[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/13/t1.ac.chopper.jpg caption="Anderson on board a United Nations chopper heading into Haiti." width=300 height=169]
Anderson Cooper | BIO
We are not sure what to expect. The initial reports are bad, but as we all know, they can often be inaccurate. Rumors become facts, guesses become estimates.
On a story like this you need to see it with your own eyes. I am in a taxi in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The airport in Port-au-Prince is shut down, so we flew here on the last flight out of New York at 1 a.m. I bought two cases of water from a cafe at the airport and we are heading to some helicopters that are about to take off for Haiti.
I've made this trip before. In 1994 I drove into Haiti from the Dominican Republic. It wasn't a natural disaster then, it was a man-made one.
The military dictator who was running Haiti was about to be run out of town, and U.S. forces were on their way to return the democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It was a scary time. The thugs who worked for the government still roamed the streets. When U.S. forces finally arrived, I was at the port waiting for them along with hundreds of excited Haitians.
I will never forget the joy, the hope, it was palpable. People hugged one another in the streets. I remember a Haitian woman grabbing me, saying "merci, papa," as if I had something to do with it. I didn't. I just felt lucky to be there.
I've been back to Haiti a lot over the years, in good times and bad. It is a remarkable country, the people are strong. To survive they have had to be. I wish them strength in the difficult hours and days ahead.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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