer is that Haiti has been a hard nut to crack. If dictatorship were the answer, Haiti would be the Caribbean's South Korea. It is indeed hard to separate the causes because there are so many peer nations that have done better despite equal anchorweights. Nor can we simply point to a resource-extraction causation as Haiti has almost nothing worth exporting. Even the brain drain that seems to be a continuing cause of limited local skillsets is almost a better gamble for Haiti in terms of remittances. US policy post-Cold War has focused on keeping Haiti stable enough not to be a source of massive migrancy.

I really think the Clinton-brokered plan represents the best hope that Haiti has had in a long time and the quake threatens to divert resources from long-term development to short-term survival, with an end-point that is going to be below, rather than beyond, where we were a few weeks ago. That's going to sap interest of the international community beginning in months if not as soon as 2011.

Were there any good five-year retrospectives on the recovery from the tsunami that could be instructive?
posted by dhartung at 5:17 PM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Loma Prieta was 11 miles deep.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:20 PM on January 15, 2010


That was inappropriately snarky, I apologize. But really, let's keep this thread a place to post links and updates, not grind personal axes, kthx.

excuse me billy,
I've actually had to look to check you've not been appointed an admin.
As far as i can tell, this hasnt happened - do you have a sponsor you could call ?
Also excuse me if i take a holistic approach to the current disaster which involves its reporting.
What I am worried about is the gradual framing of the haitian people as being unhelpable by the media.
This directly affects ( oddly enough ) the type of help they will recieve.
I am using one example. If a supposedly left wing newspaper (the guardian) is trotting out this kind of crap, well..............
Excuse me if i refuse to ignore the second disaster that the sweet, soft power of the us will be bringing to haiti.
I'm prepared to stand corrected though - especially if the photographer with his pictures of roadblocks of bodies finally releases a picture of said incident.
Perhaps he's shooting on daguerrotype and cant get the chemicals. Perhaps time wont let him.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:27 PM on January 15, 2010


Naomi Klein notes the "disaster capitalists" have already started to use the earthquake disaster as a lever towards a corporate-friendly reshaping of American policy towards Haiti.

... even as she uses the earthquake disaster as a lever toward pushing her current fave analysis (not necessarily wrong) of why fat rich (mostly) white (mostly) men are responsible for most of the world's wickedness.

I mean, couldn't this wait until at least say, Monday?
posted by philip-random at 6:48 PM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently, Wyclef's (finally spelled it right!) Yele Haiti has fallen under some suspicion.

Yeah, I agree and this was why I took it out of my shared donation links. In addition to all of the financial concerns, it's just not an organization that's set up for the critical care side of humanitarian aid. There are many organizations that are much better at getting food, water, medical supplies/care, body bags, etc. on the ground and where they need to be in situations like this.
posted by rollbiz at 7:50 PM on January 15, 2010


sgt.serenity: I'll say personally that I'm all for not characterizing people taking necessary supplies from abandoned markets or other places as "looting". I also agree that we need to be watchful for news organizations that look to extend their grasp on viewership by overstating or creating stories of unrest, but I think that hopefully, most of us can agree that supporting theft of supplies from aid organizations is not a great precedent to set and we probably ought not be defending it. It's a very slippery slope from that to a situation where those with the most guns and muscle are in control of critical supplies, rather than those supplies being distributed in a more equitable fashion. I don't think that's a "leap of logic", as you say.

Anyway, I think we've all made an effort to keep this thread focused on constructive ways to help Haitians, and I'm not a mod either but I think it'd really be great and would speak very highly of the Metafilter community if we could keep it that way.
posted by rollbiz at 8:08 PM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


U.S. Grants Temporary Protected Status To Haitian Nationals

Given they cannot practically be deported (deportations were already halted), this isn't a great leap, but I'm still a bit surprised the US has formally taken this step.
posted by dhartung at 8:16 PM on January 15, 2010


sadness.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:38 PM on January 15, 2010


The above link references that 11 year old.
She didn't make it, after all.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:38 PM on January 15, 2010


Last year, the World Bank and other entitied cancelled $1.2 billion in debt owed by Haiti under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries program -- a kind of sovereign bankruptcy, largely won on the basis of the hurricane season of 2008. Today, France has called for still more of Haiti's remaining debt to be cancelled.

The original debt to France, agreed to in 1804, was not paid off until 1947. Debt has been a burden to Haiti throughout its history.

Alas, the IMF has turned around and proposed $100 million in new debt to pay for disaster relief operations.
posted by dhartung at 10:04 PM on January 15, 2010


The above link references that 11 year old.
She didn't make it, after all.


That is a really heartbreaking piece. There was a moment where she took off her glasses and handed them to the person next to her that struck me to the core -- that's exactly what I do when I've had too much and can't handle anything more. Such a human moment. And so hard to type while crying.
posted by Forktine at 11:06 PM on January 15, 2010


I'm a member of an organization^ that was formed in the aftermath of 9/11 for the purpose of responding to disasters. I post this quote from an email in order to share information:
...
But there are times when good intentions and the overwhelming desire to “do something” is an impediment to the first line professional Search & Rescue teams and ultimately hurts those we want to help. Our colleagues of NYTF-1 are on the ground and our federal friends stationed in the Dominican Republic are reporting that a mountain of supplies without a delivery strategy will soon strangle supply lines. Groups arriving without authorization or mission orders will siphon resources without providing necessary services and will burden the already stressed response community.
Seems the major bottleneck is the airport, rather than lack of people willing to help. I suppose that is heartening but I'm left wondering why this wasn't planned for.

^It is unfortunate that the iconography on their website has come to denote Republican. I assure you they are perfectly apolitical if you need help. Also my experience is construction and admin, not a front line guy.
posted by vapidave at 11:17 PM on January 15, 2010


If you steal a TV after an earthquake, that's looting.

If you steal a bag of rice from a collapsed supermarket after an earthquake, because there's not a damned thing to eat and aid isn't coming in fast enough, that's survival.

If you steal a bag of rice from a collapsed supermarket after an earthquake (or from the UN warehouses) with the intent to sell at extortionate prices, you are an evil looting scumbag and should be shot.

It's that simple.
posted by bwg at 2:27 AM on January 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


There seem to be two bottlenecks: ports with crumbled docks and an airport that is at capacity and has little fuel surplus. Once these bottlenecks are cleared, there does not seem to be any organized, static distribution. The US uses a system in disaster called PODS, which basically sets up a location, works the logistics (how do we get food here, where do we put vehicles, where do food recipients line up, etc.) and then puts down roots at that location for the duration of disaster relief. I have not yet seen anything like that though it may be happening.

The next bottleneck will be the unclaimed, unknown dead. We are fast approaching the necessity of a mass grave or mass pyre. The public health implications will manifest themselves soon. The pain of having to make these decisions must be great.

@St. Alia of the Bunnies--I appreciate you posting that follow up. Sad is too small a word for what I feel.
posted by zerobyproxy at 3:59 AM on January 16, 2010


Naomi Klein should just shut up.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:12 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Loma Prieta also lasted only 10-15 seconds, and its epicenter was far further from San Fran than the Haiti quake (which was still shallower and more violent) was from PaP.

Just saying. Obviously, if PaP were built to California standards we'd be dealing with much less loss of life. But I don't think it would be as low as either LP or Northridge quakes even if every building in PaP had state of the art engineering. I guess we'll learn more about this sort of comparison as time goes on and engineers and geologists can get in to examine the effects.

Nisqually is really a red herring, no matter how long it went on or how it felt on the surface. 33 miles deep is a whole other thing from something close to the surface.

But the worst part is that apparently responsible people were saying for quite some time this was bound to happen.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:19 AM on January 16, 2010


Actually, it sounds like the gasoline shortage is the big bottleneck now:

"If we don't have gas in the cars, we can't get anywhere, and who has time to sit in a gas line all day?"
posted by Dojie at 7:23 AM on January 16, 2010


More on doubts raised about Wyclef Jean’s charity.
posted by ericb at 7:47 AM on January 16, 2010


Roger Ebert: A Letter to Rush Limbaugh
posted by homunculus at 8:43 AM on January 16, 2010


Doctors walk away from field hospital, leave Sanjay Gupta as the only attending physician.
posted by billysumday at 9:02 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Naomi Klein should just shut up.

Why? She was calling out people who were obviously seeing dollar signs in rubble. It's a big world and not everyone has to be in full on shock and mourn mode.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 AM on January 16, 2010


If it's fair to call out politicizing tragedy on the right, it's fair to call it out on the left too.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:39 AM on January 16, 2010


Politicizing is a pretty loaded and vague word, especially when you're referring to specific remarks warning against a somewhat nefarious organization. It's not like she's sounding anything like Rush Limbaugh saying how much the quake was "made to order" for Obama. Let's have some objectivity here.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:00 AM on January 16, 2010


The above link references that 11 year old.
She didn't make it, after all.


Oh, God. This is...her last words are so heartbreaking.

I'm learning something I hadn't really known before - how dangerous it can be for those trapped people who are freed. It seems counterintuitive - yay, you're out now! - but removing weight from crushed limbs can allow blood to flow for the first time in days, which means that any infections that have set up in the damaged link will enter the bloodstream and you've got toxic shock.

This is so sad. That poor girl. Her glasses....
posted by Salieri at 11:31 AM on January 16, 2010


Politicizing is a pretty loaded and vague word

True but as someone who generally finds myself on the same page as Ms. Klein my issue here is entirely with her timing. That is, it's too soon to start "angling for position" when there are still people alive under the rubble. Just because the bloated fucks from the right are doing so doesn't mean everybody should.

As I said before, please wait until Monday (or whenever).
posted by philip-random at 11:36 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


As I said before, please wait until Monday (or whenever).

I disagree. Waiting only gives the vultures more time to set up. In this case, I don't see how she can be faulted for speaking out against them. Those of us who aren't directly affected by the quake (ie. everyone in this thread) don't have to succumb to any overwhelming emotions about it and can and should try to be objectively impartial. Being objective doesn't mean not caring, and it's possible to donate money, share information, etc without allowing emotions to cloud our perception.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:41 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, Klein certainly made her point when it was timely, as she was responding to something that was erased. I don't see the value in waiting until some future date to call that out. Indeed, philip-random, she was calling out "angling for position".

As to the bottleneck. Even at its best Toussaint Louverture "International" Airport is just one runway and middling infrastructure beyond that.

However, this is PAP's second airport. The first was built during the US occupation and called Bowen Field, later Aéroport de Chancerelles. Today the main runway has apparently been redeveloped into a short expressway or boulevard. (I've read that the Cubans or Chinese failed to complete a major redevelopment of what for a long time was the Cité Militaire, the nexus of the Haitian army and its rudimentary air force.) I wonder if it would be possible to knock down the lightpoles and use the 3000' of pavement (with another 1000' available to the west) for an emergency runway. A C-130, fully-loaded, needs about 3450', but can take off in just 1400' if near empty weight. In other words, it might not be possible to use this for evacuation flights, but cargo dropoffs would certainly be an option. We had a team that revamped the airport in Kandahar in a matter of days.

I really haven't heard this idea out there and wonder how it could be passed to the appropriate officials.
posted by dhartung at 10:07 PM on January 16, 2010


I don't see the value in waiting until some future date to call that out. Indeed, philip-random, she was calling out "angling for position".

... and in doing so got drawn into doing a version of it herself, which to my mind was inappropriate as it served to take focus off the only issue worth immediately pursuing (ie: the catastrophe itself and the rescue effort). And now, of course, I'm doing pretty much the same thing myself, so I'll comment on it no more.
posted by philip-random at 11:26 PM on January 16, 2010


Here are some twitter updates on my dad (Dr Wes Alexander).
posted by strangeguitars at 4:05 AM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


direct link to "dad's status - he's confirmed alive" for those to lazy to read teh whole story
posted by infini at 4:39 AM on January 17, 2010


has haiti become another reality show? (weeps)
posted by infini at 4:40 AM on January 17, 2010


I agree with phillip-random, and I normally find Naomi Klein a little ridiculous and overwrought anyway. I just think it's not time to debate the politics while thousands are dying.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:27 AM on January 17, 2010


do's and don'ts of disaster donations
posted by infini at 7:06 AM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The whole point of Klein's book that the aftermath of a major crisis is precisely the moment when we need to be challenging attempts to initiate the kind of disastrous Chicago school economic policies that have devastated the lives of millions worldwide.
posted by knapah at 10:38 AM on January 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Apropos of that, here's an interesting article in today's Washington Post today about rebuilding Haiti.

One irony is that, relative to recent years, Haiti actually was on an upswing, with 2.5% growth through this recession and a modestly competent government at last.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:53 AM on January 17, 2010


Scientology Volunteer Ministers Take the Lead in Haiti Relief Efforts
posted by scalefree at 11:39 AM on January 17, 2010


what are they talking about? twitter's breaking an entirely different story of global coordination, distaster relief cooperation, communications in challenging environments and the nations of Africa showing Haiti what "community as insurance" means
posted by infini at 12:12 PM on January 17, 2010


As I suspected, it seems that the trend of cell-phone donating isn't very efficient. Please people, if you haven't donated already and intend to, do it directly instead.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:33 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Scientology Volunteer Ministers Take the Lead in Haiti Relief Efforts

From that piece (I'm reluctant to use the word "article"):

Scientology Disaster Response training ... discovered by humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, helps relief workers hone their communication skills, and trains them in Scientology Assists, a technology that provides a gentle massage when someone is in the midst of a crisis.

In point of fact, Scientology Volunteer Ministers are the only people on the planet who can provide true assistance when disaster strikes.


In any other context, this would simply be hysterically funny. But there's nothing funny about the earthquake, and nothing funny about people trying to use it for self-promotion.
posted by Forktine at 1:53 PM on January 17, 2010


I agree with phillip-random, and I normally find Naomi Klein a little ridiculous and overwrought anyway. I just think it's not time to debate the politics while thousands are dying.

Clearly, instead of exposing (or exploring, if you disagree with her) the systemic issues that lead to problems like this, Naomi Klein should be in Port-au-Prince, dragging bodies out from under collapsed houses. Which is where, surely, you must be posting to Metafilter from right now.

The reason the phrase "too soon" is practically a punchline these days is because while yes, it is too soon to mention the sociopolitical ramifications of such an event to a Floridian woman who just lost her parents in the earthquake, it's never too soon to turn an analytical eye on world events.

The earthquake in Haiti was a horrible, horrible event that boggles the mind in its destruction. That doesn't mean it's in any way constructive for at-home viewers with a flair for the dramatic to insist on everyone in the entire world reacting to disaster exactly the way they do.

My heart goes out to everyone in Haiti, and God knows we could use a little more thinking around these issues, not less.
posted by threeants at 2:15 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not opposed to thinking "around these issues," far from it. It is not time to engage in political conflict about those thoughts.

Also, I don't believe Naomi Klein is "exposing" anything I didn't already know. I rarely think she's got much to add.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:46 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not opposed to thinking "around these issues," far from it. It is not time to engage in political conflict about those thoughts.
Also, I don't believe Naomi Klein is "exposing" anything I didn't already know. I rarely think she's got much to add.


And who are you and what have you done? You already knew about the Heritage Foundation's post that was later retracted thanks to her exposure? It's quite alright for anyone to discuss political aspects, end of story.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:53 PM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is now in operation and accepting donations. It's the official effort which President Obama asked former presidents Clinton and Bush to lead.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:02 PM on January 17, 2010


Officials try to prevent Haitian earthquake refugees from coming to U.S.

That said, I wonder if there will be some kind of UN-led resettlement program to send refugees around the globe to participating countries.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:09 PM on January 17, 2010


And who are you and what have you done?

Wouldn't you just like to know. Sorry if I have an opinion you don't like, but I do believe I am entitled to hold it regardless of whether I am famous or not.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:01 AM on January 18, 2010


And who are you and what have you done?

Rather an absurd question. Were fourchessemac revealed to be BONO, or perhaps Angelina Jolie, would you somehow feel more inclined to embrace his/her comments?

Anyway, as it's now Monday pretty much everywhere on planet earth, let me quickly say that I'm sure Naomi Klein's thoughts on Haiti in particular and so-called disaster exploitation in general are likely well worth looking into.

The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how disaster capitalism – the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock – did not begin with September 11, 2001. .... New, surprising connections are drawn between economic policy, “shock and awe” warfare and covert CIA-funded experiments in electroshock and sensory deprivation in the 1950s, research that helped write the torture manuals used today in Guantanamo Bay.
posted by philip-random at 8:40 AM on January 18, 2010


Magnitude 6.0 quake hits Guatemala coast.
posted by ericb at 9:00 AM on January 18, 2010


And who are you and what have you done?

Rather an absurd question.


Eh, it was obviously used as a rhetorical device.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:07 AM on January 18, 2010


It is not time to engage in political conflict about those thoughts.

Given that Rep. King, in additional to the nutters Limbaugh and Robertson are engaging in political conflict regarding this horror, it's time for some pushback.
posted by angrycat at 10:36 AM on January 18, 2010


it's time for some pushback.

Only if it serves the afflicted, as opposed to our frustrated need to have our own views heard. There is a difference. I mean, do we really want to let these pigfuckers drag us into the mud with them? Or might there be a higher wisdom in biting our tongues and keeping our focus on the depths of the entirely apolitical emergency, still emerging.
posted by philip-random at 11:49 AM on January 18, 2010


Only if it serves the afflicted, as opposed to our frustrated need to have our own views heard.

We're talking in specifics here, not generalities. I don't know why this so hard to grok.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:10 PM on January 18, 2010


Bono Jolie, Jr. actually. Me dad carried mum's eggs to term in an African orphanage. Brad was fine with it.

Here's a new twist. The Scientologists are on the case, with John ("Who Is He and What Has He Done?") Travolta sending down a planeload of "community ministers" to help people avoid psychiatry.

Presumably we can all agree is is too early for some things, this being one of them.

As for Naomi Klein, I regret my phrasing ("she should shut up") even though I find her ideologically stiff presentation of very obvious analyses not particularly interesting. But then I listen to Amy Goodman every night and have read Noam Chomsky and Marx already.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:52 PM on January 18, 2010


Only if it serves the afflicted, as opposed to our frustrated need to have our own views heard. There is a difference. I mean, do we really want to let these pigfuckers drag us into the mud with them? Or might there be a higher wisdom in biting our tongues and keeping our focus on the depths of the entirely apolitical emergency, still emerging.

The point is, that if we don't challenge those who wish to use neoliberal economic theory to plan the rebuilding of Haiti then we are condemning millions of Haitians to many further decades of poverty, alienation, and inequality.

The neoliberal shock therapy is already being prepared by international financial institutions. The trumpeted extra $100m that the IMF has 'given' to Haiti, is actually just a further $100m in debt added to its already crippling debt burden. The conditions of the loans include freezing public sector wages and increasing electricity prices. All in the name of efficiency, free market deregulation and economic 'liberalisation'.

It must be challenged before it is too late.

It is precisely in the period of 'shock'/crisis that contestation is most important.
posted by knapah at 12:54 PM on January 18, 2010



Satellite image released - image from January 13, 2010.

7.0 Quake Near Port Au Prince

Rubble spills onto the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in this GeoEye-1 image from January 13, 2010. The image only hints at the extent of the damage that occurred when a 7.0 earthquake rattled Haiti on January 12, 2010. Several buildings are very clearly damaged, but the other building may also be damaged beneath an intact roof. People, tiny dots at this scale, surround the piles of rubble along the edge of the streets.

There is a link to the image, which is 11 MBs so the detail is quite good.
posted by fluffycreature at 1:05 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would say once people stop dying of infections for lack of antibiotics, anesthesia, or clean surgical instruments, let alone doctors, and that will still leave us enough time to have a properly local microbrew beer after dinner while we debate global capitalism's nefarious effects. What say, shall we traipse down to Alice Waters' place for a nosh? Let me just find my sandals and my protest sign.

The moral high ground can be claimed by anyone with a sufficiently strident tone to his/her voice when all that's at stake is debating points on a web community made up of 90 percent lefty anti-global-development-capitalism types, of whom I am one. I doubt anyone here is shocked or outraged to discover the disaster capitalists are licking their chops. But it's not like Haiti can go much further down from where it is right now, which is to say prostrate and dying.

Also, Haitians do know a thing or too about casting off slavery on their own.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:08 PM on January 18, 2010


two, of course, not too
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:08 PM on January 18, 2010


Also, Haitians do know a thing or too about casting off slavery on their own.

The problem with that theory being that they have been under the yoke of economic slavery for decades now, and it's about to be tightened.
posted by knapah at 1:18 PM on January 18, 2010


I don't think that's what they're under at the moment. I think it's tons of rubble.

But point taken. Let's ride!
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:25 PM on January 18, 2010


I don't think that's what they're under at the moment. I think it's tons of rubble.

I can't do much more than I already have from 4000 miles or so away, I'm afraid.

But point taken. Let's ride!

Sure, just let me get my sandals, protest sign, and local microbrew.
posted by knapah at 1:31 PM on January 18, 2010


Luxury Cruise Ship Docks On Private Haitian Beach, Hosts Barbecue Just 60 Miles From Devastation.
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on January 18, 2010


The Big Picture: Haiti Six Days Later.

Disturbing images; lots of focus on looting, including one man seen pulling a body from a coffin so that he could steal the coffin.
posted by bwg at 3:44 PM on January 18, 2010


Babylon rotten to the core
The shitstem run by a whore


Steel Pulse
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:49 PM on January 18, 2010


8 Things to Keep in Mind About Haiti
posted by b1tr0t at 6:24 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


7) Please also keep in mind what has happened to other countries around the world when a tremendous natural disaster has struck: somehow or another, large amounts of land get bought up by foreign companies and the locals wind up getting displaced. Haiti is unfortunately ripe for this right now -- so please keep your own attention on this and help the Haitians resist such a takeover if it starts happening. (The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein is a great documentation of this happening all over the world)

Guess we're now officially free to open Ms. Klein's insightful/essential can of worms.
posted by philip-random at 8:23 PM on January 18, 2010


(that wasn't my intent at all, it just happened that way)
posted by b1tr0t at 9:09 PM on January 18, 2010


The trumpeted extra $100m that the IMF has 'given' to Haiti, is actually just a further $100m in debt added to its already crippling debt burden.

Without reference to what is "crippling" or not, as surely debt is a burden, I would like to remind you that Haiti had a considerable chunk of its international debt cancelled in 2009 -- $1.2 billion (of a total of $1.9 billion) by the World Bank and IMF alone. Some millions more have been cancelled this week, and France has called on other creditor nations to do the same.

It's pretty sad, though, to see agronomist Preval practically ignoring direct pleas from the country to speak to it, while doing plenty of media interviews and gladhanding with bigwigs. I don't think that it could be made more clear whom he considers his constituency to be.

I have no great love for Hugo Chavez -- a demagogue well on his way to being a President-for-Life -- but his Bank of the South^ is a great idea. I wonder -- since it is technically operational -- whether they will offer money to Haiti, and what the result of that offer would be. It's not so much that I think the IMF approach is wrong -- it certainly has its detractors and drawbacks -- as that I like to see competition and alternatives. Eric Toussaint has some thoughts along these lines.
posted by dhartung at 9:26 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just got word that my father (75 years old) has been relieved by other surgeons and made it back to the States.

And now another quake.
posted by strangeguitars at 6:56 AM on January 20, 2010


And now another quake.

I don't think the latest quake will do much more physical damage, but it will no doubt be a huge psychological blow. Haitians were just starting to go back indoors and now that will be taboo again. This morning's Democracy Now! is rather heartbreaking also. Up to 20k people are dying each day because they can't get operated on fast enough. US Soldiers are getting in the way and causing fears of occupation. Supplies are running out even as aid is coming in droves. There are also countless overcrowded boats leaving Haiti, and who knows how many people will die at sea while trying to escape?

In a weird way, I'm almost envious of support staff on the ground there because they can actually do something even if they are working against the tide. Here in my office, donating a few bucks is perhaps a little bit of something, but it doesn't at all help the feeling of frustration.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:02 AM on January 20, 2010


US Soldiers are getting in the way and causing fears of occupation.

Is that the perception of the people on Democracy Now! or the people of Haiti? Reading the actual Twitter postings and so forth of actual Haitians, they're very grateful for the increased American (and international) presence and have been voicing a lot of complaint about the absence of any presence of the Haitian government.
posted by billysumday at 7:05 AM on January 20, 2010


Is that the perception of the people on Democracy Now! or the people of Haiti?

It was more the opinion of the foreign doctors interviewed. I think it's inevitable that the US will blunder here, but it will learn some valuable lessons about crisis/disaster management (which is a role I would really love to see the military fully embrace in the future if we can wean ourselves off of perpetual wars).
posted by Burhanistan at 7:07 AM on January 20, 2010


Has the military ever tried to cultivate a separate branch that would train and deploy explicitly for humanitarian relief? Seems like it would be awesome. 20,000 troops, all with knowledge of first aid, cultural immersion, language skills, etc., but also having the strength, discipline, and knowledge of weapons as a soldier. I'm sure this has been considered and there are reasons why this is a bad idea.
posted by billysumday at 7:27 AM on January 20, 2010


New York Times: Normally wary Haitians welcome U.S. troops -- ‘We can’t do it without them,’ survivors say amid ‘vacuum of government.’
posted by ericb at 7:32 AM on January 20, 2010


Amazing rescue six days after the quake.
posted by ericb at 7:33 AM on January 20, 2010


Another amazing resuce seven days after the quake.
posted by ericb at 7:36 AM on January 20, 2010


In the event anyone cares, there's a nice discussion of earthquake & structural engineering in this document from the American Institute of Steel Construction.

Note, for some ungodly reason they frame the PDF, but it can be saved locally. At certain points it gets quite technical, so you'd better be fairly interested in the topic, but it is pretty interesting and covers code development in some detail.
posted by aramaic at 8:46 AM on January 20, 2010


Has the military ever tried to cultivate a separate branch that would train and deploy explicitly for humanitarian relief?

Obama proposed something along those lines & the wingnuts went into seizures calling it the rebirth of the Fourth Reich. This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by scalefree at 10:17 AM on January 20, 2010


An architectural magazine in the Dominican Republic has posted images of the destruction wrought by the earthquake on Haitian museums and historic sites.
posted by gudrun at 6:52 AM on January 21, 2010


Faces of Haiti, from The Big Picture.
posted by bwg at 3:47 PM on January 22, 2010


"It's a very slippery slope from that to a situation where those with the most guns and muscle are in control of critical supplies".

Well they are now pal, theyre called the us military.



"let's keep this thread a place to post links and updates, not grind personal axes, kthx.
"


Has the military ever tried to cultivate a separate branch that would train and deploy explicitly for humanitarian relief? Seems like it would be awesome. 20,000 troops, all with knowledge of first aid, cultural immersion, language skills, etc., but also having the strength, discipline, and knowledge of weapons as a soldier.


You call this an on topic comment about how to help the haitians ?

But anyway, never mind the lies about haiti - lets just move the troops right on in there - the ones that refuse access to medicins sans frontiers - at least they are protecting us from the people building roadblocks of bodies.

I find it hard to believe there isnt any pepsiblueing going on in this thread. Such is the level of idiocy, it could only come from people being paid, surely ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:47 AM on January 23, 2010


Stop treating these people like savages
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:58 AM on January 23, 2010


sgt.serenity: Chances are you're raging in an empty theater. This thread is more recent and more topical to your points and your link.
posted by billysumday at 7:23 AM on January 23, 2010


not really, it is trying to jigger the game board just a tad to shift advantage
posted by infini at 9:20 AM on January 23, 2010


Man found in good condition under rubble 11 days after quake, French official says.
posted by ericb at 12:46 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kenyan Entrepreneur reacts to a David Brooks Haiti Op-Ed about "Progress-Resistant Cultures"

...culture has a lot to do with a country’s progress. I’ve said before that Africa’s poverty can be attributed to the fact that Africa does not have a culture of production. If something cannot be extracted from the ground (e.g. oil, gold, etc, etc) – we simply will not create or make it and this culture of non-production is the main cause of Africa’s poverty. That’s why foreign aid hasn’t worked. It’s because the do-gooder’s of the world have refused (out of fears of being labeled “racist” – have refused to confront this underlying question of culture)
.


More here
posted by infini at 3:58 AM on January 24, 2010


Scientology rescue plane leaves 70 doctors & nurses behind.
posted by scalefree at 2:29 PM on January 24, 2010


Man found in good condition under rubble 11 days after quake, French official says.

Trapped survivor lived on soda, beer and cookies [video | 03:32].
posted by ericb at 3:02 PM on January 24, 2010


150,000 bodies buried in graves, Haitian official says.
posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on January 24, 2010


a wee documentary about haiti - before the earthquake -
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:40 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haiti: Operational Biosurveillance is updating on some of the public health/medical issues being faced there. This post from a NYC surgeon is pretty revealing.
The issues we were unprepared for and witnessed were:

1. The amount of human devastation
2. The complete lack of a medical infrastructure in the country
3. The lack of support of the Haitian medical community
4. The complete lack of any organization on the ground
5. Lack of any security at all at the hospital
posted by lullaby at 10:48 AM on January 25, 2010


Haiti: A cultural agony in a nation where art is life.
posted by gudrun at 6:26 AM on January 26, 2010


Girl pulled out alive 15 days after quake.
posted by ericb at 5:32 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


More on Haiti's Cultural Destruction.
posted by gudrun at 6:56 AM on January 28, 2010


oh wow, the thread is still live
posted by infini at 9:26 AM on January 28, 2010


Worth saying twice: Girl pulled out 15 days after quake.
posted by humannaire at 9:28 PM on February 4, 2010


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