January 13th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

On the way to Haiti

[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
AC360° Anchor

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.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Haiti Earthquake
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Stefanie

    You are one outstanding human being Mr Cooper. Please be safe & thank you.

    January 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  2. Gayle McCauley Malden,Mass.

    Without hesitation,you run to those in need,to share the stories of those affected.Your bringing us into their world will inspire and touch many, to reach out and help. Bless you and all of those in Haiti.Return to us safely.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  3. Laurie

    My heart goes with you and I hope your help will heal some of the pain of that poor people in Haiti.God bless you and everybody that are volunteering and helping.
    The Lord of the Universe will keep you safe and secure in his loving arms. Keep the good work !!! Thanks.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  4. Veronique

    I was so thrilled when I heard you would be going to haiti. Please be safe and I'm confident you bring us the best coverage you cna get from this unmeasurable catastrophy.

    In a sense this catastrophy is man-made too. If the people didn't build where and how they did, many lives could have been saved. That is clearly seen in the much lesser damages suffered in the country side. Misery likes company and so people gathered in one place...

    Thanks again for your genuine interest for Haiti!

    January 13, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  5. Ana-Maria Brujban

    I am glad you're going there, Anderson, but I won't kike to bee in your shoes. It's devastating and heartbreaking.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  6. James Vitale

    Hello Anderson,

    Great work. Hopefully the same urgency that you have in getting there and reporting will spread to other leaders to get there and start the relief. I have a friend there Jay Morse the last I heard he was still there hopefully he is ok. Thanks for your work there.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  7. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    Anderson, I am praying for you and the crew and the people of Haiti. Be strong as you journey to do your part in helping them. Your mission is blessed, as you are following your calling. I know the coverage will be outstanding, as CNN is The Best in times of emergency.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  8. Samar Jafri (Tx)

    Mr Cooper...you are the Man........I slaute you for what you doing.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  9. Sandy-Eugene, OR

    Dear Anderson – Thank you for being so brave, and so quick to go where you need to in order to provide us with the details. You are a very classy guy, please stay safe.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  10. Sabrina

    What happened to the kids at the New American School in the Port-au-Prince, Haiti area? I am looking for my sister Paris Brouard, who is an American attending this school. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you for reaching out and helping the people of Haiti.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  11. Lilibeth

    Hi Anderson, thanks so much for being there and for devoting last night's program to Haiti. I've never been there but have read about the country. Their abject poverty, corruption, and as if that's not enough, one disaster after another. I've already donated but I wish I could be there to help. To everyone, please, I urge you all to help; no amount is too small. Anderson, I look forward to your coverage tonight. Take care,

    Edmonds, Washington

    January 13, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  12. Teri

    Waiting to hear about 2 orphaned boys and their caretaker. Boys are age 10 and 5 living in PAP.

    Waiting to hear about a brother and law who is in PAP.

    Waiting to hear about my step sisters husband that just arrived in Haiti yesterday. We know he surrived the intial earthquake. He is located in Canape Vert.

    Waiting to hear from sisters in laws family who located in Delmas, her mother is there for the winter.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  13. Gail Duncan

    My prayers are with you and all of Haiti! Please be safe and thanks for keeping us informed and telling us ways we can assist.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  14. Queenie

    I want to send my prayers to the Haiti people, We are a world of nations, the countries that can help. Need to step up and help Haiti.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  15. Dimaris Fuentes

    Good to hear that you will be reporting from Haiti. Please find out how community organizations in USA can help people from Haiti (food, clothes, etc.). I tried to contact the Consulate in New York but there was no answer.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  16. Olivo

    Back in 2004 I had the opportunity to go to Haiti as part of an American Eagle Airlines crew to deliver supplies after heavy rain and floodings took the lives of thousands of people.
    To see how this empoverish country stuggles to survive is a life changing event. It makes me appreciatte every day the amount of resources and the abundance we are able to enjoy.
    I hope that Anderson can bring as he always do, the attention to the public so resources and help are offered to those suffering at this time in Haiti.
    I just arrived last night in Puerto Rico on a flight from Chicago and personally will try to find a way to help.

    January 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  17. Sheila

    Wow, Anderson – I truly admire you!!!!!! I'm proud of you...was glued to your show last night as you gave us a play by play as the new unfolded and ur interview w/ Wyclef – I'm a fellow Dominican and I feel for my neighboring Haiti – what a trajedy – be careful – is like Haiti can't seem to catch a break – I feel as if God is angry for some reason....but all we can do is pray and help in any which way we can!!! God Speed 🙂

    January 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  18. Paula, Colorado

    It's great to see your writing early today. I pray for all those affected by the disaster. Stay safe! They are lucky to have you there. I look forward to your updates.

    January 13, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  19. melissa

    Thank You Anderson...One way I keep my mind grounded is by feeling tragedy around the world. God Bless you and your travels to bring the truth. I have been praying for the people there and those answering the humanitarian call . May Gods safe and secure arms surround you and the crew during these days ahead.

    January 13, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  20. Michele W

    Anderson, you are the voice of the american youth and of our generation. Thanks for your vigar and thanks for all you do in informing the world of whats really going on!!! Keep up the good work and thanks for being you!!!

    Houston Texas

    January 13, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  21. Avril Lobo

    Praying for the people of Haiti...may the Lord bless them with strength & courage to pull thru', I pray that they will receive all the assistance they can get. I'm glad you're reporting from there....look forward to all your updates. Stay safe, stay strong.

    January 13, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  22. tommy young

    Keep in mind haitian people have had not much, what little they had they lost, we as country must help them, pull troops from certain places around the world and send them to help, donate clothes, tools, shoes, eyeglasses, blankets, pillows, food. Please understand donating money very rarely gets to the victims, its the truth, they need clothing, shelter, food, not cash......where are they going to use cash ??? big companies that take money always take a percentage, like up to 60 percent. So if you live in a major city, like new york, boston, you can find a local haitian center to donate to,god bless them

    January 13, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  23. Laura Franco. Tampa FL

    As always we can count on you to report directly from where the victims are at. Please let us know what things are needed besides money. So proud and glad that you are there. Thanks to all the tweets and FB updates the pictures are just horrible. May God bless you and everybody that are volunteering, donating and doing anything to help the people in Haiti. Keep up the updates. God Bless!

    January 13, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  24. Astrid Merisier

    Thank you Anderson we now you on top of it,what a great honor to have you in Haiti,Jesus will protect you God bless you.

    January 13, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  25. Amber

    After reading what had happened to Haiti this morning I immediately thought of you and sure enough you are already on your way. Keep us in touch Anderson.

    January 13, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  26. Raja Inal

    Be careful Anderson !
    Good is beside U..
    I support U..
    I always pray to Haiti
    Safe Haiti !

    January 13, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  27. Pamella

    My heart and prayers goes out to everyone in haiti. I feel so hopeless to know that there's nothing we can do to make it better for some of the ppl affected by this disaster. May god bless you and keep you safe and i hope that he give each and everyone of you all strenght to rise above this tragedy. Plz be safe MR. Cooper

    January 13, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  28. Dianna

    Anderson.... This is why I admire you so much! Dianna

    January 13, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  29. Elaine C., Ambler, PA

    Glad to see that you are back in motion again Anderson, however, we all wish it was under better circumstances.

    Perhaps your website could post links or notices to all different ways people can help. The architecture and construction industries here are hurting from the economy, so we have the time and knowledge to assist.

    All of you, please be careful.

    January 13, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  30. Isabel Siaba (Brazil)

    Thanks and take care, Anderson!

    Today, we are all Haitians!

    In Brazil we knew that one of Brazilian's most bright was there and died.
    Thousands of losses priceless!

    RIP Zilda Arns, creator of the Children's Pastoral, whose work saves poor children in infant mortality, malnutrition and violence in their family and community context.

    Today, we are all Haitians!

    January 13, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  31. Diane DeCicco

    Be strong Anderson. This has to be as equally devastating for a long time visitor as to the residents. I know Haiti grows on people in a big way as do their people, you can't help but love the place and it's people, to see the chaos devastation must be sooo hard. Hold on for this ride, you have to know you're the best man for this job. We are relying on your expert top notch reporting as you know how to do so well. Be strong and blessings to you and the Haitian people in their most difficult time.

    January 13, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  32. Olivia Bailey

    I hope that American aide can get there soon so we can help. My heart goes out to the families and you AC

    January 13, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  33. Kathleen Hilbert

    Please return safe. I remember watching you every night during Katrina. We will get the REAL story fron you.
    God Bless you and ALL of the people in Haiti.
    Kathleen Hilbert

    January 13, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  34. Sally

    Watching 360 last night; I was wondering when you'd go. I just knew you had to be there to report this tragedy the way only Anderson Cooper can. The images are horrific from here and I can't imagine what you're going to witness. God Bless you, stay safe.

    January 13, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  35. Cherisa

    Haiti has been through so much, and it's heartbreaking to watch coverage of the earthquake. It's a long road ahead; hoping our support doesn't end with relief donations.

    January 13, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  36. Marilyn

    May God be with you. be carefull Anderson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  37. barb

    Glad that Anderson is there...very proud of him...thx for the update & can't believe i'll say this but thx for the twits as well...& the picture 🙂

    January 13, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  38. Antonio Marcelin

    Sorry for all people who have been affected by this. Be positive and God will help you through.
    i have my niece a us born citizen in port au prince just two miles away from the palace, I can't get a hold of them" my family", she is just over 2 and 1/2 years old. I need some help too. 786-3267084
    Thank you.

    January 13, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  39. Joyce

    Perhaps some of our unemployed engineers and construction workers could help lay a good foundation for the rebuilding of Haiti.

    January 13, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  40. Donna Estes

    God be with you AC on your journey. My heart aches for the Haitian people. May all the divine goodness of the universe be cast upon these poor people, that they may recover somehow.

    Hell is truly here on Earth.

    January 13, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  41. jessica

    please tell me how to get there and help. nurse in ct, scheduled mobile medical clinic in haiti next week, full staff and supplies ready to go! just not sure how to get into country...or where to stay as our reservations were for the hotel montana. we will stay in tents if need be.

    January 13, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  42. Claudine Rodrigue

    Hi Anderson,

    I am from the Caribbean myself, and my heart and prayers go out to the island. I do have a troubling thought reagarding this disaster though, is France going to be helping with relief. Why have abandoned Haiti, I understand the history behind it. In my opinion, they have left Hait to deal with all of their castastrophies on their own. I really hope they will step up and be at the forefront with relief. Thanks, Claudine

    January 13, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  43. Sarah, Canterbury UK

    I saw the news early this morning in the UK and initial reports show this is a major event and there has been significant damage to life and infrastructure.

    Naturally, the challenge over the coming hours and days will be to get resources and support into the area, which from what you are saying will be needed.

    I am sure you are seeing this, but we are seeing reports of UN staff being injured and significant damage to roads and buildings.

    I am sure you will put out information so people can offer assistance through the red cross etc.

    This is what you do best Anderson and we will follow the story tonight.

    January 13, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  44. Judith Orcel

    I am a nurse living in Miami. I am requesting assistance in locating my family as I have been informed via text message that my family home is in ruins. I have no information on my family members. My family lives in Petion Ville just outside of Port Au Prince. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you and God bless your efforts and be safe.

    January 13, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  45. Mike Foster

    Sir my mother is a misssionary there she is in port au prince no contact thus far i am trying to get there..desprate.. her name is judy foster
    working with harvest international out of ocala fl

    January 13, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  46. Ruth

    Anderson, thanks for going. You did a tremendous job in New Orleans and we look forward to your report in Haiti. A question: who/how do we give to for reliable support of the people in Haiti? In his 10/09 newsletter Tony Campolo wrote that he learned at the Clinton Global Initiative that there are "more than 9,000 faith-based agencies seeking to help the Haitian people out of their oppressive poverty, most of which accomplish little or nothing."

    January 13, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  47. gaby

    Please, go to carrefour ....we have family there we are still unable to contact them, most of the information and pictures are only from Port of Prince. My sister in law she got there on sunday from Guadaloupe, my brother in law also lives there.
    We desperately need news, all we can do is pray...

    January 13, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  48. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi there Anderson,
    Looking forward to seeing how things are going over there. Good luck and stay safe. I guess there are still some aftershocks going on even now. Thanks for everything you do – or shall I say, Merci Beaucoup Aller. Hope you have a good day.

    January 13, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  49. J Charles

    Please keep posting about the trip to Haiti as some volunteers (like myself) want to know if its feasible to come to the island to help.

    January 13, 2010 at 9:24 am |
  50. Cindy

    I am glad that you Cooper are going to report on this tragedy! My heart goes out to these people and I will definitely be praying for their safety and well being.

    I can't imagine what it had to have been like to sit all night waiting for day to break and not knowing what they would see, where they would go or even if their family or friends would be alive. I hope that help comes very soon for them!

    Thanks Cooper for going to tell these peoples story! Please be careful and stay safe!!


    January 13, 2010 at 9:18 am |
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