January 18th, 2010
03:09 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz: Desperate for help in Haiti

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/18/haiti.looting.jpg caption="Looters search under the rubble in Port-au-Prince"]

Ella Perlis
AC360° Associate Producer

Specially trained international teams continue to search for and rescue trapped victims throughout Haiti, but many of those saved are in dire need of medical care. More relief organizations and troops are arriving, but with communication limitations and travel restrictions, the desperately needed food, water and supplies are not reaching people fast enough. The frustration over the delay has left many wondering if the U.S. has done enough to help, and who will take charge in the coming days to protect the injured and homeless? Donations are flowing in through text messages and websites, but how can the cash turn to aid immediately?

Anderson encountered a chaotic scene this afternoon at a Port-au-Prince store. It’s the type of trouble that disaster experts have feared since last Tuesday. People forced their way over debris and into the store through the roof to take whatever they could reach. The owner, armed with guns, fired into the air to scare the scavengers away from his property, but they could not be deterred. Anderson described violent altercations, including rock throwing that left a boy bleeding profusely from his head. He removed the boy from crossfire, but there’s no telling how many others will be hurt in the pandemonium. Who can instill order? Were these people looting or rightfully fighting for survival? We’ll get Anderson’s full report on the situation tonight.

Through the destruction and despair, there are also stories of compassion and joy. On Friday, Gary Tuchman reported on an orphanage that lost its shelter, and ultimately its safety, in the quake. Tonight he brings us an update as several of the children from the orphanage, as they travel to the U.S. for adoption. Gary accompanies these boys and girls as they experience a first – flying in an airplane – and embark on a new life after the trauma from the quake. We’re also digging deeper on how the quake will affect the children that are in the process of being adopted, and those who still need a family.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been on the frontlines in Haiti as both a physician and journalist. Over the weekend, Dr. Gupta spoke with Secretary Hillary Clinton about the relief effort, and today he was called by the U.S. military to perform surgery aboard the USS Carl Vinson. As the closest neurosurgeon, they needed his expertise to operate on a 12-year old with a severe head injury. We will hear from him about the young girl’s condition, and the evolving status of medical resources in Haiti.

In terms of equality and human rights, there is certainly a lot to reflect on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Many have honored Dr. King’s legacy today by serving their neighborhood, but also by supporting the Haitian community through drives and fundraisers. CNN is continuing the effort tonight with a Larry King Live telethon from 8 – 10 p.m. ET. Tune in to see your favorite celebrities manning the phones, and learn how you can help. Then stay with us for the latest with Anderson live from Haiti.

What do you think about the relief effort in Haiti? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Ella Perlis • The Buzz
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. karela

    We sit here at home and we are impatient that not all of these people have medical care, food, water and shelter immediately. We have no concept of what is involved physically in loading food for two million people on trucks and then trying to move those trucks through areas where the roads are gone or completely filled with rubble. It takes great roads and a few hundred thousand people to feed any of our major cities every day. To put things in perspective, try to imagine what you would need to do to collect supplies and personally feed a thousand people who were fifteen miles away from your home over impassable roads--and you have to do it immediately, right now, today. Ten thousand troops sounds like a lot but when they have to serve two or three million people, they're spread pretty thin. Oh, and you have to do this task while risking your life as rough young men loot, steal and attack you and others. They can't distribute food and water without security because they're mobbed and attacked. It's the U.N. who is pushing security for any aid workers going out.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    With aid so slow and the damage so massive what are the Haitians going to do (and how will other countries help them?) when hurricane season begins? Haiti usually gets hit with at least a lot of rain if not the hurricane itself each year. I hope Haiti is not going to experience even more heartache and destruction this year. CNN is doing a great job covering this earthquake story – what you see on the reports leaves you speechless most times.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  3. scott sinclair

    As far as the housing crisis goes...why not get FEMA to donate the Kartrina relief trailers that they could not use OR sell. Collect them all and barge them from New Orleans to Haiti and distribute as needed. I would imagine that 2 families could share each trailer...better than blue tarps and cardboard.

    January 18, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  4. cathy dougherty

    Can someone tell me why everyone is not horrified that the government of Haiti is so inept, why arent the hard questions being asked of them, like where is the help. why arent you on the streets trying to help your people

    January 18, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  5. Dee CT

    There is no reason are troops could not of been dropped into Haiti sooner than this. Are military is certainly capable. The Military could of been drop into sites and supplies dropped in that position as soon as they gave the word. If this is the best that could be done for a small island, It is truly sad.....(UNSAT)

    January 18, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  6. Larry

    What are the African nations doing to help? Where's Mandela?

    January 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  7. Debby

    Unless you have been to Haiti you are being ignorant and do not understand that even without an earthquake it is difficult to get things done. This is the poorest country in the Western world. I have been there and what they need is money given to large established organizations already on the ground before the earthquake. I don't think anyone can criticize Americans or the American government. The airport can't sustain the traffic coming in, the port is destroyed and has to be repaired before boats like the Comfort can dock. It's not like here in America where you have multiple points of entry – Port au Prince is the point of entry. I guess people don't remember Katrina – there are still families suffering and displaced. Give your money and stop compaining.

    January 18, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  8. Richard C

    I am wondering why the Coordinators in distribution, aren't using that big open space area in front of the Palace? It's accessible to all and has a fence which can help in crowd control. It can also be used to medivac all the injured. Perfect place for bringing in the Heavy Equipment by air. Just not enough being done before more people die!

    January 18, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  9. Tim Gibson

    We all know of the disaster mother nature can bring, and it is only compounded by a lack of coordination, a failure to reach people as they struggle to survive and a break down of society, be it what it may, in the days that follow a disaster such as this. Peopel become desperate and perhaps lose sight of rational thought in the process.

    January 18, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  10. Kim Crouch

    Kudos to CNN and their reporters who have struck the balance between being a reporter and helping out on the ground. Thumbs up to Anderson Cooper for helping that little boy out during the looting. I don't know who is in charge but this is ridiculous. People should not be without water and kids should not be without formula in orphanges. I'm personally tired of hearing relief agencies on Tv talking about how much money they've raised when people can't even get water.

    January 18, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  11. Deborah Bright

    Anderson Cooper and Dr. Gupta etc....great job CNN on getting in early.....risking their lives and saving lives where they can....your work is appreciated. Genuine concern for humanity is shown. The important thing is to aid where needed....the story will follow, as you have shown.

    January 18, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  12. beth

    I do not thin US slacked at all. Haiti is it's own country, NOT a US territory. That being said Haiti's government is in a state of chaos as well. In this situation the US gov't had to follow protocol otherwise the US would be criticized for stepping in and taking over!! Since the majority of the hatian gov't is in disarray, I do believe that our gov't has done the best they can,bottle necks or not!!

    January 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  13. Peter Marks

    Do people realize that Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gopta are risking their lives in Haiti and saving lives while doing so? What extrodinary human beings. I am proud of CNN and thank all those working for CNN for bringing the world to me. This is journalism at its finest hour and the leaders in journalism are showing the world what they have what it takes to be the best journalists in the world and yes, CNN is "keeping them honest" by reporting first hand from the field exactly what is happening right now in Haiti. This is the best new coverage I have ever witnessed and I am glad there are such dedicated people working for CNN. You are all the best of the best.

    January 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  14. Susan Ford Keller

    Definitely not enough relief efforts from anyone. My brother-in-law, Walt Ratterman and his friend Herbert Kanski are still waiting for rescue at the Hotel Montana. Walt's friends mounted their own rescue team and are now on-site at the Montana. It's shameful that all these great countries couldn't muster aid faster than they did. It's even more shameful that on Martin Luther King's birthday, all these humanitarians who went to Haiti with the best of intentions have been all but forgotten. Why isn't Barack Obama showing solidarity with the Haitians and the foreign nationals in Haiti who were there to help?

    January 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  15. Julia

    I would like to know why when millions of dollars are rolling into the Red Cross and other charities, Haitians are dying from infections! It is unacceptable for this "stupid death" to be occurring. If it's red tape or simply logistics, let's figure it out before more people die senselessly, please! Whatever it takes, let's get it done.

    January 18, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  16. Renee Schofield

    There are many of us who could come to help. But there is no clear direction on how to apply. Or what the requirements for immunizations or physical requirements are. So many skilled people are without jobs right now, it is a good opportunity to use those skills for a good reason. I think we need better information on who to contact for people power.

    There is also a mixed message of how to send aid. Financial aid is a given. Although it appears that even with the $$, the products are having trouble getting in and being distributed. Some reporting agencies say they are struggling, others report that they have enough but need people.

    January 18, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  17. Maria H-Miami

    I believe that if our military had been given permission to excercise Logistics, have full control of the situation from the beginning the victims would have already had accessibility to medical care as well as food/water/shelter. Our military are experts in Logistics, I can't imagine anyone else being better. Would the world criticize the US for taking over completely and tell the UN what to do,yes, I realize there is world wide jealousy of the US and personally I could care less as long as the victims get the help they need. I cried today watching those poor victims looking for food and water in the rubble. I am grateful Dr. Gupta is there giving medical care to the victims, he's a Hero.

    January 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  18. Cindy

    I knew that it was only a matter of time that the people of Haiti would get tired of waiting on help and would start helping themselves to what ever they could by looting. It's a shame though that it has to get to this point. IMO the ones in charge are doing a very poor job and need to get on the ball or hand it over to someone else that can get the ball rolling! Looking forward to seeing Cooper's report from the scene of this looting.

    At least there is something being done right by letting those little orphaned babies get to be taken to the U.S. and be taken out of the mess in Haiti. Hopefully a lot more of them can get out also.

    Sanjay is just doing it all isn't he!? He's reporting, interviewing big "gets", working on the hurt and even operating also. That man needs a medal for all he is doing! He's definitely the hardest working one on CNN by far!


    January 18, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  19. Nancy

    Why haven't the Haitian people heard from the President? I think he could explain to the people at the larger camps what the international community is doing and maybe get this unrest under control.

    January 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  20. Barbara Johnson

    It is unbelievable to see all the destruction and deaths that is occurring. The US has slacked and dropped their guard on this one. It should not take this long to get medical supplies and food to these people. If you are there and you have the supplies then get them there. The US has yet to give there support for saving a life, but the French and Italians are there round the clock. THANK GOD FOR SANJAY GUPTA and Anderson Cooper. We need you to get on the ground and stop hovering in the air. People are dying.

    January 18, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  21. Susan Goodwin

    Definitely need more immediate help. Why is the Comfort ship being sent there so late? Should have gone immediately.!

    January 18, 2010 at 5:20 pm |