I crossed the border into Haiti from the Dominican Republic 36 hours after the earthquake hit. As we drove closer to Port-au-Prince, we began to see scenes of destruction and suffering, which only multiplied as we entered the city covered in smoke and in shock.
from Photographers' Blog:
The numbers from Haiti are staggering. Authorities say the death toll is likely to be between 100,000 and 200,000. Already, 75,000 bodies have been buried in mass graves. 1.5 million residents are homeless . Families have been torn apart. Neighborhoods have been flattened. The government has nearly ceased to exist. But numbers can tell only a small part of the story. Scenes of the devastation in Haiti are filling airwaves and newspapers around the world, triggering a flood of compassion and donations.
from Global News Journal:
Everybody who knew French Canadian U.N. staffer Alexandra Duguay loved her. She was attractive, energetic and extremely intelligent. I got to know her well when she worked behind the media counter at U.N. headquarters. She was always eager to make sure we reporters had the latest resolutions, U.N. reports and speeches. And in the evening she enjoyed a glass of wine or beer at the Delegates Lounge. But she was bored with her job and wanted more adventure. One morning last spring she had an unusual twinkle in her eye. I asked her if something was up and she said yes. "I'm going to Haiti." A few months later she had her going-away party at the U.N. Correspondents Association room. She and her boyfriend prepared for their imminent deployment to Haiti, where Alex was to be a spokeswoman and media coordinator for U.N. operations in the Western hemisphere's poorest nation.
from Tales from the Trail:
There's something weirdly symbolic in the sight of thousands of homeless Haitians massed in a sprawling tent city bang in front of the collapsed icing-sugar white presidential palace.
They're here because it's the biggest open space in the capital, but it somehow looks like an appeal for President Rene Preval to come out and speak to his people and reassure them that he stands behind them, that together the country will get through the catastrophe caused by Tuesday's earthquake.
Four days after Tuesday's earthquake the Haitian flag that once fluttered above the National Palace still lies in a wilted heap over the toppled white ruin. In the park opposite, men and women strip to their underpants to bathe in a large fountain and scrub their clothes. The hang their laundry on the park rails.
Garbage is scattered everywhere and the smell of urine and excrement is getting worse.
Far from coming to address them, Preval is holed up in the judicial police headquarters near the airport, mumbling that he can't do much when half the government's offices are destroyed and he doesn't even have a cell phone signal.
Meanwhile, the hundreds of thousands of Haitians who lost their homes and families have been left to fend for themselves, with no food handouts and no proper medical treatment. In many cases, they are seriously injured.
Foreign rescue workers are battling round the clock digging for survivors. But in the absence of a working government, the disaster relief teams who are supposed to be delivering food, latrines and medical supplies are still mostly dithering about sorting out logistics.
From the shambles outside the presidential palace, you wonder if anybody is in charge at all.
"The country is not working right now. It's not even eating," remarked Louis Widlyne, one of the countless people sleeping on a sheet that marks out his living quarters in the park.
A police officer called Joe was more sympathetic. He had received no orders since Tuesday's disaster, but decided on his own on Saturday that it was time to go back on the beat.
"Preval should have come and spoken to his people, but he hasn't," he said. "He is like that. It's just the kind of president he is."