Posted at 1:08 PM ET, 05/31/2010

Israel raid on Gaza flotilla, Mavi Marmara vessel (Videos)

Warning: These videos contain violent images.

Updated 6/1/10
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Videos from the Israel Defense Forces and Arab, Turkish and Iranian media stations are shaping international perceptions online following the deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla seeking to break the Israeli maritime blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory. At least nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed in the incident Monday morning.

The IDF issued a video that provides helicopter footage of the initial moments of the raid and said that the first commando lowered onto the ship was attacked. The civilian activists on board the Mavi Marmara "attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs," the IDF said in a statement accompanying the video.

"As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, as well as live fire," the IDF said. "According to initial reports, these events resulted in the deaths of nine demonstrators and seven naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners have been evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

"Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.

"The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip."

The Israelis also posted a video of one of those warnings to the flotilla being delivered in advance of the raid, and a video from another angle of the soldiers who first rappelled onto the ship being set upon by men wielding batons:

Arab and other Middle Eastern media reports show the the other side -- the wounded civilians aboard the ship and scared passengers. What sounds like gunshots are audible in the background. The videos repeatedly emphasize that the ship was traveling in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea when it was boarded.

"Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal on board the Mavi Marmara sent this report before communications were cut," the international news network Al Jazeera reports:

Another report now circulating online shows a compilation of clips, including of a Press TV reporter as the raid continued. Press TV is a Tehran-based Iranian international news network that broadcasts in English. "We are being attacked from every side," the Press TV reporter said.

The Associated Press lays out the stakes in a video report on the international outrage sparked by the incident:

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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 02/27/2010

Hawaii tsunami tweet tracker

Here is a live stream of tweets related to the tsunami warning for Hawaii. You can also check out our Chile earthquake tweet tracker, and our resources guide for the latest news and more ways to monitor the situation online.

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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 02/27/2010

Chile earthquake tweet tracker

Here is a live stream of tweets related to the massive earthquake that struck central Chile this morning. You can also check out our Hawaii tsunami tweet tracker, and our resources guide for the latest news and more ways to monitor the situation online.

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Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 02/27/2010

Chile earthquake: Resources, reactions online

By Liz Heron

Thousands of people are going online to share information about the massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck central Chile early this morning, and the tsunami warnings in effect for Hawaii and other Pacific Ocean lands. Note that much some of these resources are in Spanish, but can be converted to English through Google's translation tool. Here are the latest updates and resources for following the situation on the web:

Updated 12:07 p.m.

UStream, the "social stream" that allows viewers to interact via Twitter and site comments, is now running live local Hawaii TV coverage of tsunami preparation, in addition to its Chilean TV stream.
Live TV by Ustream


Updated 11:23 a.m.: Estimated arrival of tsunami


Time lines referring to number of hours after the earthquake struck. (Image from the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center)

AccuWeather.com has a map produced by the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center showing estimated arrival times for potential tsunamis across the Pacific ocean (hat tip @journalisti).

Updated 10:00 a.m.

Picfog is collecting all photos posted to Twitter that are related to the earthquake in Chile.

Online crisis-mapping Web site Ushahidi.com is asking people to contribute to their editable Google spreadsheet of the best online sources - news media, blogs, Twitter feeds and others - to watch for the latest information on the earthquake aftermath.

A team of Google developers has created the "Chile person finder", a simple database for those who are looking for someone in Chile or have information about missing persons.

The Red Cross in Chile is posting minute-by-minute updates to their Twitter account (in Spanish): @CruzRojainforma. You can also follow the International Red Cross in English.

A tsunami warning is in effect for almost every country in the Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has tsunami evacuation zone maps for Hawaii. Tsunami waves are also likely to hit Asian, Australian and New Zealand shores within 24 hours of the earthquake. The U.S. West Coast and Alaska, too, were threatened.

Tens of thousands of people are watching live Chilean television coverage on UStream.tv, a "social stream" that allows viewers to interact via Twitter and site comments.

Condolences and news about the quake are flying around Twitter.

The U.S. State Department is encouraging those who want to ask for or provide information about U.S. citizens in Chile to call 1-888-407-4747.

The Washington Post World desk is collecting reports from readers who are in Chile or in touch with friends and family there via our Twitter feed, @postworldnews.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.


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Posted at 9:13 AM ET, 01/19/2010

Dispatches from Haiti: Earthquake aftermath

Personal stories about the impact of last week's massive earthquake, from Washington Post correspondents on the ground in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti.

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010

6 p.m. Unloading supplies on a precarious pier
At the crippled port, men in dug-out canoes and leaky skiffs rowed passengers out to the Trois Rivieres. Out came bananas, rum, boxes of condensed milk, and in went people waving fistfuls of wet Haitian dollars.

The seas were calm, but there was a sense of panic, of last chances.

Out in the hazy distance lay the hospital ship the USNS Comfort. In the harbor, all three of the cranes used to bring commerce and life to Haiti are crippled or submerged. The big one leans into the sea, useless.

There is only one functioning pier. It looks stable, but it is not. U.S. Army diver Sgt. Joshua Palmer says he and his men have examined every piling, and the news is not good. Many are splintered at the tops, tipped with frayed rebar where there should be solid concrete. It is not yet clear if the pier can handle the weight it needs to bear. "I'm just a grunt, but I don't know. There's a lot missing under this pier," Palmer said.

The Americans weren't happy that a French naval vessel, the Francis Garnier, had docked. They weren't being competitive. They were being cautious. The French ship and its cargo could have tipped the pier over like a empty paper cup.

One of the Navy divers said, "Put on your life preservers." He wasn't kidding. Nearby, the civilian engineer for the Navy had made a pendulum out of a piece of string, a twig and a weight -- a half-full plastic eye dropper. He told a sailor to keep an eye on it.

"If it starts to swing, run," he said.
--William Booth in Port-au-Prince


4:54 p.m. Unable to stay alive in Haiti
Maxo Osnac Dantica was "a casualty of two countries," said his cousin, writer Edwidge Danticat.

In the fall of 2004, he fled Haiti with his father, the Rev. Joseph Dantica, an 81-year-old Baptist minister whose church had been set afire by local gangs. They arrived in Miami, asked for asylum and were taken into custody at Krome Service Processing Center, a federal immigration detention facility.

Soon after, when his father became violently ill and fell unconscious, Krome workers accused him of faking his symptoms. Maxo Dantica was brought in to try to talk with him but was crying so hard that he could not speak.

Belatedly taken to a hospital, his father died a day later, shackled to a hospital bed.

Maxo Dantica was released on his birthday, the day after his father died, and stayed in the United States for a time pursuing an immigration case, but an old drug conviction was getting in the way. About three years ago, he returned to Bel Air, overlooking downtown Port-au-Prince, and took up his father's work, running the church school and raising money for neighbors who needed help. Last Tuesday, when the earthquake struck, Dantica, 61, raced down a flight of stairs in the church compound. The school building and apartments collapsed on him.

Each day, his wife and cousins, homeless and staying out of the city, returned to the site, "lifting one rock at a time," said Danticat, the writer, who lives in Miami. On Wednesday, they found part of his remains.

"He wasn't able to stay here, and he wasn't able to remain alive there," said Danticat, who was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship last fall.

Amid the destruction, though, the church still stands.
--Amy Goldstein in Washington


4:43 p.m. 'I don't know what we are going to do'
The aftershock Wednesday woke up Charles Mario's family, who like most people in Jacmel have been sleeping outside since last Tuesday's earthquake.

In the La Kobat neighborhood of shops, homes and art galleries on narrow streets next to the ocean, most of the buildings were destroyed.

The neighborhood now is strung with caution tape, with rope holding up makeshift homes constructed from tarps and colorful sheets, and the tattered remains of garlands for Jacmel's famous carnival, which is supposed to be happening now.

When the aftershock rumbled, people cried out, dogs howled and roosters crowed. And Mario wondered what to do with his family.

"I've got five children. My mother. My sister. My niece. In my house -- but I don't have a house," he said, standing in front of the crumpled-up home with his family spread out on blankets and chairs around him on the street.

His mother was badly injured last Tuesday, but the hospital was so overcrowded, with people crammed under tarps in a small courtyard, that they sent her home. He doesn't know how she can sleep in the street, with a big gash in her head.

The aftershock only made their home more shaky, he said.

"I don't know what we are going to do."
--Susan Kinzie in Jacmel


4:02 p.m. For best friends, a final ride home

Sue Frame sat on a blanket at the side of the tarmac Wednesday morning with a bandana pulled up over her mouth and nose and a white body bag covered in flies at her side.

Inside the bag was her best friend, and she was waiting for a U.S. military helicopter to take him back to the United States, where his parents were waiting.

Frame opened her friend's dusty passport to show his photo: Flora Raven McGarrell, a 35-year-old artist with dark hair and intense eyes. They met 16 years ago at the Maryland Institute College of Art, which is holding a memorial for him in Baltimore this evening. They were in Baltimore performance-art group Little Big Bang together, lived together, survived a fire together, lost everything, found it.

McGarrell ran the nonprofit art center Foundation Art Center of Jacmel (FOSAJ) for the past couple of years.

Frame came to Jacmel two weeks ago, and last Tuesday afternoon, they went to the new hotel in town, the Peace of Mind.

They got papaya smoothies, ham-and-cheese sandwiches, and checked their email at one of the few places in town with a wireless connection. They were eating, and all of sudden, "the building looked like water," Frame said, waving her pale arms in front of her like seaweed in waves.

She yelled, and they both started running. She looked back, and saw him hesitate, and turn back. When she got 50 or 100 feet away from the building, she turned back. She saw the third floor shake. Then it dropped.

The entire building, so new it had only been open for a few weeks, collapsed.

On Tuesday afternoon, just five minutes shy of a week later, rescue workers pulled McGarrell's body out of the rubble.

Tuesday night she and a friend found a body bag, and brought her best friend to the airport. Wednesday all she had to do was wait, and get him home.
-- Susan Kinzie in Jacmel


3:07 p.m. Hospital becomes microcosm of Haiti's loss and pain
The 82nd Airborne has arrived --and discovered that it will take point-of-the-spear force, not to mention patience, to bring order to the snarl of people around the capital's main hospital.

In a searing mid-morning sun, a group of soldiers worked the hospital entrance, a microcosm of the loss and pain this city is enduring.

Patients are being treated everywhere, with many recovering in courtyards and over-capacity wards rank with the smell of open wounds and infection.

Two U.S. soldiers checked cars that had been cleared to pass through the compound's high green gate, and three others kept back the growing crowd, most of them there to visit injured relatives.

In the category of small victories, the soldiers managed to shepherd the waiting Haitians into a line.

About 20 people back stood Ologune Pierre-Ville, 24, who had been waiting for three hours. Her cousin, Danielle, is inside recovering from a broken leg caused when her home fell.

Pierre-Ville, who had seen Danielle once since the quake, held a plastic bag filled with toilet paper, sanitary napkins, soap and a bottle of water. The hospital these days is strictly bring-your-own-supplies.

"I'm hurting a lot right now," she said. "And I'm worried about how she's doing in there."

The smell of death hung heavily over the line, although the U.S. soldiers braved it without the surgical masks that have become part of the standard wardrobe here since the quake.

The woman in line behind Pierre-Ville pioneered a new defense against the sickening odor. She pushed a Vick's inhaler dispenser into each nostril. It would be hours before either woman made it into the hospital.
--Scott Wilson in Port-au-Prince

2:20 p.m. At search and rescue scene, hope for Hollywood ending
There was a rumor, then a feeling, then something like a hopeful certainty surrounding the fate of the child inside the home on Muller Street.

Was 2-year-old Anne Christienne alive amid the crushed masonry and bent tin? Could she possibly be alive eight days after the earthquake?

The New York City Search and Rescue team arrived in a line of Excursions and Suburbans at 9 a.m., quickly unloading bolt cutters, a stretcher, a generator, and a German shepherd trained to smell the living rather than the dead.

New York-accented voices crackled over two-way radios as Lt. Tom Donnelly's crew, many of them veterans of the World Trade Center collapse, made their way into the ruins in search of little Anne.

The men worked along the home's treacherous second story, cutting through iron bars over the windows and disappearing inside. The sound of collapsing brick and timber rang out a few minutes later.

"We're in the kitchen," came the voice over the two-way, as another crew member emerged, covered in flour-white dust.

"Are you okay?" a colleague asked him.

"Yeah, yeah, fine."

Search and rescue scenes have become street theater in the quake's aftermath, with Haitians swarming to get a look at each one. Across the ruined capital, there have been Hollywood endings, but more often tragedies.

As onlookers gathered along Muller Street, the crew shushed them, straining to hear a slight cry that might give away Anne's position. Nothing. Another dog howled from inside his cage. A half hour passed.

"Steve, start loading everything up," came the voice over the two-way.

One of the senior officers made his way through the crowd to a woman sitting on the hood of a white Toyota, her hands holding her face.

"We tried. Can you tell her we tried?" the officer told his Creole translator. "We searched with cameras, we searched with dogs. There's nothing else we can do right now."

The women listened, then broke into deep sobs, leaning into the man next too her.

"Tell them I'm sorry," the officer said. "Make sure to say I'm sorry."
--Scott Wilson in Port-au-Prince


12:19 p.m. For Army medic, Haiti almost worse than a war zone
For hours, Sgt. Eric Morales-Diaz, who is an Army medic, helped out at a hospital in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.

"People are dying of basic infections," he said. "Bones were exposed and there weren't even basic bandages. Doctors don't have anything."

"It's frustrating to see because we can only do so much in the time we have," he said, adding that in some ways, it's easier to work in Iraq and Afghanistan than in Haiti.

"Over there we have transportation, we can move things around and we can meet the needs," he said. "Here we don't have that. It's getting better but it isn't easy."
--Dana Hedgpeth in Port-au-Prince


11:17 a.m. U.S. citizens line up to leave Haiti after morning tremors
As black smoke billowed nearby, hundreds of American citizens lined up outside the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince, seeking paperwork that will allow them to leave Haiti. Some were en route to the State Department offices when they felt this morning's aftershock.

"I was very scared," said Josue Pierre, 33, a businessman in line with his four-year-old daughter. "My daughter looked at me and said, 'Daddy, Daddy. Are we going to die?'" The family is attempting to travel to Boston, to meet Pierre's wife. "Something else is going to happen here. It is just too scary to stay. It is time to go away," he said.

Near him in line, Fredistone and Linda Octavien waited for papers that will get them to Orlando, Fla., Linda's hometown. After their two-story house collapsed in last week's quake, they started sleeping outside under a tree. When they felt this morning's aftershock, they knew it was time to leave. "It is still shaking and it's just crazy," said Fredistone. "You can't stay in your house. You have to stay outside. We're going to wait it out for a bit and see what happens."

Rayhold Phanore, a pastor en route to Orlando with his daughter, saw his neighbors' roof collapse during this morning's aftershock, crushing the family sleeping inside. "When I felt the ground moving this morning, I ran out of my house," Phanore said. "It is so very, very bad here. Everybody's afraid. We don't know what's going to happen next. You think everything is done and then it keeps shaking."
--Dana Hedgpeth in Port-au-Prince


7:11 a.m. 'I thought someone was shaking my bed to wake me up'

At just around 6 a.m., Specialist Christopher Dollman of the 18th Airborne from Fort Bragg was catching his last few z's of sleep when he felt his cot shake. "I thought someone was shaking my bed to wake me up," he said. Instead it was an earthquake. "We had to get up at 6 anyway so it was convenient timing."

Since coming in with his unit Sunday, Dollman, who is a radio operator, has been helping to guard the gate at a military post. The spot was a former bus parking lot that the Army turned into its command post to run the computer systems, logistics and operations of its humanitarian effort.

Dollman has spent hours at the tall gate where Haitians stand outside looking in. "I'd say about 150 a day ask me for something," he said. "They're really good people. They want jobs, water, food." But he's in a unit that provides supplies and helps sustain the Army's operations so he can't give them anything. "You have to explain to them that for us to help them we have to sustain ourselves. It hurts a little but you have to say it. And they see we're trying to help. I tell them 'I'm not the boss.' Most of them get it.'"

--Dana Hedgpeth in Port-au-Prince


Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010

5:29 p.m. 'In the U.S. we could save their limbs, but here you can't'

Late Tuesday afternoon, four orthopedic surgeons from the University of Miami stood outside a Vision Airlines plane on the tarmac in Port-au-Prince waiting to board. After four days in the capital working in a facility at the U.N. compound, they were headed home. In that time, they amputated legs, arms, fingers of Haitians -- many of them children -- whose injuries had become infected with gangrene. Some had flies and maggots in their wounds. Others were treated for bad fractures.

Veronica Diaz, one of the surgeons, said she did 24 operations -- 13 amputations -- in the past two days, and she showed pictures of a child who lost his fingers. Another photo showed her working to cut off a man's severely infected leg.

"In the U.S. we could save their limbs, but here you can't," said Zak Mahmood, another surgeon.
--Dana Hedgpeth in Port-au-Prince


3:41 p.m. A makeshift clinic at destroyed Jacmel hospital
A black hog wandered behind the crumbled cement of the maternity ward, which was destroyed in the earthquake, along with most of the rest of the Hospital St. Michel in this port city and popular tourist destination about 25 miles southwest of the capital.

A few inches away, patients lay on beds, on bright green planks pulled from the rubble, or leaned on family members waiting for help. A girl held an IV drip for her sister, who was lying on a bed mat on the ground, sweat pouring off her face, which was twisted in agony.

The patients were all outside, like everyone else in Jacmel, which was still suffering aftershocks Tuesday morning. String held up tarps, keeping off the almonds that kept dropping from the trees. But it made it unbearably hot in what had become a neighborhood, with families bringing meals and living alongside the hundreds of injured who were crammed in the small courtyard.

Laundry hung along one broken wall to dry, and in one corner a woman sewed a ripped dress, brushing away flies that settled on open wounds.

Close enough to reach out and touch one another, patients lay moaning as volunteer doctors and nurses wrapped gauze around wounds. A small boy stood, hands on his head, mouth trembling as he watched a doctor check his sister's leg.

A woman limped up the hill toward the tarps on crutches; another dropped onto a bench, bandages all over her head, whimpering softly in the midst of the crowd. Another slept on a low concrete wall covered in the white dust from the rubble. Behind her curved back, a man fanned his wife, who had just gotten a splint for a leg broken last week. A skinny brown dog slipped under the tarp, and he shooed it away.
--Susan Kinzie in Jacmel


3:34 p.m. Russian rescuers find man alive in Haiti rubble
Along Rue Dessaline on Tuesday morning, something like a miracle occurred.

A week after the earthquake, Russian search and rescue workers pulled a man alive from the rubble of the national telephone company headquarters, a once-hulking multistory building that has crumbled into chunks of concrete.

Rue Dessaline is the main commercial strip here, and lately it has been the focal point for looters seeking food, appliances and anything else of value.

But on Tuesday morning it buzzed with something like hope. The rescue started when Logan Abassi, a U.N. photographer surveying the damage downtown, came across the man while prowling the rubble.

It took him a minute to understand what he was seeing: a man in a sky-blue Izod shirt speaking to him from a small pocket in a pile of rubble 10 to 15 feet below him. Only the man's left hand was trapped, but that was enough to keep him from escaping.

Abassi climbed down to give him some water, then went for help.

"I scrambled down the pile and into the street," he said. "Just then the Russians were coming by, and I flagged them down."

In blue jumpsuits, the Russian team climbed the 50-foot-high debris pile and worked quickly to free the man, who appeared to be in his early 30s. It took them eight minutes to remove the debris from his hand, and they lifted him out into daylight.

His left hand was mangled and rotting after a week of infection. As they carried him down the pile in a stretcher, he looked dazed but awake.

Russian medics put an IV in his arm, and a crowd from Rue Dessaline swarmed around the survivor's stretcher, turning the debris pile into arena seating to witness the unbelievable.

A man, alive.
--Scott Wilson in Port-au-Prince


3:29 p.m. Contemplating a bleak future in Pétionville
There were five of them, then 10, then more than 20 -- all men, all gathered around a small radio that was perched on a rickety chair in a public park in Pétionville. Named for Alexandre Pétion, the 18th-century Haitian general and president -- this suburb of the capital city is where some of the country's wealthiest live. Now, though, with its overflowing trash piles and families huddled under tents amid the smell of feces and urine, it now holds a fair share of desperate earthquake survivors.

It wasn't clear what, if anything, was coming through over the airwaves. But the slightest possibility of new information was too tempting to pass up. Along with the dire questions of where to find food and water, the men explained, they faced another challenge: how to pass the time during the day.

Ephesien Catule, 26, a college student studying accounting, said the conversation with other men in the tent city doesn't stray far from their concerns. There are concerns about "my future, the future of my country, the future of the children," he said, pointing to a short boy who joined the crowd of men. "That's all I think and talk about."

Many in the group nodded, including Jocelin Joseph, 25, a computer programmer who lost his house in the quake. "Every day we sit and talk about what happened, nothing else," Joseph said. "What else is there?"
--Theola Labbé-DeBose in Port-au-Prince


2:26 p.m. Inova volunteers on the road
As the pickup truck turned off the paved road just before Cap-Haitien and sped, bumping and jolting, through the mountains, Vienna anesthesiologist Ronald Holt was lying on a mound of luggage in the back.

He and a few others who didn't fit inside the truck linked arms to try to keep from flying off like a sack of sugar over rough dirt roads, some washed out, with cattle wading through.

The crew of medical volunteers from Inova Fairfax with Community Coalition for Haiti were trying to get to Jacmel where, they had heard, people were desperate for medical care.

Holt told how he came down these dirt roads 25 years ago. Like many people, he had come to Haiti because someone told him how desperate the need was. He brought an anesthesiology machine donated by Inova, oxygen tanks and other supplies to the first hospital in the central plateau. It was a one-story building then, with no running water.

A quarter-century ago, he and the doctor who founded the hospital in Pignon -- Guy Theodore -- helped a 12-year-old boy with an obstructed bowel who would have died without surgery. It was the first operation there done with general anesthesia, and the boy was well enough a few days later to go home.

On Monday, as the truck bounced its way through small villages with woven-thatch houses, laundry spread out to dry on cactus fences and naked children sucking on sugar cane stalks as they waved to the truck, Holt said that first trip got him hooked on Haiti. "There's just so much need," he said. "Now more than ever."

The truck jolted to a halt in Pignon on Tuesday for the trip's final leg by air.

When they heard the rumble of the six-seater plane, a Haitian boy chased goats off the airstrip.

But the plane was small, and the drugs and supplies heavy. So they emptied all the survival gear out of their bags, hoping there would be food and water where they were going.

They divided up all the bags and boxes, trying to make everything fit, stickers on each bag.

Some watched anxiously as the pilots walked with clipboards, moving bags back and forth. Too much weight. "Empty your water bottles," said Karen Carr, director of Community Coalition for Haiti, and they ruefully poured out their small bottles onto the grass.

More shifting; the Haitian men stood to leave. "Amazing," said Mark Williams, the pilot for Mission Aviation Fellowship, who has been flying relief teams all week. "We're exactly at weight. That's good.

"Now, everybody do jumping jacks so we can have an extra pound."

The plane shuddered across the grass, then lifted up, to just over 5,000 feet -- low enough to feel like the belly might scrape the velvety folds of mountains, low enough to see skinny chickens pecking near shacks. They flew over the capital, seeing the crushed presidential palace gleaming white, over the dusty epicenter and then over more mountains to the bright turquoise ocean.

"Great flight, Mark," said physician-volunteer Jim French.

"Now the real work begins," Williams said. "God bless you."
--Susan Kinzie in Pignon


2:15 p.m. At Pignon orphanage, quake victims with nowhere else to go
Ten people arrived Monday night from Port-au-Prince to Anne Jeanpierre's orphanage in Pignon. They could not stay in the city, they said, they had nothing, and nowhere to go. She gave them food and water and a place to sleep. She had just gotten back herself.

When the earthquake hit, she was in the city with one of the older girls from her orphanage, paying the girl's rent and tuition at nursing school.

Then, "Boom!" she said, widening her eyes, flashing her hands open and finishing with a squeal. She and the girl broke a third-story window to get out.

"Nowhere to go down, stairs all collapsed, we jump out," she said in a quiet field in Pignon, the sun rising behind her making the tall grass glow pink. A small boy rubbed his head against her belly and she put her hand on his back.

They spent two nights in the street in Port-au-Prince, hurt and scared, then found a tap-tap, the local bus, to safety in Pignon. The first of many, she thinks. "They are all coming."
--Susan Kinzie in Pignon


9:13 a.m. Army captain leads effort to bring order to Port-au-Prince command
U.S. Army Capt. Robert Day is mayor of this enclave-under-construction in the earthquake-ravaged Haitian capital, a small, self-contained town being erected atop a charter bus company's parking lot and grassy back yard.

The size of about two football fields, Day's fiefdom is the soon-to-be-headquarters of the U.S. military's command and control operation for Haiti relief efforts. Located next door to the untouched-by-the-earthquake U.S. Embassy, the enclave will allow up to 200 military personnel to run the operational, logistical and computer brains of the U.S. humanitarian efforts here.

Day, of the 82nd Airborne, and his teams brought in everything from computers, wires and satellites to toilet paper and medical supplies.

When Day and his assistant -- Staff Sgt. Urlic J. Sanders -- got here Sunday, the lot contained only a broken-down bus, piles of sticks, scattered rocks and stray dogs. The wall surrounding it was crumbling in places. Now, the grassy field and parking lot boast a mini-city of tents filled with computers and phones; latrines lined up neatly against a wall; another tent for news conferences by military officials, and a "snack bar area" stocked with cases of bottled water and stacks of ready-to-eat meals.

Once the camp is set up, Day and Sanders must keep it running and outfitted with the necessary supplies and repair parts. They track "consumption rates" for food, water and other items. For now, they're burning about 70 gallons of fuel a day and allowing soldiers three meals a day and five liters of water until more supplies come in. Data still to be collected include the "output levels" at the 14 latrines.

Day and Sanders -- also known to his fellow soldiers as Col. Sanders, after the Kentucky Fried Chicken legend -- are operating on little to no sleep, like many here who are involved in overseeing how to get help to Haitians. Sanders, who had been awake 25 straight hours, said: "We're running on plenty of nicotine and water."
-- Dana Hedgpeth in Port-au-Prince

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Posted at 7:25 AM ET, 01/15/2010

Haiti earthquake: Friday's latest news

Quick links: Twitter feeds from relief groups on the ground; updating list of ways to help relief efforts; tweet us or e-mail tips to Liz Heron and Garance Franke-Ruta; submit photos from Haiti. For coverage from Thursday and Wednesday, click on the links, or click here for full coverage of the crisis.

7:43 p.m. Post reporter tells of dire situation in Port-au-Prince

The Washington Post's Manuel Roig-Franzia reports from Haiti's earthquake-ravaged capital and describes an increasingly desperate scene as little in the way of food, water and medical assistance is reaching hard-hit areas of Port-au-Prince. (Photos by Nikki Kahn and Carol Guzy / The Washington Post; Credit: Manuel Roig-Franzia / Edited by Jason Aldag)

7:09 p.m. Clinton and Bush to appear on "Meet the Press Sunday"
Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have been booked as guests on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday to discuss relief efforts and the crisis in Haiti. Also scheduled to appear are USAID administrator Rajiv Shah, who is expected to arrive in Haiti on Saturday, and Lt. Gen Ken Keen, Military Deputy Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, who is already on the ground there.

7:05 p.m.: Federal departments can solicit employees for relief donations
Federal agencies can ask their employees for a one-time cash or check donation to Haiti earthquake relief efforts, under guidelines announced on Friday.

The Office of Personnel Management said that government workers could make the donation separate from the annual Combined Federal Campaign.

OPM Director John Berry noted that the U.S. Agency for International Development has urged Americans to make cash donations instead of donating supplies.
-- Ed O'Keefe

6:30 p.m. Free calls to Haiti from Google Voice
Google on Friday announced it making free calls to Haiti available through its Google Voice technology for the next two weeks.

"It's impossible to watch the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake without wondering how one can contribute in helping the thousands of families who lost everything in this disaster," the Google Voice team wrote on its blog. "Google set up a disaster relief page, which includes information and resources for anyone interested in helping out, and the Google Voice team also wanted to respond in our own way."

Click here to find out how to use the technology.

5:42 p.m. State Department releases person-finder tool
The State Department on Friday made a move toward becoming a centralized hub for information-sharing about missing persons in Haiti, launching a new tool on its Web site called the "Person Finder". The tool can also be embedded on websites and blogs through share code, creating the potential for its widespread adoption online. The code is being made available by the Google Crisis Response team.

src="http://haiticrisis.appspot.com/?small=yes"
width=350 height=300 frameborder=0
style="border: dashed 2px #77c">


5:22 p.m. Government extends temporary asylum to illegal Haitian immigrants -- updated 5:33 p.m.
The Obama administration announced Friday that it will allow an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Haitians living in the United States illegally to stay and work in the country for 18 months as part of its response to Tuesday's earthquake, but warned Haitians that leaving the country now "will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation."

Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said the decision to grant Temporary Protected Status to illegal immigrants from Haiti who were living in the United States as of January 12 was a gesture of compassion and an attempt to ensure that the flow of remittances and economic support to their devastated homeland continue.

"This is a disaster of historic proportions," Napolitano said in a 5 p.m. conference call, "Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be ended by returning to Haiti as part of this administration continue effort to support Haiti's recovery."

However, Napolitano coupled that message with a caution to Haitians now seeking refuge outside their country. While she declined to specify the consequences for those caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally, she said, "At this moment of tragedy in Haiti, it is tempting for people suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake to seek refuge elsewhere, but attempting to leave Haiti now will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation."
-- Spencer S. Hsu

5:20 p.m. General: World has an 'opportunity' in Haiti

Description: A top U.S. General says the world needs to step up as one in the response to the disaster in Haiti. He says troops are still focusing on search and rescue. (The Associated Press)

5:16 p.m. Seeking the missing online
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the "Missing" posters that blanketed lower Manhattan as loved ones sought information on the vanished were one of the most poignant and wrenching manifestations of the loss and fear families were experiencing. Now the New York Times is collecting similar photos and information about people who are missing in Haiti, in a kind of virtual, interactive version of the Xeroxed missing posters of 2001.

5:03 p.m. Mail deliveries to Haiti suspended
The U.S. Postal Service has temporarily suspended mail deliveries to Haiti amid the suspension of normal flights to the country, officials announced Friday.

Mail addressed to Haiti will still be accepted and held until transportation arrangements become available, the Postal Service said.
--Ed O'Keefe

4:56 p.m. Hillary Clinton, USAID chief Shah to travel to Haiti
CNN is reporting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Haiti Saturday with USAID director Rajiv Shah.

4:50 p.m. Another view of the earthquake as it happened emerges

In this silent video released by the U.S. State Department, a security camera on the northwest wall of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince captured Tuesday's earthquake. This is the second video to emerge of the quake happening; both come from State Department security cameras. (State Department)

4:10 p.m. Haitian ambassador to U.S. looks for "silver lining"

Raymond Joseph, the Haitian Ambassador to the United States, said on Friday that he has worried for many years that his country was particularly vulnerable to a major natural disaster and that there could be a "silver lining" to the earthquake's massive devastation if Haiti developed new laws to prevent people from living in buildings and areas that put them in harm's way.

Saying that he wrote a column in 1994 called, "Port-au-Prince is a catastrophe waiting to happen," Joseph said there are certain places in Haiti where people should never have been allowed to build their homes. "I am really sad that this prophecy just happened like this. I thought it was going to be a hurricane that would hit us, but this is far worse."

"But we are not going to repeat the same mistakes and allow people to build anywhere helter skelter -- no! "Joseph continued in the interview. "This has given us a chance to put some order in Port-au-Prince.... No one should use any authority to put a block together or to make any house in Port-au-Prince unless the government authorizes it, that is what going to happen. The silver lining in what is happening here is that it is going to give the government the chance to centralize Port-au-Prince."

Despite the devastation, Joseph said that the Haitian people are very strong: "We have been hit hard in the past by other disasters and we have always come back. Don't forget that the Haitian people are the ones who were slaves and they rose up from slavery, defeated their masters and helped everyone else. I believe that the Haitian people will come back very strong because we have one motto: In unity there is strength and I am so glad that all of the groups have put aside their political rivalry and have come together."
--Hamil R. Harris

3:47 p.m. The Smoking Gun raises questions about Wyclef Jean's Yele group
Web sleuths at the The Smoking Gun are raising questions about the finances of musician Wyclef Jean's charitable organization, the Yéle Haiti Foundation, which has been the recipient of a viral text-messaging donation campaign this week.

On Thursday, The Smoking Gun concluded that Internal Revenue Service records show the Wyclef Jean Foundation, Inc. -- which does business as Yéle Haiti Foundation -- "has a lackluster history of accounting for its finances" and that it is not clear where money donated to the foundation has gone in recent years.

Tax returns show the group paid $31,200 in rent to Platinum Sound, a Manhattan recording studio, in 2006 and again in 2007, The Smoking Gun reported. Tax returns also showed expenses nearing $225,000 in 2006 for "promotion and PR costs," according to the site.

A copy of the group's 2006 tax return posted by The Smoking Gun show the Foundation paid Platinum Sound, Inc., $100,000 for "the musical performance services of Wyclef Jean at a benefit concert." Jean and Jerry Duplessis -- identified by The Smoking Gun as a Foundation board member -- own the recording studio, according to the group's 2006 tax return.

The 2006 tax return also says "the Foundation pre-purchased $250,000 of TV airtime and production services from Telemax, S.A.," a for-profit company in Haiti. Jean and Duplessis own a controlling interest in Telemax, according to the tax return. The fees paid to Telemax, according to the return, were "paid below market and the services are part of the outreach efforts conducted by the Foundation in Haiti. Use of Telemax is the most efficient way of providing these services."

Jean has encouraged people to donate money by texting "YELE" to 501501 to help victims of the recent Haitian earthquake, which devastated the nation's capital this week. His message has been widely distributed online and by tweet.
--McLean Bennett

2:54 p.m. Streets full of bodies in Haiti

WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO. The Red Cross estimates 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed in Tuesday's cataclysmic earthquake and on Friday the streets were full of bodies. (Jan. 15, The Associated Press)

2:43 p.m. D.C. area benefits for Haiti planned
Area stores, restaurants, clubs and other organizations are hosting benefits for Haiti. Here's a sampling:

Metromix and the Shadow Room will host an earthquake relief party on Friday, Jan. 15 at 9 p.m. All proceeds will go to the American Red Cross' efforts in Haiti.

Busboys & Poets, 2120 14th St. N.W., will hold a Haiti Relief open mic night on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.

The Embassy of Haiti, at 2311 Massachusetts Avenue NW, will hold a survival kit drive on Sunday, Jan. 17, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Officials are asking for items such as baby wipes, formula and diapers, hand sanitizer, blankets, batteries and flashlights.

D.C. area rappers Wale, Tabi Bonney, D.C. Don Juan and others will perform at the 9:30 Club, 815 V. Street NW on Monday, Jan. 18, to raise money for Haiti relief efforts. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW, will also hold a benefit for the victims of the earthquake on Feb. 6 at 9 p.m.

Whole Foods at 1440 P Street in NW is taking donations at the register for Americares.

Giant Food of Landover, beginning Saturday, Jan. 16 and continuing through Jan. 31, will collect donations in all stores and corporate offices on behalf of the American Red Cross International Response Fund.

If there are other events, fundraisers or benefits for victims of the earthquake, please e-mail PostNow@washpost.com.
--Monica Norton

2:22 p.m. Mayor Fenty pledges help to Haitian quake victims
The D.C. government is poised to send 100 firefighters and a K-9 search unit as well as several tons of supplies to Haiti, Mayor Adrian Fenty announced this morning at a press conference with the Hatian Ambassador.

Fenty, our colleague Hamil Harris reports, said mental health counselors also are standing by to help people local residents who may be having difficulty coping with the images they're seeing on television. Read the rest of his report here.

2:11 p.m. Shah: Meeting basic needs is job one
Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told reporters at the State Department that "our first and foremost goal is to meet basic needs: food, water, shelter, blankets, tarps." He said however that within the next few days, aid organizations will stretched to their limits, and so the department is now trying to think "out of the box" to expand their reach to all those affected by the disaster.

Shah said an aircraft carrier will provide 600,000 humanitarian daily rations, and another $48 million in food assistance will be available for the estimated 2 million affected individuals, enough to last several months. The department is also working with the World Food Program to expand local milling capabilities so that Haiti "has the food it needs now and in the near future."

He said AID is now readying an estimated 100,000 ten-liter containers for potable water, and that one-fifth of these will arrive today by airlift. "We have four major water purification systems identified" for deployment by ship in Haiti soon, and six more that may be brought to Haiti later from elsewhere in the world, he said.

"People have already been receiving, you know, a series of relief items from the United States. This is going to expand that capacity dramatically. And today people will start receiving many of these items as we get these things into Haiti," Shah said.

Asked about the effectiveness of the search and rescue efforts so far, Shah said, " I don't want to create high expectations that these teams can go out there and be wildly successful very rapidly. These people are taking tremendous risks, this is very difficult work -- they work around the clock. But the situation there and it is really tragic and it's very, very difficult."

Asked about reports of growing lawlessness, State Department counselor and chief of staff Cheryl Mills said that the administration supports the U.N. security effort, now under the command of a Brazilian, and that "all of our folks, military and civilian, are there for humanitarian and disaster assistance relief operations," rather than to enforce order. But she added that "ruling in or ruling out anything beyond the disaster assistance or relief would be premature, because I think we have no assessment of the overarching frame."
--R. Jeffrey Smith

1:54 p.m. Ochocinco, Johnson to race for Haiti
Our colleagues on the The League, a blog about the NFL, report that Chad Ochocinco and Chris Johnson have come up with a novel way to "rally" support for the earthquake-ravaged nation of Haiti. The outspoken Bengals wideout has challenged Johnson -- the 2009 offensive player of the year -- to a footrace, the terms of which will be discussed this evening in Antigua. But, according to a Tweet Ochocinco sent to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, the "loser is giving there [sic] pro bowl check to those in need in Haiti." As you might imagine, both players seem fairly confident in their speed. Read the rest here.

1:35 p.m. Obama will bring Clinton, Bush to White House to discuss crisis
President Obama said Friday that he will host former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the White House for a discussion about how the two ex-leaders can help coordinate worldwide relief efforts for Haiti.

Obama announced the Saturday meeting in remarks to the press. He also related his earlier conversation with Haiti President René Préval. Obama said Préval was emotional in his thanks for American help.

"He said that he has been extremely touched by the friendship and generosity of the American people," Obama related. "He said, 'From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the people of Haiti, thank you, thank you, thank you.' "

Obama's decision to tap Bush and Clinton for relief efforts mirrors a similar decision by Bush to call on his father and Clinton for relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Indonesia.

"Food is scarce. So is water," Obama said, bluntly. But he added that rescue teams are at work digging people out of the rubble in Port-au-Prince. And he said that aid is pouring into the airport, ready to be distributed. Read the president's full remarks on the 44: Politics and Policy blog.

1:30 p.m. A brief history of Haiti's tragic past
The Duvaliers, the Aristide crises, the 2004 floods, riots last year and now the earthquake -- Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating traces 50 years of heartache in this seemingly star-crossed Caribbean nation, accompanied by a photo gallery.

1:00 p.m. USAID says 24 search-and-rescue teams are looking for survivors
Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, reported that 24 urban search-and-rescue teams are now working in Haiti, including four from the United States, each staffed with 70 to 80 personnel.

Shah said the U.S. disaster assistance team in Haiti is presently doubling in size, and tapping into new satellite imagery. Its primary aim, he said, is to put "commodities" into the hands of nonprofits that can deliver needed services.

Cheryl Mills, counselor and chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, emphasized that department officials will be working with the United Nations and the Haitian government to help rebuild the country's agriculture, energy, health, and justice sectors in a way that ensures their "long-term viability and sustainability." .
-- R. Jeffrey Smith

12:46 p.m. Aid for Haiti discussion
Stacy Palmer, founder and editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, chatted online with washingtonpost.com users about the best ways to contribute to the relief effort in Haiti. Here are some of the highlights:

Washington, D.C.: Any idea how much money has been donated by individuals for Haiti so far?

Stacy Palmer: More than $68-million has been donated by Americans so far. By comparison, in the first three days after the tsunamis, just $30-million had been raised.

Stacy Palmer: Just to give you more perspective on how much has been given by text message, in the first 36 hours, text donations exceeded $7-million.

Stacy Palmer: My colleagues Nicole Wallace and Caroline Preston note that in 2008, the Red Cross raised just $200,000 all year for relief by text message. By comparison, since the Haiti earthquake, it has raised $5.6-million. This is indeed a sign that charities are doing a much better job of promoting this type of solicitation -- and what is important is that so many supporters are sending messages to friends, relatives and colleagues. All those links and tweets are adding up to a lot of money.

Washington, D.C.: How long do you think the recovery of Haiti will take?

Stacy Palmer: As my colleague Ian Wilhelm points out, we just passed the five-year anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunamis and a lot of rebuilding and recovery work is still under way. Many of the recovery donations from the US and elsewhere are making a huge difference today for the tsunami victims. We can expect the Haitian effort to take far longer, given how much need the country had before the earthquake.

12:40 p.m. Mullen: Up to 10,000 troops in Haiti by Monday
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday that 9,000 to 10,000 U.S. troops will have arrived in Haiti on Monday, but only a fraction will be operating on the ground.

"The bulk of them will be on ships," he said, mostly in the vicinity of the harbor at Port au Prince, said Adm. Mike Mullen.

About 1,000 U.S. military personnel were operating onshore as of midday Friday, he said.

Mullen said the number of U.S. forces could rise further but that defense officials were still determining how they could help further with relief efforts. A naval hospital ship, the Comfort, is scheduled to arrive in Haiti later next week from Baltimore.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who spoke to reporters with Mullen at the Pentagon, said the military was rushing to deliver food and water supplies "as quickly as possible, so that people don't -- in their desperation -- turn to violence or lead to the security situation deteriorating."

Other than some reports of scavenging and minor looting, Gates said, "the security situation is pretty good" at the moment.
--Craig Whitlock

12:19 p.m. Internet, mobile networks struggling to restore service; major undersea cable damaged in quake
Haiti's only underwater cable system connecting the island of Hispaniola to other nations was disrupted by the earthquake, according to the research firm Telegeography. Bahamas Telecommunications Company told the research firm Thursday that they were assessing the extent of the damange and couldn't say how long it would take to restore service.

But serving communications systems has been difficult. Phone networks have been operating with limited success but overwhelmed by the number of calls getting place in and out of the country, Telegeography said.

One firm, Jamaica-based Digicel, has tried to send technicians to solve the problem by adding capacity to their network, so more calls can be placed. But technicians have been unable to get on Haiti, and their plane was turned back because of the traffic jam at Port-au-Prince airport, according to the research firm.

The underwater cable system is jointly owned by Haitian communications systems operator Telco, and the fiber-optic link connects Port-au-Prince to Matthew Town, Great Inagua Island, in the Bahamas.

Much of the communications infrastructure in Haiti, however, is done through satellite connections. "The easiest and faster way now will be through satellite telecommunications. Later, fiber optic will be okay. But for temporary urgent communication: satellite, microwave, cellular phones," said Manuel Cereijo, a professor of computer science at the University of Miami.

The companies who own those networks are trying to add capacity so that more calls can get through.

"Physical repairs to networks will be very difficult amongst the devastation in the Haitian capital," Telegeography said.

The aid organization Telecom Without Borders is trying to set up a site in Port-au-Prince where people can make free, two-minute international or domestic phone calls via satellite. It will also offer broadband services to relief workers from the United Nations and non-governmental organisations.
-- Cecilla Kang

The underwater cable system is jointly lowned by Haitian communications systems operator Telco and the fiber-optic link connects Port-au-Prince to Matthew Town, Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas. Much of the communications infrastructure in Haiti, however, is done through satellite connections. The telephone networks, run by Digicel Haiti, Comcel, Telco and Haitel are operating but suffering from congestion on their networks. The companies are trying to get more capacity on their networks so that more calls can get through, but .

"Physical repairs to networks will be very difficult amongst the devastation in the Haitian capital," the research organization said.
Aid organization Telecom Without Borders is trying to set up a site in Port-au-Prince where people can make free, two-minute international or domestic phone calls via satellite. It will also offer broadband services to relief workers from the United Nations and non-governmental organisations.

12:13 p.m. Lugar calls for giving illegal Haitian immigrants temporary legal status
N.C. Aizenman reports that Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is pushing for temporary legal status and work permits for as many as 125,000 Haitians living in the United States illegally:

The decision to grant such status rests with the Obama administration. The secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of state, is authorized to offer "temporary protected status" to illegal immigrants of a particular nationality if a national disaster in their home country makes it dangerous for them to be sent back.
Lugar, a prominent Republican whose foreign policy credentials are widely respected in Congress, said in a statement, "It is in the foreign policy interest of the United States and a humanitarian imperative of the highest order to have all people of Haitian descent in a position to contribute towards the recovery of this island nation."

Read more on the 44 blog.

12:01 p.m. Ban Ki-Moon: We need rescue equipment, tents, medical personnel
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon just updated reporters on the operation in Haiti situation. Here's an unofficial transcript:

Good morning.

I'd like to make three brief points.

Preliminary estimates from our UN emergency teams show widespread damage to infrastructure in Port au-Prince and other affected areas, with as many as 50 percent of buildings in the worst-hit areas damaged or destroyed.

A high proportion of the 3 million people in the capital area are without access to food, water, shelter and electricity.

We are still in the search and rescue phase, and we are trying to save as many lives as possible.

A major humanitarian effort is now well underway. Although it is inevitably slower and more difficult than any of us would wish, we are mobilizing all resources as fast as we possibly can.

A UN operations center has been established at the Port au-Prince airport, staffed by members of the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team, and is now coordinating the search and rescue efforts of 27 teams that have arrived from countries around the world.

Aid flights arrived through the night and will continue through the day.

Search and rescue remains a monumental effort. Heavy lifting equipment is still urgently needed.

Distribution of food and medical supplies has begun in Port au-Prince, supplemented increasingly by the aid beginning to arrive from the outside.

Logistics are extremely difficult. The airport is open, as you know, but capacity is limited. A lack of transport and fuel is also hampering efforts. Many roads remain blocked.

That said, the international community's response has been generous and robust, and we are gearing up rapidly and effectively despite the challenging circumstances.

This afternoon the UN will launch an emergency flash appeal for around $550 million. Most of this money will go to urgent needs: food and water are in critically short supply.

Given the number of people in the streets, without homes, we must provide shelter ---- we need tents, and more tents.

We urgently need medical supplies and, even more, emergency medical personnel.

The World Food Program began operations yesterday and right now is feeding around 8,000 people several times a day. Obviously, that is only a drop in the bucket in the face of the massive need, but the agency will be scaling up to feed approximately 1 million people within 15 days and 2 million people within a month.

Right now, we are establishing 15 food distribution centers in Port au-Prince. Provisions will be basic: high-energy biscuits and ready-to-eat meals that require no preparation.

Second, casualty figures.

We cannot do more than guess at the total dead and injured. You have seen the various estimates. There is no point in my speculating further.

I expect a fuller report from the mission shortly, and we will update you at that time. My Spokesperson will get back to you later.

I will meet with our Haitian staff today and plan to meet all Headquarters staff very soon, next week.

Third, my Acting Special Representative, Edmond Mulet, met with President [René] Préval and the Prime Minister of Haiti upon his arrival yesterday and has assumed full control over the mission.

I am also dispatching Assistant Secretary General Tony Banbury, in our office of field operations...

Lastly, let me say once again to the people of [Haiti]:

[in French and English] We are with you. I ask your patience and salute your fortitude and courage in these terrible circumstances.

11:48 a.m. Christian rock group Jars of Clay takes on Pat Robertson


The Grammy-winning Christian rock group talks with Sally Quinn on the problem of extremists speaking for Christianity. The impulse to find blame in a crisis, lead singer Dan Haseltine says is "just a means to find an excuse to not get involved." Watch the video.

11:42 a.m. Redskins reach out to Haiti
Washington, D.C.'s football team is using the private plane of owner Daniel Snyder to help fly medical supplies, personnel and clothing to the impoverished nation, Jason Reid reports on the Redskins Insider.

"We're not a relief organization, but there are times when our resources allow us to step in and make a difference, if only a small one," Snyder said in a statement released by the team.


11:29 a.m. Raw video: U.S. troops arrive in Haiti


10:55 a.m. Video: Michelle Obama calls on Americans to help, saying, "We can all do something"

10:24 a.m. Video: Rescue operations continued through night

10:14 a.m. Satellite view of Port-au-Prince after the earthquake


GeoEye has a satellite image, taken Wednesday at 10:27 a.m., that you can zoom into for a sense of the extent of the damage. Tent cities can be seen in a football field and elsewhere. Even if their homes weren't destroyed by the quake, many people are afraid to go back inside standing structures because of lingering aftershocks.

10:06 a.m. Many countries report missing, dead citizens
The Associated Press has compiled a list by nation of confirmed dead and missing citizens.

10:00 a.m. Security Council chief on his way to Haiti
National Security Council Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is headed to Haiti to help coordinate the communications efforts, our colleague Michael Shear has learned. McDonough will be working out of a joint information center at the airport.

9:56 a.m. Clinton mourns diplomat killed in earthquake
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has released a statement about Victoria DeLong, one of the U.S. diplomats who was killed in the earthquake:

This morning I spoke with the family of Victoria DeLong, the Cultural Affairs Officer at our Embassy in Port-Au-Prince who lost her life in the earthquake. I expressed my sincerest condolences on behalf of the men and women of the State Department and the American people. So many have lost their lives in this tragedy. The United Nations has suffered grievous losses. And the Haitian people have endured unimaginable heartbreak. For the State Department, we have lost one of our own.

Victoria was a veteran Foreign Service Officer who worked tirelessly to build bridges of understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of Haiti. She served her country with distinction and honor, and she will be sorely missed.

Victoria's friends and colleagues at the Embassy are working day and night to support vital relief and recovery efforts, and our thoughts, our prayers, and our deepest thanks are with them as well. Along with the military personnel, the search and rescue teams, and all the aid and relief workers now deploying, they represent the unwavering commitment of the United States to stand with Haiti in its hour of need and in the hard days and years to come. My heart is with the DeLong family today, and with all those in Haiti and around the world who have lost loved ones and friends in this disaster.

9:28 a.m. $8 million raised for Haiti relief via text message
As of Friday morning, Americans have donated more than $8 million to Haiti relief in $10 increments sent via text message, a White House spokesman said this morning.

The text donation system was set up by the Red Cross and the State Department to allow a new way for Americans to funnel money to the rescue effort.

The system allows people to donate $10 at a time by texting HAITI to 90999. The donation is then charged to users' mobile phone accounts.
--Michael D. Shear

9:20 a.m. U.N. Secretary General may travel to Haiti
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is making plans to travel to Port-au-Prince within days to survey the wreckage from Tuesday's massive earthquake, according to two UN sources. One of those sources cautioned that the final decision for Ban to go to Haiti has not been made, but said it is very likely to happen. U.N. headquarters in Port-au-Prince was devastated by the earthquake. At least 36 U.N. employees have been confirmed dead, scores are injured and nearly 200--including the mission chief--remain unaccounted for.
--Colum F. Lynch

9:01 a.m. Clinton official: Failed good intentions foreshadowed Haiti's disaster
As Bill Clinton takes on a bigger role providing long-term disaster relief after this week's earthquake, it will be interesting to see whether his '90s Haiti policies become a factor.

In case you missed it, former Clinton official David Rothkopf had a piece in Foreign Policy on Wednesday, mourning the U.S.'s missed opportunities to help Haiti politically and economically. He writes that "with every failure to act or to follow through on a good intention, we assured yesterday's outcomes."

Rothkopf, Clinton's Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, lead the inter-agency effort tasked with assisting Haiti's economic recovery after Operation Uphold Democracy, the U.S. military and peacekeeping response to an aborted 1994 coup.

In all its benighted history, perhaps Haiti's greatest moment of hope since its independence came just a decade and a half ago. Back then, America finally took interest in its near neighbor as a consequence of a political crisis that, thanks in part to our intervention, resulted in the departure of a dictator whose family had oppressed and raped the island and his replacement by a quiet priest who was embraced by many in the United States as our hemisphere's Mandela. As it turned out, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was hardly the saint that Hollywood stars and misty-eyed journalists had seen him to be.
But we in the Clinton administration did not know that back then -- or at least many did not.... We committed thousands of troops and billions of dollars to the country to help give it a new chance....
International interest waned ... although to the credit of the United Nations, they remained engaged in a way that put many of their dedicated workers at great risk yesterday. But over time, due to our naiveté and the fecklessness of Haitian political leaders the energy behind recovery efforts nonetheless ebbed and with terror and economic crises claiming center stage, the United States lost the political will to assist the struggling country. Good intentions and a pregnant moment were overtaken by events ... and in a way, that's when yesterday's tragedy began. With every dollar withheld, with every program withdrawn, with every aid worker shifted to a different front in a more politically pressing development initiative, somebody's death was foretold.

8:30 a.m. Clinton calls for long-term relief to Haiti
Former president Bill Clinton, who serves as the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, blitzed the network morning shows today from his home in Chappaqua, N.Y., saying he and former president George W. Bush are committed to helping earthquake-ravaged Haiti "build back better." Watch video from ABC's Good Morning America.

He also spoke with The Post's Philip Rucker late last night. "You've seen the pictures....The streets are full of the wounded, the orphaned and the dead. It's a devastating, devastating thing."

8:13 a.m. Survivors break into U.N. food warehouses
As hunger mounts in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince, the United Nations says that people are breaking into their food warehouses and taking what they can, adding another challenge to the efforts to feed at least 2 million survivors of the earthquake, reports the Associated Press.


The U.N. World Food Program stressed that looting was normal in emergency situations, but spokeswoman Emilia Casella said the agency didn't know how much remained of its pre-quake stockpile of 15,000 tons of food aid in Port-au-Prince.

She noted that regular food stores in the capital also "have been cleaned out" by desperate Haitians since Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed thousands and left countless more buried under the rubble.

7:56 a.m. Twitter points to trapped survivors
Twitter users are using the hashtag #rescuemehaiti to attempt to direct search and rescue teams to victims of the earthquake who are still buried under rubble or otherwise in dire need of help and medical care, reports Global Voices. Here are a few representative tweets:

@seedplanter11: tweeting hash #rescuemehaiti 4 named victims @ known locations in Haiti needing rescue also. #victimmissinghaiti missing person
@IstanbulTWSTVL: URGENT Christopher Frecynet is still alive under his house. 64 Rue Nord Alexis.(RUELLE NAZON, AVENUE POUPELARD #rescuemehaiti #haiti
@M300Ministries: #rescuemehaiti @veryono 63 people still alive Carribean Market. survivor sent txt so we can send help. PLEASE LET PPL KNOW

7:29 a.m. Aristide wants to return to Haiti to help with crisis
The Associated Press is reporting that former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, living in exile in Africa since he was ousted in a rebellion five years ago, gave a rare public press conference in which he expressed a desire to go back to Haiti and is prepared to leave immediately.

Aristide told reporters at a hotel next to Johannesburg's airport that he and his family are ready to return to Haiti to help with the catastrophe. He said friends, whom he did not name, are willing to provide a plane to fly him to Haiti with medical supplies and other emergency equipment.
"As far as we are concerned, we are ready to leave today, tomorrow, at any time to join the people of Haiti, share in their suffering, help rebuild the country, moving from misery to poverty with dignity," said Aristide, his wife Mildred next to him, eyes downcast, twisting a handkerchief.
Aristide, a former slum preacher, was beloved by many of Haiti's majority poor but opposition to his rule grew during his second presidential term after he was accused of masterminding assaults on opponents, allowing drug-fueled corruption and breaking promises to help the poor. Still, during riots in Haiti in 2008 over soaring food prices there was a deafening clamor for Aristide's return, showing that he remains hugely popular.
If Aristide does return, political instability in an impoverished nation struggling to dig itself out from the massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake could result. Aristide has previously hinted at returning, saying he merely wants to be a teacher. But his enduring popularity and ability to galvanize Haitians would likely propel him into the political spotlight.

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Posted at 7:35 AM ET, 01/14/2010

Haiti earthquake: Live updates Thursday

You can find our most recent blog coverage here.

Quick links: Twitter feeds about Haiti's earthquake; updating list of ways to help relief efforts; tweet us or e-mail tips to Liz Heron and Garance Franke-Ruta; submit photos from Haiti.

11:25 p.m. Note: There will be no additional updates to this blog post. We'll resume in the morning in a new Friday post.

11:10 p.m. Post's interactive map of Port-au-Prince
The Post's Nathaniel Kelso has produced an interactive map of Port-au-Prince, with photos and satellite images showing the damage in some notable locations. Click here to take a look.

An earlier post pointed to a zoomable satellite image of Port-au-Prince produced by The Post's Laris A. Karklis, using data from GeoEye the morning after the quake. Click here to see which building are still standing, road conditions, the damage to the port and how different neighborhoods fared.

10:55 p.m. Obama thanks President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic
President Obama spoke by phone with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic shortly before 9 p.m., according to the White House. Obama expressed his appreciation for the role the Dominican Republic has played in facilitating the evacuation of U.S. citizens and in the flow of relief teams and supplies into Haiti.

7:50 p.m. FAA lifts ban on civilian flights to Haiti
The FAA told civilian aircraft Thursday night that they can resume flights to Haiti, but the agency strongly warned against the trip, advising that lengthy circling above the Port-au-Prince airport awaits any pilot who tries to go.

"Airborne holding over the past several hours has been in excess of 3 hours, and this amount of holding will possibly continue during the next several days," the agency said in an advisory, adding in a further warning, "Excessive holding and diversions [from Port-au-Prince] are a strong possibility."

The FAA had issued the "ground stop" to civilian aircraft around midday Thursday.

7:45 p.m.: Report: Telethon scheduled for Jan. 22, Clooney set to host
A telethon to help provide relief for those affected by the Haitian earthquake is scheduled for Jan. 22, Entertainment Weekly reported Thursday night.

The two-hour telethon, hosted by George Clooney, will air on ABC, NBC, HBO, CNN and all of MTV's networks worldwide, the magazine reported, citing a unnamed spokesman for the actor.

Clooney told the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that he has been reaching out to famous friends and performers to take part in the benefit.

The spokesman said Thursday night that logistics are still being ironed out, including what organizations and charities will receive the donations.

7:33 p.m. Obama to write Newsweek cover story on crisis
President Obama will write the cover story for Newsweek magazine next week, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Jan. 25th issue of Newsweek, which is owned by The Washington Post Co., will feature the president's thoughts on Haiti and the earthquake.

7:16 p.m. Fairfax County prepares to send 2nd rescue team

Fairfax Firefighter Rodney Vaughn with his wife, Erica and Leah, 2 and Savannah, 4 children, "Banks," a black laborador retriever who will be sniffing through the rubble in search of life. (By Hamil R. Harris.)

Mike Miller's son and daughter were clinging tight to their daddy as he stood amid 42 yellow backpacks Thursday at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue training academy in Vienna.

By daybreak Friday, a second wave of emergency workers from the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Squad expected to be on a charter flight to Port-au-Prince, and soon afterward sifting through tons of rock and concrete in search of life.

But on Thursday, Miller's main task was to explain to Mike Jr., his 4-year-old son; and 6-year-old daughter, McKenna, that he would gone from home for about two weeks.

"It is very hard. When I found out that I was going, I called my wife and had them bring them down here to the school," said Miller, 40, of Leesburg, who usually works as a lieutenant at a Springfield fire station.

Miller, a rescue specialist, is among 42 members in the second deployment of "Virginia Task Force 1." The first group, 72 rescuers of varying specialties, flew to the island nation Wednesday.

Searching for life in the rubble is a familiar duty for members of the fire and rescue department. The team was created in 1986 to respond to domestic and international disasters, and is one of only two rescue groups in the country that the U.S. government sends to disasters around the world.

Jim Strickland, a retired deputy chief of the department, has been in the squad from the beginning. He will serve as the group's deputy leader. "We are ready to go help," he said. "Everybody's motor is revved up and we want to go down there and help the people."
-- Hamil R. Harris

7:06 p.m. U.S. Officials: airlift alone won't be enough
U.S. authorities involved with the relief operation said an airlift alone will not be enough to supply 3 million people affected by the Haiti earthquake with food and other vital relief supplies, and said they are pushing to mobilize military or private assets to set up a temporary port near Port-au-Prince.

"The population of Haiti cannot be sustained without some way of getting large quantities of cargo in quickly, and with the port facilities in Port-au-Prince, that's going to be very difficult," said Capt. Peter Brown, chief of response operations for the U.S. Coast Guard 7th District based in Miami. "Airlift is certainly part of the equation, but we understand that with the limited capacity of the airfield in Port-au-Prince that's not the U.S. government's primary option there."

U.S. officials noted that the city sits in a bowl surrounded by mountains whose roads are very limited. To bring in food, oil and goods, Port-au-Prince relies on its seaport, which offloads more than 1 million tons of cargo a year, much of it aboard large ocean-going container ships that dock at a rate of two or three per week.

However, the port's main commercial pier, wharf and crane that offloads shipping containers have collapsed and are in the water, Coast Guard officials said. Alternatives include using much smaller ports such as Saint-Marc or Cap Haitien to the north, but they have limited facilities. One option is to bring in private crane-ships that can offload containers, or other military logistics vessels.

"The only option will be breaking cargo down into much smaller containers and bring them ashore by small boat. That's going to limit the ability to deliver sufficient quantities," especially of food, Brown said. "We are working with the Department of Defense and the State Department, especially DoD, to alert them to this situation and so they can look at what DOD capacities might be used to erect temporary facilities to allow the movement of supplies.".
-- Spencer S. Hsu

6:59 p.m. At Mass, Catholic U student urges support for victims
A Catholic University student who hasn't been able to contact some of his relatives in Haiti spoke at a mass at Catholic University on Thursday and urged support for the victims of the earthquake, according to a news release from the school.

"In Haiti, family is everything," said Remy Gouraige, a sophomore economics major from Miami. "This is a situation that the Haitian peoples cannot recover from on their own: we need the help of our world family to provide relief, support and hope for any kind of a future for the country."

The Mass marked the beginning of the novena -- nine days of prayer -- which will continue until Friday, Jan. 22.

"For my family, for me ... this disaster is hitting very close to home," said Gouraige, whose parents emigrated from Haiti. "I have aunts, cousins, and several other relatives who we haven't heard from, and they are only a few of the hundreds of thousands of people who are being affected."

6:50 p.m. Audio: Washington Post reporter on travel into Haiti

Traveling by bus from the Dominican Republic to Haiti with members of the Atlanta-based humanitarian group CARE, The Washington Post's Theola Labbé-DeBose reports on the challenge aid workers face getting into the earthquake-ravaged country. (Theola Labbé-DeBose and Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)

6:45 p.m. Obama: No excuses; "This is a time when the world looks to us"
"I just want everybody in the House of Representatives to understand this is a moment for American leadership," President Obama told the House Democratic Caucus Retreat on Thursday evening, according to a transcript provided by the White House.

"This is a time when the world looks to us and they say, given our capacity, given our unique capacity to project power around the world, that we have to project that not just for our own interests but for the interests of the world as a whole. And my national security team understands that I will not put up with any excuses for us not doing the very best in this time of tragedy."

6:05 p.m. A zoomable satellite image of Port-au-Prince
The Post's Laris A. Karklis has produced a zoomable satellite image of Port-au-Prince the morning after the quake from GeoEye data. Click here to see which building are still standing, road conditions, the damage to the port and how different neighborhoods fared.

5:32 p.m. Diplomat identified as 1st American quake victim
The Post's Glenn Kessler sends word that State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley has announced a death in the diplomatic family:

"We are saddened to report that Ms. Victoria DeLong, a Cultural Affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince, died in the collapse of her home following the earthquake in Haiti. Her next of kin have been notified. Ms. DeLong served in Haiti since February 2009 and at the State Department since November 1983.

"It's a tragedy for the State Department and for our family in the public diplomacy and public affairs world. Some of you who are old- timers here, she was -- did previously serve in our Bureau of Public Affairs during her career."

The AP describes her as "the first American reported killed by the earthquake."

5:28 p.m. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush issue joint statement
Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush issued a joint statement late Thursday afternoon saying, "We are pleased to accept President Obama's request to lead private sector fundraising efforts."

They continued: "In the days and weeks ahead, we will draw attention to the many ways American citizens and businesses can help meet the urgent needs of the Haitian people.

"Americans have a long history of showing compassion and generosity in the wake of tragedy. We thank the American people for rallying to help our neighbors in the Caribbean in their hour of suffering -- and throughout the journey of rebuilding their nation."

5:16 p.m. Only one runway into Port-au-Prince, leading to congestion, delays
While the United States has sent four specialized urban search and rescue teams to help dig out buried earthquake victims in Haiti, six more teams have been cleared to go but are awaiting permission to fly to Port-au-Prince, an official familiar with the situation said.

The problem is not a shortage of aircraft. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made them available. The problem is congested airport operations. The airfield in Port-au-Prince only has one runway, the official said, and the same strip of tarmac is used as a taxiway by arriving and departing aircraft.

Adding to the problem is the need to prioritize the flow of communications gear, medical supplies and critical personnel, and the need to coordinate flight slots among countries, the official said.

"The decision has been made to support search and rescue and deploy up to those 10 teams. Again, the problem with airlift and everyone trying to get flights in, and congestion, and a lot of countries -- we're having to prioritize and flow these teams in as you can get airspace," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive disaster response operations.

"You're now dealing with a very significant area of damage, and you have very limited ways of getting there. ... It's next to impossible to get through the roads in the mountain areas," the official said.

Two rescue teams from Fairfax County, Va., and Los Angeles County, Calif. -- each including up to 48 tons of heavy equipment, search dogs, fiber optic cameras and listening devices -- already have arrived in Port-au-Prince, and two more, from Miami and Miami-Dade County, Fla., were on their way Thursday afternoon.
--Spencer S. Hsu

4:48 p.m. ABC: Wyclef Jean's tweets raise $1 million for Haiti
Celebrities, most notably Haitian musician Wyclef Jean, are raising record amounts of money online to help relief efforts in Haiti, ABC News reports.

Fund-raising experts say this is the most money ever to be raised so soon after a disaster, according to ABC.

"This is a watershed moment. It's historic," said Albe Angel, founder and CEO of Give On the Go, whose company is helping Jean raise funds for his Yele Haiti Foundation.

4:30 p.m. American in Haiti: 'Blood into gutter like water'

The director of a Haitian orphanage says thankfully her building held up but she says the surrounding area looks like a bomb went off and bodies line the streets. (Jan. 14, The Associated Press)

4:21 p.m. Updated UN casualty figures
Colum Lynch forwards updated casualty figures from David Wimhurst, a United Nations spokesman in Haiti:

*4 police dead, 9 injured and 18 missing out of force of 2,090 police in Haiti.
*19 peacekeepers dead, 26 injured and 10 missing out of total of over 7,000.
*13 international staff (including volunteers) dead, 38 injured (of which 24 are Haitians) out of total of 490 international staff, 235 national staff, and 215 UN volunteers.
*160 UN staff still unaccounted for.
*13 bodies recovered from the wreckage of the Christopher Hotel.
* 8 live rescues from Christopher Hotel and another nearby UN facility.

4:19 p.m. Haitian hospitals in crisis

Desperately needed aid from around the world is slowly making its way into Haiti, where a leadership vacuum is leaving rescuers scrambling on their own to save the trapped and injured and get relief supplies into the capital. (Jan. 14, The Associated Press)

4:04 p.m. Obama reaches out to former campaign organization
President Obama on Thursday reached out to the members of this former presidential campaign organization, Obama for America, telling his supporters "the OFA community can help."

OFA is now run by the Democratic National Committee and has won mixed reviews nearly a year after the candidate it helped elect took office.

"Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times here at home, I encourage those who can to reach out and help. It's in times like these that we must show the kind of compassion and humanity that has defined the best of our national character for generations," the president wrote in an e-mail message. "Click here to find out what you can do: http://my.barackobama.com/Haiti."

3:45 p.m. USAID releases fact sheet on Haiti assistance
The briefing includes background on the crisis, current situation, and information on humanitarian assistance and public donation.

3:37 p.m. Gibbs: Limbaugh, Robertson remarks 'utterly stupid'
Missed this tidbit earlier, from Michael Shear:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs lashed out at radio host Rush Limbaugh and televangelist Pat Robertson, calling their comments about the Haitian earthquake "stupid."

Robertson said on his television broadcast that the earthquake was the result of a "pact with the devil" made by the Haitian people. Limbaugh said on his radio show that Americans should not donate to Haitian relief because "we've already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax."

Asked about Robertson's comments, Gibbs said, "It never ceases to amaze that in times of amazing human suffering, someone says something that could be so utterly stupid. But like clockwork, it happens with some regularity."


3:27 p.m. Who is Rajiv Shah, head of the U.S. response?

Here's more on the brand new USAID chief Rajiv Shah, from our colleague Philip Rucker:

Five days after being sworn into his new job, Rajiv Shah found himself in the White House Situation Room, seated four chairs from President Obama, and overseeing the U.S. government's response to the earthquake that has devastated Haiti.

As Obama's designated "unified disaster coordinator," the 36-year-old doctor has been working furiously to deploy relief workers, brief Cabinet secretaries and serve as a public spokesman for the administration's rescue and recovery efforts -- all while on just a few hours of sleep and an untold number of Diet Cokes.

Shah, the newly minted USAID administrator, has wowed the White House and State Department in his maiden turn in the spotlight, with top officials in both departments praising his steady leadership and command of the evolving operations in Port-au-Prince.

"Dr. Shah has been excellent," said Denis McDonough, National Security Council chief of staff, who has worked closely with Shah since the earthquake struck Tuesday. "Focused. Calm. Facts-based."


3:18 p.m. VOA steps up emergency broadcasts to Haiti

The Voice of America's (VOA) Creole Service says it will be increasing its strength and frequency of emergency broadcasts to Haiti. The VOA says it will use a combination of shortwave, AM and satellite broadcasts to provide information.

"We're doing everything we possibly can to reach people in Haiti who have a desperate need for information," Alberto Mascaro, chief of VOA's Latin America Division, said in a statement.

Creole Service programming on shortwave and satellite radio has expanded from 1 1/2 hours daily to 5 hours. Programming will air from 7:30-8:30 a.m. EST; 12:30-2:30 p.m.; 5:00-6:00 p.m. EST and 8:00-9:00 p.m. EST. The evening programs can also be heard on 1180 a.m. from a transmitter and tower in Marathon, Fla., preempting Radio Marti at those times.

VOA also has set up a special call-in number - 1-202-205-9942, mailbox 42 - for people to leave messages that will be broadcast to Haiti. Facebook and Twitter accounts have also been created in Creole. Up-to-date information is also available around the clock on VOANews.com/creole.
--Monica Norton

3:14 p.m. FAA Stops all civilian flights from U.S. to Haiti
The Federal Aviation Administration halted all civilian flights from the U.S. to Haiti on Thursday at the request of the Haitian government, an official said, according to The Federal Eye. The ground stop will continue until at least 4 p.m., but may be extended or ended before then, the official said.

Haitian officials prohibited flights from entering Haitian airspace earlier Thursday as the Port-au-Prince tarmac was clogged with several planes trying to unload relief supplies, the official said. The airport in the capital also lacks sufficient fuel to refuel departing flights.

Nine planes from the U.S. were already in the air when FAA issued the ground stop and could not land in Haiti, the official said.

The agency initially issued the ground stop to end at 2 p.m. ET, but officials extended it until 4 p.m. ET. The official cautioned the ground stop could end sooner if Haitian officials permit flights to land. Track FAA's advisories on Haitian airspace here.

3:04 p.m. Gourmet editor: NY restaurants to hold Haiti night
The former editor of Gourmet Magazine, Ruth Reichl, tweets:

  
@ruthreichl: Dept. of good ideas: Some NY restaurants doing Haiti Dine Out Night on Sunday. 10% of proceeds, 5% of tips go to rescue efforts in Haiti.

Updated post, 2:55 p.m. Sites search for missing Haitians
Reader Thomas Hardman alerts us to another Web site that is attempting to connect missing Haitians with their loved ones: Haitianquake.com is using an online form to create a database of missing people, and promises to contact you if your relative or friend is found.

What other similar platforms have sprung up to address this crisis? Have you heard of anyone successfully finding a missing person through these Web sites? Tweet us, leave a note in the comments or send tips through email.

Here is our earlier post:

Since Haiti was rocked by an earthquake Tuesday evening, several new ways to search for and hopefully connect with missing friends and relatives have popped up online.

The International Committee of the Red Cross added a section for Haiti on their Family Links web site, which aims to restore contact between separated family members. The site allows earthquake victims to register themselves, or family members to list missing relatives.

Ushahidi, a web platform that aggregates mobile and online crisis reports geographically, has started a Haiti page that allows users in country to upload reports by phone, Twitter or email. Ushahidi's Haiti map is currently tracking emergency situations -- collapsed buildings, trapped people, fires and quake aftershocks -- as well as where to find relief services such as medical tents and shelters.

What is Ushahidi? from Ushahidi on Vimeo.

The Miami Herald launched Haiti Connect, a forum to search for relatives and friends by posting their photos and soliciting information from other users of the site who might know something about the whereabouts of missing loved ones.

Another site, koneksyon.com, facilitates hundreds of discussion threads that touch on not only missing people but advice o how to find and connect with Haitians during the aftermath. The site was created the morning after the earthquake by web designers Sebastien Barrau and Marvin Chery, who ask users to contact them through twitter, @sebastienb and @reveiled.

CNN's iReport has also seen lots of activity from those seeking information on loved ones who were in Haiti during the earthquake.

2:47 p.m. U.N. will need hundreds of millions of dollars
Our colleague Colum Lynch reports that John Holmes, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, said that the U.N. will need hundreds of millions dollars in assistance to respond to the the earthquake. Meanwhile, there are still up to 150 U.N. personnel missing.

2:40 p.m. Groups seek temporary legal status for Haitians
Dozens of immigrant advocacy groups and several members of Congress are renewing a long-standing call for the Obama administration to grant temporary legal status and work permits to as many as 125,000 Haitians in the United States illegally.

By law the secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of state, can offer "temporary protected status," or TPS, to illegal immigrants of a particular nationality if calamities such as a natural disaster or war make it too burdensome for their home countries to receive them.

Immigrants must pay a fee to apply for TPS and are eligible only if they were already in the United States at the time the benefit was offered and if they do not have a criminal record. The status is usually granted for up to 18 months, but the government can, and often does, renew it repeatedly as conditions warrant.
--N.C. Aizenman

2:29 p.m. More corporations kicking in with Haiti relief
Economy Watch has a longer list of companies that are offering to support relief efforts, including The Walt Disney Co., Google, Apple, UPS and FedEx (which is offering to fly supplies to the country for free).

2:21 p.m. Local Haitian learns 15 people have died in quake
While the agonizing wait for news of their loved ones continued Thursday for many Washington-area Haitian immigrants, Arielle Jean-Baptiste finally heard from her relatives in Port-au-Prince Thursday and learned that fifteen people she knew had died.

Among those killed were her son's mother-in-law, a 58-year-old accountant who was in her office when the earthquake hit Tuesday. The building collapsed.

"Her daughter found her body," said Jean-Baptiste, 50 who lives in Silver Spring and was still trying to absorb the magnitude of the losses.

"The news is starting to come in," she said. "It is unraveling now. There's no time right now for the dead. It's time to look for the living. We'll mourn them for years to come. For years."

An uncle and a close friend who's like a sister to her are still unaccounted for, said Jean-Baptiste, who fears the death toll among her relatives, friends and acquaintances will climb in the coming days.
--Tara Bahrampour

2:18 p.m. Images of the dead
Erik Parker, a former editor with The Source and VIBE music magazines, has posted a series of pictures from Port-au-Prince on Twitpic. Many of these images are of the dead, crushed where they were or pulled from rubble and dead on the streets, and quite graphic.

Parker is the author of The Parker Report, an online multimedia hip-hop magazine.

2:00 p.m. Rumor mill: No free American Airlines flights
American Airlines' media relations department tells us that a rumor going around the web that they are providing free flights to Haiti for doctors and nurses is NOT true. However, they are offering bonus frequent-flier miles to those who donate to relief efforts. Several other companies are offering free assistance to victims or incentives to donate to relief efforts.

Make a donation to the American Red Cross and earn AAdvantage® bonus miles. If you would like to join us in supporting the victims of the earthquake in Haiti by making a donation, American will reward your generosity with an AAdvantage bonus mile offer. Through February 28, 2010, AAdvantage members can earn a one-time award of 250 bonus miles for a minimum $50 donation, or 500 bonus miles for a donation of $100 or more to the American Red Cross.

In addition, we just blogged about web-based phone company Rebtel handing out 4,000 voucher codes valid for 10 minutes of free calling each to Haiti.

Have you seen other companies providing free service vouchers to victims of the earthquake?

1:43 p.m. Credit card companies profiting from online donation fees
The Huffington Post's Laura Bassett reports that only about 97 percent of online credit card donations make it to charities -- while "the other 3 percent will be skimmed off by banks and credit card companies to cover their 'transaction costs.'"

Companies that do not regularly charge transaction fees on charitable donations include Capital One, she reports. Others might ultimately decide to waive the fees due to the sized of the emergency in Haiti, as some companies did after the tsunami in Asia in 2004.

"After the tsunami, we had thousands of donations, and American Express and I think one other company temporarily waived their fees. So if this thing ramps up, we'll try to get in touch with these banks and see if they'll waive the fee again for us," Richard Walden, the CEO of international relief group Operation USA, told the Huffington Post.


1:41 p.m. Va. college volunteers arrived day before earthquake

In their last blog posts before disaster struck on Tuesday, the two students and two supervisors from Blue Ridge Community College in Harrisonburg, Va., enthused about the warm welcome they had received from the nuns and children at a school in Rivière Froide about 20 miles southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

"The place we are staying in [is] very nice," veterinary technician Gail Foley wrote Monday night after the team had arrived with 120 pounds of donations and settled into a convent guesthouse at the school. "What a pleasant surprise....... It feels very safe here."

The group survived the powerful earthquake that rocked Haiti the next day; the four were visiting a project in the small town of Signeau, where they helped build cages at a rabbit cooperative that the college helped establish.

But the school and convent did not escape the tragedy.

At Rivière Froide, "the school collapsed on the school children," an American volunteer in Haiti, Myrian Kaplan-Pasternak, wrote in an e-mail to her organization, explaining that the Blue Ridge group was with her in Signeau. "We had a long night, but luckily we arrived a bit late and were not in the guest house, which also collapsed."

That e-mail came as an enormous relief to the families and friends of the two students -- Michael Aronoff, 21, of Vienna, Va., and Megan Samples, 19, of Harrisonburg -- and the two community college staffers: Foley and Rebecca Evans, an assistant professor and adviser of the Students in Free Enterprise outreach program. So far, that has been the only word about the group's fate.

According to Cindy Aronoff, the mother of Michael, about 1,000 children attended the Rivière Froide school. Her son had related how the students repeatedly sang songs for them, and he lamented that the children went without lunch on the day the group arrived as the nuns feted their visitors with a feast.

"Now these children have been crushed," she said. "It's just awful."

Also terrible, she said, was the 24 hours she spent not knowing whether her son was alive or not. "Once we got the news that he was alive, it was such a relief," Cindy Aronoff said.
--William Branigan

1:31 p.m. Phone company gives out free 10-minute vouchers
Web-based phone company Rebtel is handing out 4,000 voucher codes valid for 10 minutes of free calling each to Haiti.

Please submit the voucher code helphaiti on this page to get 10 free minutes to your loved ones to make sure that they are unscathed. There are no strings attached, just call and make sure they are ok. Your 10 minutes will be valid for 90 days.
We would also like to highlight that the quake has inflicted significant damage to the telecom infrastructure in Haiti. Therefore, calls to some local carriers might be difficult to connect. If your call doesn't connect instantly, please try again, as officials are continuously working on resolving the problems.

Have you seen other companies providing free service vouchers to victims of the earthquake?

1:20 p.m. LIVE NOW: chat with UN spokesperson
Farhan Haq, a United Nations spokesperson, is taking questions online about rescue efforts for the UN's missing employees in Haiti and the rest of the latest news from ground zero. Click here to join the chat.

12:51 p.m. Red Cross raises more than $3 million by text message
Posts about Haiti continued to fly across Twitter Thursday morning, more than a day after an earthquake rocked the Caribbean nation.

Posts encouraging text- or Web-based donations dominated some threads, with new posts appearing every few seconds urging people to donate by texting to various phone numbers or by visiting certain Web sites.

Several tweets reported that nearly $3 million already had been donated to the Red Cross via text messages. American Red Cross spokeswoman Carrie Housman confirmed Thursday morning the organization had in fact received more than $3 million through a system in which people could donate $10 by texting "HAITI" to the number 90999.

Housman also said the American Red Cross had received more than $10 million overall in donations, including through online giving and phone calls.
--McLean Bennett

12:32 p.m. Michelle Obama to tape public service announcement for Red Cross
First lady Michelle Obama visited the Department of Labor Thursday morning as part of her ongoing outreach to the federal agencies and used the opportunity to speak about the humanitarian crisis in Haiti. In the afternoon, she will tape a public service announcement for the Red Cross, she announced.

"Before we begin, I do want to take a moment just to express my profound heartbreak and our nation's deepest support for the people of Haiti, in the wake of this just devastating disaster that they have suffered," she said.

"The destruction and the suffering that we see, the images that are coming out of that country are just overwhelming. And it is important for the people of Haiti to know that we are keeping the victims of this tragedy and their loved ones in our thoughts, in our prayers, and that also includes prayers going out to all of the Haitian-Americans who have families and friends there, and they're worried about them back home. It's difficult to get word. People don't know where folks are. This is a tough time for Haitian-American citizens here as well.

"And we also want to send our thoughts and prayers out to the American citizens who are working and living in Haiti, as well," she said.

Mrs. Obama urged those who wish to help to visit the White House web site for information on relief organizations and aid groups "to see what you can do to support our friends in Haiti in this time of urgent need."

"This is going to be something that we're going to have to put our attention to for many years to come," she said.

12:13 p.m. 22 UN personnel confirmed dead, 150 still missing
At UN headquarters, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the U.N.'s effort to assess the damage in Haiti remained unclear. "The overall picture remains still sketchy," he told reporters. But the "facts as far as we know it are grim."

Ban confirmed that 22 UN peacekeepers and police have been confirmed dead and that as many as 150 UN staff remain unaccounted for. But he provided no new figures on the number of dead Haitian or foreign civilians. "The death toll I feel could be very high. Clearly this is a major humanitarian crisis."

In a rare piece of good news, Ban said that an Estonian police officer, Tarmo Joveer, 38, was pulled out alive from the rubble of the Christopher Hotel, which serves as the UN's headquarters in Haiti. He said rescue workers heard scratching sounds coming from beneath the wreckage and that they lowered a rubber pipe 12 feet below the street to supply Joveer with water. "It was a small miracle during the night that brought few other miracles," Ban said.

The rescue workers came from Fairfax, Va.; video of their work is below.
--Colum Lynch

12:05 p.m. U.S. searchers scour for victims

A search and rescue team from Fairfax, Virginia, is on the ground in quake-stricken Haiti, helping in the search for survivors and victims. The team, along with their dogs, have been at the site of the U.N. headquarters in Haiti. (The Associated Press)

11:16 a.m. Former presidents Clinton and Bush will lead U.S. relief effort
Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will partner to lead America's humanitarian and relief efforts to Haiti, aides to both men said Thursday.

President Obama has asked his two predecessors to work together in a partnership similar to one that Clinton and former President George H. W. Bush created in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Asian tsunami in 2004. Although the White House has not announced the specific framework of the partnership, Clinton and Bush are expected to help raise money and keep the nation's focus on Haiti during the recovery process.

Clinton, who also serves as the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, has been a vocal advocate for the impoverished nation in the wake of this week's earthquake. Bush has stayed largely quiet, and the partnership could be his most public role since leaving office last year.
--Philip Rucker

11:07 a.m. Bidens to highlight recovery efforts in New Orleans, meet with Haitian Americans in Florida
Vice President Biden will make appearances in New Orleans and Cameron Parish, La., Friday to highlight the administration's ongoing commitment to the recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He will be joined for both events by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D); Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin will join him in New Orleans.

On Saturday, the vice president and his wife, Jill Biden, will meet with members of the Haitian-American community in South Florida to discuss crisis response efforts in Haiti. They will also meet with crisis response teams mobilizing to go to Haiti.

10:58 a.m. Raw video: U.S. aid arrives in Haiti

A U.S. military cargo plane filled with aid supplies was unloaded at the airport in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, where millions of people have been affected by a massive earthquake. (Associated Press)

10:31 a.m. Obama pledges $100 million in aid

President Obama pledged $100 million toward what he called a massive logistical effort to rescue people in the demolished capital of Haiti and vowed that the world will not abandon the devastated nation.

"You will not be forsaken. You will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you," Obama said Thursday morning. "Today you must know that help is arriving. Much, much more help in on the
way."

Flanked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Vice President Joe Biden, Obama pledged that the immediate rescue of Haiti's people, as well as its long-term recovery, will be a top priority of the U.S. government.

Obama said Biden will meet with Haitian-Americans in south Florida over the weekend to coordinate that community's efforts even as the military and diplomatic efforts continue in Haiti.

In his second remarks on the crisis, Obama called the aftermath of the earthquake "nothing less than devastating." But he appeared eager to offer the people of Haiti -- including thousands of American on the island -- some amount of hope in the days ahead.

"None of this will seem quick enough if you have a loved one who is trapped, if you're sleeping on the streets, if you can't feed your children," the president acknowledged. But he added, "More American search and rescue teams are coming, more food, more water, doctors, nurses, paramedics."

Obama said the U.S. military had secured the city's airport and had begun a 24-hour a day airlift of water and medicine. He said the Coast Guard has begun evacuations of American citizens that will continue in the days ahead.

The 82nd Airborne Division has arrived, Obama said, and the Navy's hospital ship, Comfort, is on its way. More Coast Guard cutters are steaming toward the island, he said.

The president acknowledged that distribution of the goods and services arriving on the island is difficult. The roads are damaged, he said, and communications in the city are just beginning to recover. He said a U.S. survey team had provided its assessment to government agencies and non-government aid groups last night.

"This morning, I can report that the first waves of our rescue and relief workers are on the ground and at work," he said.

Obama said the initial $100 million investment will grow as America helps to rebuild its neighbor's infrastructure in the coming year. He said the government's resources will be combined with the generosity of Americans who he thanked for the contributions they have already made.
--Michael D. Shear

10:09 a.m. LIVE NOW: chat with World Vision
Casey Calamusa, communications director at World Vision, is taking questions about relief efforts in Haiti.

9:54 a.m. Updated list of U.S. government response to Haiti
Ed O'Keefe at the Federal Eye has more information on how the U.S. government is tackling the massive relief effort in Haiti:

"The depth of it and the extent of it is just magnificent," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday morning in response to the Haiti disaster. She appeared on all six network and cable television morning programs to update the government's response efforts after canceling a long scheduled trip to the Pacific Rim region.

"The hopeful news is that we don't have many reports yet," of dead Americans in Haiti, Clinton told CBS's "The Early Show."

"As you know the cellphones were down, all kinds of difficulties. We are locating Americans, we are evacuating those Americans that wish to leave. We're evacuating some of the injured Americans."

Asked on CBS if the Obama administration will grant temporary protective status to Haitian Americans, Clinton said the government is taking steps to do so "so that we don't compound the problem that we face in Haiti."

Read more about the State Dept., USAID, Homeland Security, FAA, FCC, FBI and military response.

9:34 a.m. New USAID chief takes over during Haiti crisis


Rajiv Shah (Associated Press)

Just days after being sworn in as the new USAID administrator, Rajiv Shah has been tasked by Obama to lead the relief effort through the Office of Disaster Assistance. He is coordinating an interagency team that includes FEMA and the Homeland Security Department.

WhoRunsGov.com has more on the 36-year-old Shah, who has a background in medicine and was once a top official at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Foreign Policy reports that Shah was out in front by yesterday morning to explain the Obama administration's response to the crisis.

"We are working aggressively and in a highly coordinated way across the federal government to bring all of the assets and capacities we have to bear to quickly and effectively provide as much assistance as possible," Shah told reporters yesterday. "The goal of the relief effort in the first 72 hours will be very focused on saving lives. That is the president's top priority and is what the president has directed us to do."

9:15 a.m. U.S. sending 300 medical personnel to Haiti
The United States will send 300 medical personnel to Haiti and has placed 12,000 on alert for possible deployment to the quake-stricken country, said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, according to Reuters.

"We have disaster medical teams being mobilized, surgical teams," she said in an interview with MSNBC. "We have 12,000 medical personnel on alert. Three-hundred of them are on their way today."

9:06 a.m. Thousands send help to Haiti through text messages; FBI warns of scams
PostTech reports that within 24 hours after the earthquake, thousands of U.S. mobile phone users had sent more than $1 million in donations via text message to the Red Cross for relief efforts, according to wireless carriers.

In addition to number and donation systems through short messages that were set up yesterday by the State Department and various charities, aid was also brought in the form of telecommunications services on the ground in Haiti through the non-governmental organization, Telecom without Borders, which deployed two emergency response teams to Port-au-Prince.

The Red Cross tweeted that they raised nearly $3 million through mobile giving.

Meanwhile, the FBI is warning potential charitable givers to steer clear of scammers purporting to provide relief to Haiti. Included in the FBI's advice:

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.
  • Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group's existence and its nonprofit status rather than following a purported link to the site.
  • Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  • Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.

9:03 a.m. Obama to speak on Haiti at 10 a.m.
The White House just sent out an alert stating that President Obama will make brief remarks on recovery efforts in Haiti at 10 a.m. Stay tuned for video coverage.

8:55 a.m. Chat online with World Vision at 10 a.m.
Casey Calamusa, communications director at World Vision, will be on washingtonpost.com at 10 a.m. ET to discuss relief efforts in Haiti. World Vision has a staff of 70 workers and volunteers in Port-au-Prince (a total of 370 in the country) and is sending out 18 metric tons of supplies today. Calamusa is in touch staffers on the ground, and gives us a sense of what things look like this morning:

"The earthquake has devastated Port-au-Prince. Our staff in the city say the low-lying areas have been hit the hardest, and that many roads are still impassable due to rubble and debris. Food, water and shelter are in great demand. Many people are afraid to go back inside for fear of aftershocks, and so they are sleeping outside. Telecommunications remain extremely unreliable and many people are still unable to contact friends and loved
ones to see if they are ok."

8:32 a.m. Web sites emerge to search for missing Haitians
Since Haiti was rocked by an earthquake Tuesday evening, several new ways to search for and hopefully connect with missing friends and relatives have popped up online.

The International Committee of the Red Cross added a section for Haiti on their Family Links web site, which aims to restore contact between separated family members. The site allows earthquake victims to register themselves, or family members to list missing relatives.

Ushahidi, a web platform that aggregates mobile and online crisis reports geographically, has started a Haiti page that allows users in country to upload reports by phone, Twitter or email. Ushahidi's Haiti map is currently tracking emergency situations -- collapsed buildings, trapped people, fires and quake aftershocks -- as well as where to find relief services such as medical tents and shelters.

What is Ushahidi? from Ushahidi on Vimeo.

The Miami Herald launched Haiti Connect, a forum to search for relatives and friends by posting their photos and soliciting information from other users of the site who might know something about the whereabouts of missing loved ones.

Another site, koneksyon.com, facilitates hundreds of discussion threads that touch on not only missing people but advice o how to find and connect with Haitians during the aftermath. The site was created the morning after the earthquake by web designers Sebastien Barrau and Marvin Chery, who ask users to contact them through twitter, @sebastienb and @reveiled.

CNN's iReport has also seen lots of activity from those seeking information on loved ones who were in Haiti during the earthquake.

What other similar platforms have sprung up to address this crisis? Tweet us, leave a note in the comments or send tips through email.

8:20 a.m. Google Earth releases post-quake photos
In case you missed it last night, the Google Crisis Response Team released a Google Earth imagery layer of Haiti post-quake.

"We've worked closely with GeoEye throughout the afternoon to make their most recent satellite imagery of Haiti, taken at approximately 10:27am EST [Wednesday], available as a KML overlay for Google Earth," the team writes, noting, "As you'll see, the imagery shows a powerful glimpse into the destruction in Haiti." View before and after Google Earth images of the presidential palace and an area of Port-au-Prince, and to download the imagery layer.

8:21 a.m. Video of the quake happening emerges
Another development you may have missed last night:

"The CBS News Investigative Unit has acquired video of buildings collapsing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during the country's worst earthquake since 1770. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0 and dozens of aftershocks. "

8:13 a.m. Clinton: Too soon to estimate casualties
Appearing on morning network news shows after cutting short an overseas trip, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it's still too early to make a firm estimate of the number of deaths in the wake of Tuesday's devastating, 7.0 magnitude earthquake. But she said officials know that approximately 3 million people, including 45,000 Americans, have been affected and that "tens of thousands, we fear, are dead."

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


7:56 a.m. Vast homelessness problem emerging in Haiti

The Post's Mary Beth Sheridan reports that tens of thousands of Haitians are sleeping on sidewalks or wandering the streets of heavily damaged Port-au-Prince this morning:

There was little sign of international relief arriving as Haitians struggled to find survivors in collapsed buildings. Before dawn, a man in downtown Port-au-Prince appealed to a crowd of dozing residents to help pull bodies from destroyed buildings.

In the central Bel Air neighborhood, the streets and sidewalks were covered with people sleeping on mattresses, plastic chairs and bits of cardboard.

"The few houses still standing have cracks. Everyone thinks they are too dangerous," said one man in the neighborhood, who had settled onto the sidewalk with his family.

Indeed, the neighborhood had largely been reduced to rubble. Flames licked from the shell of one ruined building. Balconies had crashed to the ground. Cars were buried under chunks of gray concrete the size of dining-room tables. The street was littered with bricks, shattered plastic chairs, glittering shards of glass.

Huge crowds swarmed through the city overnight, carrying meager possessions--a cooking pot, a sack of vegetables--and shoeless toddlers with terrified eyes. Many people had wrapped themselves in bedsheets, adding to the ghostly air.

Some said they were leaving their homes not only because of the damage but because of rumors of a possible tsunami.

Every time a slight tremor shook the city, the crowds dozing on sidewalks or in parks erupted in shrieks and prayers.

Much of the capital appeared to be without electricity and running water. Pools of green sewage water pooled outside the streets of ruined homes.

Downtown, the ornate white French-style presidential palace was heavily damaged, its two side cupolas leaning at crazy angles and the main cupola pancaked.

Read more here.

7:50 a.m. Live-blogging the earthquake aftermath
Good morning. We'll be blogging about the situation in Haiti again today. To read yesterday's thread, click here.

Permalink | Comments (5)

Posted at 9:03 AM ET, 01/13/2010

Haiti earthquake: Live updates

You can find our most recent blog coverage here.

Quick links: Twitter feeds about Haiti's earthquake; updating list of ways to help relief efforts; e-mail tips to Liz Heron or Garance Franke-Ruta; submit photos from Haiti. For complete coverage of the crisis in Haiti, click here.

12:07 a.m. Google Earth releases post-quake photos
The Google Crisis Response Team has released a Google Earth imagery layer of Haiti post-quake.

"We've worked closely with GeoEye throughout the afternoon to make their most recent satellite imagery of Haiti, taken at approximately 10:27am EST [Wednesday], available as a KML overlay for Google Earth," the team writes, noting, "As you'll see, the imagery shows a powerful glimpse into the destruction in Haiti." Click here for before and after Google Earth images of the presidential palace and an area of Port-au-Prince, and to download the imagery layer.

11:33 p.m. Video of the quake happening emerges

"The CBS News Investigative Unit has acquired video of buildings collapsing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during the country's worst earthquake since 1770. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0 and dozens of aftershocks. "

8:45 p.m.: Haitian resort town also devastated by quake
While Port-au-Prince has received the lion's share of attention after Tuesday's earthquake, no less hard-hit is the resort town of Jacmel, whose 19th-century architecture was the major influence for New Orleans, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

"It is a complete devastation here. Personally, I am lucky to be alive," said Emmet Murphy, head of the Haitian office of the US non-governmental organization ADCI/VOCA.

Jacmel, a port town with a population of about 40,000, is Haiti's most popular tourist destination, with beautiful beaches and much historical significance. The town was founded in 1698 and became a hub for wealthy coffee merchants in the 19th century. The entrepreneurs' mansions, with their balconies and columns, influenced the style traditionally associated with New Orleans.

Jacmel is home to flourishing international film and music festivals. On Monday, Choice Hotels announced it would open in Jacmel a 32-room Comfort Inn, planned to be the first chain hotel in Haiti in more than a decade, as well as a more upscale property in nearby Belle Rive.
--Megan Greenwell

8:10 p.m.: Most of novelist Danticat's family missing after quake
Novelist Edwidge Danticat, one of the world's most famous Haitian writers, is still trying to get in touch with most of her family in Port-au-Prince, she told National Public Radio.

Danticat, 40, who was born in Haiti and moved to Brooklyn when she was 12, has written several books about her home country and visits regularly. She told NPR that she spoke to her mother-in-law, who lives in a suburb of Port-au-Prince, on Wednesday morning, but that she has not made contact with her other family members. She spent Wednesday in Miami, where she lives, meeting with other Haitians to grieve and discuss plans for the future. Danticat has long been a vocal advocate for aid efforts in Haiti.

Last September, Danticat was named a winner of a MacArthur Foundation "genius award." She is currently editing a book of short stories about Haiti called "Haiti Noir," which is scheduled to be released next January.
--Megan Greenwell

7:35 p.m.: Va. community college students, staff reported safe
A group of two students and two staff members who traveled to Haiti from Blue Ridge Community College, in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, are safe after the earthquake, the school announced.

The students and staff members from the college, in Weyers Cave, Va., were working on a service project outside of Port-au-Prince with the Missouri-based nonprofit group SIFE, according to Blue Ridge president John A. Downey. Family members and administrators from the college were unable to get in touch with the group until late Wednesday afternoon, when an American volunteer from another group e-mailed her organization to say she was with the Blue Ridge representatives and that all are safe.
--Megan Greenwell

7:00 p.m.: FCC allows broadcasters to raise money for hurricane relief
Federal regulators said Wednesday that they would waive a rule that prohibits public television and radio stations from on-air fundraising, freeing the stations to raise money for Haitian earthquake relief.

The rule prohibits non-commercial stations from using their airwaves to raise funds for any cause other than pledge drives for the stations themselves. But the Federal Communications Commission, which licenses TV stations, said it would grant waivers for Haitian fund drives.

It did the same after Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Commercial stations and cable networks don't need the federal government's permission to air programs appealing for contributions.
--Paul Farhi

6:37 p.m.: 10 students from Fla. college group missing
Two students from a Florida college group staying in Haiti have arrived safely at the American embassy in Port-au-Prince, but 10 classmates and two faculty members remain missing, the university said Wednesday evening.

The group from Lynn University, in Boca Raton, was staying at Hotel Montana, a luxury resort in Port-au-Prince that collapsed in the earthquake. The students were working with an international aid group, Food for the Poor, during their winter break from classes, a spokesman for the university said.

Lynn administrators are posting updates on the university web site at www.lynn.edu/alert.
--Megan Greenwell

6:32 p.m.: Body of archbishop is recovered
Msgr. Joseph Serge Miot, the archbishop of the Diocese of Port-au-Prince, was found dead Wednesday, a fellow priest told CNN. Miot's body was pulled from the rubble of the archdiocese office, the network reported. He was 63.

The apostolic nuncio in Haiti, Msgr. Bernardito Auza, told Fox News that the Port-au-Prince cathedral and every major church and seminary was flattened by the earthquake and that hundreds of priests and seminarians are unaccounted for.
--Megan Greenwell

6:25 p.m.: Md. church with ties to Haiti plans Mass
St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Derwood, Md., will hold a special Mass at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to pray for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

The church has a special connection to Haiti, having been "twinned" with St. Paul Parish in Leon, Haiti for the past 20 years, according to Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington. St. Francis is helping fund construction of a new high school in the town and pays for 100 students' tuition. Three mission groups from the church are scheduled to travel to Haiti next month, Gibbs said.

Fourteen parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington are twinned with churches in Haiti.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish is located at 6701 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood.
--Megan Greenwell

6:15 p.m.: Charitable giving for crisis reaching record totals
Organizations raising money for Haitian relief efforts online say that the early response is reaching record-breaking totals.

A spokesman for Convio, which provides software to nonprofit groups, told the Chronicle of Philanthropy that the company will process more than $20 million in donations in the 24 hours after the earthquake, a higher total than on Dec. 31, the highest-grossing day of last year. Convio provides software to some of the biggest international aid groups, including UNICEF, World Vision, the American Red Cross and Catholic Charities.

By Wednesday afternoon, the American Red Cross had raised more than $1 million through its web site, plus another $713,000 through its mobile giving campaign, the Chronicle reported. That campaign -- one of several set up in the wake of the earthquake -- allows cell phone users to donate $10 by texting "HAITI" to the number 90999.

The actor Ben Stiller, who runs a nonprofit supporting a school in Port-au-Prince, has redirected the group's funds to earthquake relief efforts, he announced on his web site.
--Megan Greenwell

5:50 p.m. Partners in Health to set up field hospitals
Partners in Health, the health care organization founded by physician Paul Farmer in Haiti and chronicled in the book "Mountains Beyond Mountains," has mobilized staff from its Boston headquarters, as well as its Haiti facilities, to treat victims in Port-au-Prince.

The group has set up a supply chain through the Dominican Republic to create field hospitals in Port-au-Prince to "triage patients, provide emergency care, and send those who need surgery or more complex treatment to our functioning hospitals and surgical facilities," according to its web site. Partners in Health's medical director is on her way to Haiti to oversee the group's 120 doctors and 500 nurses and nursing assistants. The group's main facility in Haiti, a 104-bed hospital in the central part of the country, was unharmed and is treating a steady stream of patients coming from Port-au-Prince, a statement from Partners in Health said.

The group has set up a web site to take donations for its relief efforts in Haiti.
--Megan Greenwell

5:46 p.m. District's chaplain for Haitian community missing
The Archdiocese of Washington is working to coordinate donations to help relief efforts in Haiti as well as special prayer services for Haitians in the Washington region, but staff members are forced to do it without their main liason to the Haitian American community.

Arsene Jasmin, a priest from Port-au-Prince on loan to the Archdiocese of Washington, serves as the chaplain to the Haitian community in Washington, D.C. Jasmin traveled to Haiti on Monday on retreat and has not been heard from since the earthquake, according to Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese.

"The person we turn to is himself missing," Gibbs said. "He's here to help people express in their own culture [and] language."

There are about 20,000 Haitians in the Washington region, about 80 percent of whom are Catholic, Gibbs said. Three Catholic churches in the region -- Sacred Heart in Columbia Heights, Our Lady of Sorrows in Takoma Park and St. Camillus in Silver Spring -- hold some services in French Creole for Haitian-Americans.

Gibbs said St. Camillus will hold a vigil this weekend and that all parishes will take a second collection for relief efforts on Sunday. In Jasmin's absence, Steve Carter, the priest at Sacred Heart, is coordinating many of the archdiocese's efforts.
--Megan Greenwell

5:36 p.m. Haitian diplomat predicts death toll of 100,000
As many as 100,000 may have died in the earthquake in Haiti, the country's ambassador to the Organization of American States said Wednesday during a briefing in Washington.

"The number I had today is from the prime minister," said Ambassador Duly Brutus during a briefing organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). But Brutus added that he hopes that the number of deaths will be far less--perhaps no more than 30,000.

"I want to be optimistic. I refuse to accept that we have more than 30,000 people who died in Haiti. It's my dream -- my wish for my country. But other people believe we have more people who died in Haiti during the earthquake. Some people think we have more than 100,000. Now, we don't know how many people died from this earthquake. We don't know. We need to wait," he said
.
PAHO, which is part of the World Health Organization, had dispatched an international team of experts from Panama to Haiti to assist in the management of mass casualties, the delivery of emergency medical care, and the disposal of bodies, an official said.

"This is the strongest earthquake ever reported in Haiti," said Jon K. Andrus, PAHO's deputy director. "It is a country of extreme poverty and vulnerability."

"We fear the impact of this earthquake will be particularly devastating due to the vulnerability of Haiti's people," Andrus said.

Contrary to common belief, large numbers of dead bodies do not pose an immediate health threat to survivors, Andrus noted, urging against mass burials.

"Misplaced fears about dead bodies often lead to mass burials, which are unnecessary," he said.

He also urged people who want to make donations to send money instead of food and clothing.

Brazil has sent three jets carrying 21 tons of equipment; Canada, Guana and other countries have offered money; and France is sending planes with equipment and personnel and Spain has sent planes with surgical teams, he said.

Search and rescue for survivors, medical care for the injured, the provision of clean water and food and the control of communicable diseases will be the most immediate priorities, Andrus said.

"These will be the major concern for the upcoming days," Andrus said.
--Rob Stein

5:32 p.m. Official worry port may be too damaged for relief efforts
As U.S. agencies lined up to help the relief effort, officials sounded a note of concern, saying they are deeply worried about whether the country's infrastructure can handle the influx of help that will soon begin arriving. Haiti's airport and seaport both sustained substantial damage in the earthquake.

"If the port is severely damaged, that makes it very, very difficult" to get relief supplies in, said U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. James A. "Jim" Watson IV, director of Atlantic area operations.

Coast Guard operations were focused on establishing some sort of broad sea-lift capacity at Port-au-Prince's heavily damaged seaport.
-- Michael D. Shear and Spencer S. Hsu

5:28 p.m. Gaspard promises rapid and aggressive response
White House political director Patrick Gaspard told non-governmental organizations on a conference call Wednesday that the White House and the rest of the American government were moving "rapidly and aggressively" to address the crisis in Haiti.

A Haitian America, Gaspard made clear that the situation there is deeply personal to him.

"As a Haitian American who is himself struggling to contact friends and loved ones, I can well appreciate the profound sadness we're all feeling at the this horrific moment," he told those on the call, which was sponsored by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.

He urged Haitian Americans to think not only in terms of material support for their ancestral land but to think about the sweeping emotional toll that the earthquake will take on their families and friends. "This is a time when we all have to serve as grief counselors," he said.

Gaspard said that after several months of review and deliberation, the Obama administration had been prepared to announce a new policy framework for the country. That will, of course, have to be revisited, but he said no one should expect Haiti to fall off the administration's radar.

"Irrespective of what's on CNN, Haiti has been in the hearts and minds of the president and the secretary of of state and the special envoy to the Haiti, Bill Clinton," Gaspard said. "On this issue, we're not following the headlines and Haiti will continue to be central to our work going forward."

Read the rest of the post by Henri Cauvin and Theola Labbé-DeBose at the 44: Politics and Policy blog.

5:18 p.m. Americans seek loved ones
Friends and family members of Americans in Haiti took to the airwaves Wednesday to seek help finding their loved ones.

About 45,000 American citizens live in Haiti, according to the State Department.

Skip Conover of Lawrenceville, N.J., told CNN that 21 people from his church and two others nearby were scheduled to arrive in Port-au-Prince about three hours before the earthquake struck. Nobody has heard from the members of the group, Conover said.

"Our fingers are crossed that if there were no holdups in customs and no stopgaps, the team should have been up the mountains and reached the village of Thoman before the quake happened," he told the network.

Haiti is a popular location for church group missions because of the crippling poverty and because the country's government is generally welcoming to religious aid workers.

Americans who have been unable to contact family members in Haiti are instructed to call a State Department hotline at 1-888-407-4747.

5:16 p.m. Twitter, Facebook play big role in helping Haiti

Charitable organizations say an unprecedented number of people have turned to social media, including Twitter and Facebook to give money for disaster relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake. (Jan. 13, Associated Press)

4:04 p.m.: U.S. military dispatches aircraft carrier, other assets
Ann Scott Tyson has more details about U.S. military response to the quake aftermath:

The U.S. military is urgently dispatching a Navy aircraft carrier and large-deck amphibious ship, as well as military transport aircraft and assessment teams, to Haiti to assist with the earthquake relief effort, a senior U.S. military official said Wednesday.

Gen. Douglas Fraser said U.S. military assessment teams arriving in Haiti Wednesday and Thursday aboard C-130 transport aircraft would include a headquarters of about 25 people, as well as about a dozen experts including engineers and medical professionals. The military will focus on establishing better communications and a command-and-control capability in order to assist the U.S. Agency for International Development and other government entities in the relief effort.

The military teams will also work on reestablishing the operations of the Port-au-Prince airport, where the runway is intact but the control tower has lost communications.

Read the full story on U.S. military aid to Haiti.

Ed O'Keefe has more on U.S. government response to the quake.

3:52 p.m.: Haiti groups crop up on Facebook
People flocked onto Facebook Wednesday, some promising their prayers and others seeking information on loved ones' whereabouts after the earthquake in Haiti.

The Facebook group "EARTHQUAKE HAITI" boasted 33,394 members as of about 3:10 p.m. Wednesday, and another group by the same name had 5,192 members by the same time, with both groups' members lists growing quickly. Another, smaller group, "Haiti earthquake!!" had about 766 members.

One poster on "EARTHQUAKE HAITI" sought updates about his or her grandfather, who apparently had been pulled out from a collapsed house and was in serious condition. Another poster asked for information about the whereabouts of a coworker who the poster said was believed to be in Port-au-Prince at the time of the quake.

On the smaller of the two "EARTHQUAKE HAITI" groups, one person reported that text messages apparently were getting through better than voice calls, and encouraged people seeking to contact people in Haiti to try getting in touch with them via texting.

It was the same story on other Haiti-themed Facebook groups, "Haiti Needs Us, And We Need Haiti," which had about 10,754 members at about 3:15 p.m., and "SUPPORT THE VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI" had about 21,476 members.
--McLean Bennett

3:45 p.m. Pat Robertson: Haiti made pact with Devil
Pat Robertson, the Christian televangelist and host of "The 700 Club," said on today's broadcast that earthquake-ravaged Haiti was "cursed" by a pact the people made with the Devil.

"They were under the heel of the French...they got together and swore a pact to the Devil," Robertson said. "They said, we will serve you if you get us free from the French....But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing or another."

3:36 p.m. First aerial images of Haiti

There are fears that hundreds of thousands may have died in Haiti's earthquake, but there's still no firm count. In the capital, Port-au-Prince, bodies of small children are piled next to schools. (Jan. 13, Associated Press)

3:35 p.m. All deportations to Haiti on hold
The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have halted all removals to Haiti for the time being in response to Tuesday's earthquake, DHS spokesman Matthew Chandler said. ICE continues to closely monitor the situation.
--Ed O'Keefe

3:29 p.m. FCC issues waivers to allow fundraising drives
Public television and radio stations that wish to host on-air fundraising drives for Haitian earthquake relief efforts will be able to do so thanks to temporary waivers issued Wednesday by the Federal Communications Commission.

"A number of noncommercial broadcasters have asked for permission to raise funds for relief efforts, which we are happy to give," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

"These temporary waivers will help tap the American spirit of generosity in this time of great need to aid Haitian relief efforts," he said.

The agency usually prohibits public broadcasters from hosting on-air fundraising drives for any organization other than a station itself. The agency issued similar waivers following Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the Jan. 2005 Southeast Asian tsunami.

Interested stations are asked to file an informal request with FCC officials.
--Ed O'Keefe

3:12 p.m. Susan Rice: The United States stands with the people of Haiti
Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, issued a statement on the earthquake in Haiti Wednesday afternoon:

"My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of yesterday's devastating earthquake in Haiti.

"I spoke with Secretary General Ban last night and twice this morning to coordinate efforts. I let him know that Haiti and MINUSTAH have the full support of the United States government to provide search, rescue and recovery assistance, as we also undertake efforts to assist U.S. personnel and citizens in the country.

"UN peacekeepers and relief workers have been in Haiti for years to help rebuild the country from conflict, as well as destruction from natural disasters. As I witnessed when I was in Haiti last year, the people of Haiti were on a determined path to recovery. This was, in part, made possible by the hard work of the dedicated people of MINUSTAH and other
UN agencies, many of whom are among the unaccounted for today.

"The United States stands with the people of Haiti and with the United Nations and will support both critical immediate response and long-term recovery efforts."

3:08 p.m. Tweets from around the world
World officials including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Jordanian Queen Rania al-Abdullah and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, plus a host of ambassadors and other international officials are buzzing about the effects of yesterday's earthquake in Haiti, and how their countries can send aid to the region.

You can follow the latest reactions and updates from world leaders and the foreign policy community with our Tweets from around the world aggregator.

2:57 p.m."Port-au-Prince is flattened"
"Port-au-Prince is flattened," said Felix Augustin, Haiti's consul general to the United Nations, on Wednesday.

"More than 100,000 are dead," he told reporters.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN's Gary Tuchman that all of Port-au-Prince is either damaged or destroyed, CNN reports, and that in some neighborhoods there no longer seem to be people. Click here for audio of their interview.

2:48 p.m. Ted Turner pledges $1 million for relief efforts
"We are committing $1 million today to address the most urgent humanitarian and re-construction needs in Haiti," Ted Turner said in a statement released today. Turner is the founder and chairman of the United Nations Foundation, as well as a media mogul.

2:41 p.m. American government in action: a round-up
The Post's Federal Eye blog has compiled a list of how U.S. federal government agencies and departments are responding to Tuesday's massive earthquake in Haiti. Click here to read.

2:28 p.m. Haiti: A deeper look
The Post's Ian Shapira writes: "As news reports pour out of Haiti in our tweet-per-second news cycle, it's worth pausing to reflect on Tracy Kidder's 2003 book on Haiti, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World." So many books have been written about nations ravaged by disease and conflict. But Kidder's bestseller about one physician's impact on the nation of 9 million people transcends so many others because it features two very introspective characters: the reporter and the doctor."

Read the rest at The Post's Story Lab blog.

2:25 p.m. FBI issues warning
The Federal Bureau of Investigations has issued a warning on Twitter about giving online and through mobile phones to little-known groups: "Beware of Criminals soliciting Hurricane Relief money for Haiti: Make contributions directly to known organizations. #FBI more on fbi.gov"

("sorry folks, info should have said earthquake not hurricane..but in any case, beware of fraudsters out there looking to profit," @fbipressoffice amended in a follow-up tweet.)

"Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause," an FBI statement said.

Among other tips: don't respond to unsolicited e-mail messages with links; be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for online donations; verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources.
--Liz Heron and Ed O'Keefe

2:20 p.m. Charities set up text-messaging services for donations
Several charities set up text-messaging systems to allow people to give micro donations, in which $5 or $10 goes directly to the charity, if people type in certain key words.

To give $5 to the Yele Foundation (which was the trending topic o Twitter Wednesday morning) founded by musician Wyclef Jean, text Yele to 501501.
To give $5 to the Rescue Union Mission and MedCorp International, text Haiti to 85944.
To give $5 to the International Rescue Committee, text Haiti to 25383.
To give $10 to the American Red Cross, text Haiti to 90999.

You can find more ways to help on our list of organizations that are responding to the crisis in Haiti.
-- Susan Kinzie

2:13 p.m. Clinton will cut trip short
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that after discussing the situation with President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, she has decided to "compress" but not cancel her trip to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia.

Read the full story here.
--John Pomfret

2:11 p.m. D.C. community converges for Haitian earthquake relief

The Greater Washington Haitian-America Relief Network assembled in Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning to organize relief efforts to deal with the devastating earthquake while trying to cope with not being able to reach friends and family in Haiti. (Anna Uhls / The Washington Post)

1:58 p.m. Three Americans confirmed dead in Haiti
A White House national security official told Haitian activists this afternoon in a conference call that eight U.S. embassy employees had been injured, including three who had to be Medevacd by the Coast Guard to Guantanamo Bay. The official said three American fatalities had been confirmed.

The official said that overflights by the Coast Guard and the U.S. military had found that the impact of the earthquake was concentrated in and around Port-au-Prince and does not appear to be an island-wide situation.

A Coast Guard cutter is providing provisional air traffic control and the U.S. Southern Command is sending a air traffic control unit. The deputy commander of SouthCom was in Port -au-Prince at the time of the quake. Only one of the country's three cell phone providers is providing consistent service.

1:55 p.m. New images of Haiti after the quake

WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO: Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after a powerful earthquake crushed thousands of structures, from shacks to the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. (Jan. 13, Associated Press)

1:45 p.m. A strike-slip earthquake
Christopher J. Rowan, a geologist with the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh, describes the tectonic shifts that led to the Haitian earthquake in a detailed post on his blog, highlyallochthonous:

"The Caribbean is contained on its own separate little plate; a rather diminutive part of the tectonic jigsaw that is the Earth's crust. It is surrounded on three sides by the much larger North and South American plates, both of which are moving approximately westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at around 2-3 centimetres a year. On the eastern edge of the plate, the boundary runs perpendicular to the direction of relative plate motion, so there is compression and subduction ... [when one plate slides under another]. However, as the boundary curves around to form the northern boundary of the Caribbean plate, where the Haitian earthquake occurred, it starts to run parallel to the direction of relative plate motion, making strike-slip faulting along E-W trending faults the most likely expression of deformation in this region. This is exactly what the Haitian quake appears to record."

As well, he notes, the proximity of the center of the earthquake to Port-au-Prince "meant that the city would have endured the maximum possible shaking intensity from an earthquake of this size."

1:24 p.m. Bill Clinton to meet with Ban Ki-moon
Former president Bill Clinton is scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations in New York to discuss the crisis in Haiti.
--Colum Lynch

1:17 p.m. Prayers and firsthand accounts
While there are widespread reports of power outages in Port-au-Prince, some residents and visitors to Haiti have been able to update Web sites with firsthand reports of the catastrophe. Tara Livesay wrote on her family blog Wednesday morning:

The sun is about to come up. The aftershocks continue. Some more noticeable than others. There is no way to even begin to share the things we've heard and seen since 5pm yesterday. To do so would take hours that we don't have to give right now. Some of them feel wrong to tell. Like only God should know these personal horrible tragedies.
The few things we can confirm - yes the four story Caribbean Market building is completely demolished. Yes it was open. Yes the National Palace collapsed. Yes Gov't buildings nearby the Palace collapsed. Yes St Josephs Boys home is completely collapsed. Yes countless countless - countless other houses, churches, hospitals, schools, and businesses have collapsed. There are buildings that suffered almost no damage. Right next door will be a pile of rubble....
I cannot imagine what the next few weeks and months will be like. I am afraid for everyone. Never in my life have I seen people stronger than Haitian people. But I am afraid for them. For us.

John McHoul at Heartline Ministries blogs pictures of his house and an update here.

1:01 p.m. PHOTOS: World reacts to Haiti earthquake


Humanitarian efforts have begun around the world. View the full photo gallery here.

12:44 p.m.: U.N.: Main jail collapsed in earthquake
The United Nations says the main prison in Haiti's battered capital of Port-au-Prince collapsed in the massive earthquake.

A U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman says the U.N. has received reports of escaped inmates. Read more from the Associated Press here.

12:27 p.m.: USS Carl Vinson heading to Haiti
The U.S. has ordered the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to steam south toward Haiti, according to Gen. Douglas Fraser of the U.S. Southern Command. The ship, which is normally stationed at a Norfolk base but was out of dock on a training exercise, won't travel with a full complement of marines and equipment, but the Navy is "provisioning" the ship as it heads south, including by landing helicopters on it as it sails.
--Michael Shear

12:21 p.m.: More on how to follow the story online
A slew of images from the scene Tuesday came from Daniel Morel, who is posting them on photo-sharing site Twitpic.

Haitian radio host Carel Pedre has uploaded day-after photos to CNN's iReport of what he's seeing in Petion-Ville.

You can follow him on Twitter at @carelpedre.

And for more on-the-ground reports, someone has created a Twitter feed of people tweeting from within 100 km of Port-au-Prince.

12:18 p.m.: Haiti: May be tens of thousands dead
Although there are no official estimates of the death toll in Haiti, the prime minister of Haiti just told CNN that he fears that tens of thousands of lives may have been lost from the earthquake. The phone connection suddenly cut out during the CNN interview just after noon.

12:16 p.m.: Relief worker worries about long-term effect on aid
Charles Jakosa, an international development expert, has been managing a USAID project in Port-au-Prince for the past six months but happened to travel to Fairfax on Tuesday for a business meeting. He learned of the quake just after checking into his hotel.

"I immediately attempted to make contact with the project office in Haiti, but I still have not gotten through," Jakosa said. "I've tried calling and haven't been able to reach anyone. I've sent e-mails and heard nothing back."

To Jakosa's relief, someone at the project's U.S. headquarters was eventually able to determine that all staff members in Haiti were safe and there was no structural damage to the project's buildings.

"But I still don't know if our staff members' families and homes are fine," he said. "I wish I was there right now to offer whatever support I possibly could."

Instead, like so many others with friends and relatives in Haiti, Jakosa said he's been "glued to the media" -- staying up late to watch television news and read Internet accounts, and to answer a flurry of emails from friends who think he's still in Haiti and want to make sure he is okay.

"I even heard from my high school Latin teacher," he said.

Jakosa, 44, a former federal prosecutor, also worries about the long-term impact of the earthquake on development initiatives like his project, which aims to improve justice services in the country.

"I really hope that this will not distract from efforts to improve life in Haiti in other areas -- that politically, financially and administratively these efforts will be able to go forward," he said.

For the most part, Jakosa is optimistic. "There's extreme poverty in Haiti, but the people are also fantastically open and welcoming. Haiti is also probably in a decent position to recover from something like this because of its proximity to the United States and because there's already a lot of aid work going on there. There are a lot of international capabilities already in place."
--N.C. Aizenman

12:06 p.m.: State Department evacuating personnel
According to a top State Department official, the U.S. has ordered the evacuation of about 80 State personnel in Haiti -- spouses, children and non-essential employees of the 172 who work at the embassy will probably be evacuated on Coast Guard planes later this afternoon. Eight embassy employees who were injured, four seriously, have been airlifted out via Coast Guard helicopters.
--Michael Shear

12:03 p.m.: Obama's remarks, all Haiti video
Here is the full transcript of Obama's remarks on Haiti.

Also, you can view all of our video about Haiti here. We will be updating it throughout the day.

12:00 p.m. FAA: Port-au-Prince airport is operational
The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that the runways at the Port-au-Prince airport in Haiti are operational and humanitarian flights can get into the country.

Spokeswoman Tammy Jones said, however, that the tower at the airport is apparently out of commission and flights can get in only using visual flight rules and only if the weather is good.

"We're told that the runways and the [navigational] aids are operating," she said. Planes are "able to take off and land. ... The tower is not operating but they're able to get flights in and out, but only humanitarian and private flights. ... There are no commercial flights."
-- Michael E. Ruane

11:48 a.m.: Health care disrupted, says Doctors Without Borders
The health-care situation for hundreds of Haitians injured in the earthquake is dire because so many of Port-au-Prince's medical facilities have been damaged, according to Doctors Without Borders. First reports are coming out from teams who were already working on medical projects Haiti, who are now setting up clinics in tents to replace their own damaged medical facilities.

11:34 a.m.: More ways to find on-the-ground reports online
News continues to emerge from Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, but some of the best sources of on-the-ground information are on the web.

@InternetHaiti is aggregating an active stream of tweets coming out of the devastated country.

In addition, at least one Haitian broadcasting channel online remains on air.

11:13 a.m. Va.-based rescue team deploys to Haiti
Fairfax County physicians, paramedics and rescue specialists who work in the area of structural engineering and building collapses, are en route to Haiti to help rescue efforts.

Dan Schmidt, spokesman for the Fairfax County Rescue Department, said the Virginia Task Force 1, which is made up of 72 emergency professionals, was activated by the United States Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. They were at Dulles International Airport Wednesday morning waiting to take off on a charter flight.

"The mission is to save lives," said Schmidt, adding that team members begin gathering at the Fairfax County Training Academy Tuesday evening where they worked through the night to assemble equipment.

This is familiar duty for the members of the rescue team, which was formed in 1986 to respond to domestic and international disasters.
--Hamil R. Harris

11:03 a.m.: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks on Haiti (unofficial transcript)
SG: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the victims of yesterday's catastrophic earthquake [continues in French].

Information on the full extent of the damage is still scanty. Initial reconnaissance and aerial assessments have been undertaken. It is now clear that the earthquake has had a devastating impact on the capital...

As you are aware, buildings and infrastructure were heavily damaged throughout the capital. Basic services such as water and electricity have collapsed almost entirely.

We are yet to establish the number of dead or injured, which we fear may well be in the hundreds. Medical facilities have been inundated with injured.

There is no doubt that we are facing a major humanitarian emergency and that a major relief effort will be required...

The UN is also mobilizing an emergency response team to help coordinate humanitarian relief efforts, which will be on the ground shortly. We will immediately release $10 million from the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF). In this regard, I am encouraged and appreciative of the willingness of the international community to extend immediate assistance and rescue missions. I am close consultation with the US Government and Haitian Government, as well as many others of the international community's major countries. In these times of difficulties, I would appeal again to the international community for urgent further assistance and urgent further help for them. Thank you very much.

SG: Most of the communications, as I understand, have broken down. But there is a very limited communications channel. We are trying to use satellite communications, but it is very difficult. But, still, we are trying to communicate with them.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, can you say how many people in the headquarters staff there in building, in the Hotel Christopher up on the hill, are accounted for, unaccounted for? And also, there is a report that Mr. Annabi is dead; can you comment?

SG: First of all, I do not, and we do not, have any exact information. What we can assume is that the total at the time that the earthquake struck the MINUSTAH headquarter, there were around 100 or 150 people still working. They were having important meetings. We are still not aware of having any information. The Brazilian peacekeeping forces have been working all the night through to rescue, but because of the darkness, and the impact on the infrastructure, not much progress has been made. With the dawn of daytime, I am sure we will have better rescue operations.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, are you going to meet with the Clinton Foundation, or are you sending, using your Special Envoy, Bill Clinton? Is there any news also about Michéle Montas?

SG: Yes, I have spoken with Special Envoy, President Bill Clinton, yesterday, and this morning, I am going to discuss with him again. We have agreed that both the United Nations and himself as Special Envoy for--

Q: Michéle Montas, do you have any news about her?

SG: I will try to contact her.

Q: What about your Special Representative - Bill's question? What's the latest about him and any other casualties for the United Nations, sir?

SG: Mr. Annabi was having a consultation with a visiting Chinese delegation. Unfortunately, as of now, we are not able to have any confirmation about the safety of Mr. Annabi. We will do our best efforts. Again, the Deputy Special Representative is also unaccounted for, together with many of our staff. That is why I have decided to dispatch Mr. Edmond Mulet, who used to be a Special Representative, to manage this operation...

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, how soon do you plan on going to see the scene yourself?

SG: Myself? I am willing to visit

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you said that several badly injured UN staffers had been pulled from the wreckage. Were there any bodies pulled from the wreckage, also? And it seems pretty clear from what you said that there are going to be some serious UN casualties. Also, could you comment on the need for heavy equipment to lift some of the rubble, because this apparently is one of the problems, not just for the UN but in--

SG: For that question, I will ask one of my senior advisors to answer. For your second question, I have been in urgent contact with the US Government and I have requested officially [for them] to provide more logistical support and heavy equipment, and trained rescue and assistance teams. And our Force Commander is in contact with the American military commander, and I will continue to coordinate with the US Government. Now, I am very much grateful to the US Government and many other governments who have expressed their willingness to dispatch urgent and immediate assistance teams. I will continue to coordinate with them.

If you excuse me, I have another important meeting, so I will have some of our senior advisers to answer further questions. Thank you very much.

10:52 a.m.: VIDEO: Report from Global Orphan Project

"This is video sent on the day of the earthquake. The Global Orphan Project supports over 2200 kids in Haiti. This video was sent through the Cambry Technical Center to Shane Hackett and Frantz St. Germain."

10:43 a.m.: Obama: U.S. sending rescue teams to Haiti
President Obama pledged Wednesday morning that his administration would "respond with a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives" in Haiti in the aftermath of what he called an "especially cruel and incomprehensible tragedy."

He said first reports of the devastation "are truly heart-wrenching."

Among the top U.S. priorities, Obama said, are accounting for Americans who live in Port-au-Prince and mobilizing resources to assist rescue efforts. He said military planes have flown over the area to assess the damage and search and rescue teams from Virginia, Florida and California are due to arrive Wednesday and Thursday.

The president announced that he has designated Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, as the government's "unified disaster coordinator." Although he said many Americans are experiencing tough economic times at home, Obama urged people to check the White House Web site to learn how to help Haitians affected by the quake. "We have to be there for them in their hour of need," he said.
--Debbi Wilgoren

10:38 a.m.: More ways to help

We've been updating our list of ways to donate to relief efforts in Haiti.

10:33 a.m. Eyewitness report: Haiti's Salvation Army chief

"When the earthquake struck, I was driving down the mountain from Petionville," reported Bob Poff, director of disaster services for the Salvation Army in Haiti, who moved to Port-au-Prince with his wife in April. The charity has been in Haiti since 1950, operating schools, clinics, and many programs across the country and in the capital close to the epicenter.

"Our truck was being tossed to and fro like a toy, and when it stopped, I looked out the windows to see buildings 'pancaking' down, like I have never witnessed before," Poff wrote in an email to U.S. colleagues at the Salvation Army. "Traffic, of course, came to a stand-still, while thousands of people poured out into the streets, crying, carrying bloody bodies, looking for anyone who could help them. We piled as many bodies into the back of our truck, and took them down the hill with us, hoping to find medical attention. All of them were older, scared, bleeding, and terrified. It took about 2 hours to go less than 1 mile. Traffic was horrible, devastation was everywhere, and suffering humanity was front and center.

"When we could drive no further, we left the truck parked on the side of the street, and walked the remaining 2 miles to get back to the Army compound. What I found was very sad! All of the security walls were down. The Children's Home itself seems pretty intact, but our quarters, which is attached, are destroyed. Unlivable. The walls and ceiling are still standing -- but so badly compromised that I wouldn't even think of trying to stay there."

The clinic and church suffered major damages, several homes collapsed entirely, but no one was hurt there. The Salvation Army turned another building, with administrative offices, into the center for its emergency operations in the region. The Salvation Army's World Services Office, based in Alexandria, has committed $50,000 already and is mobilizing disaster teams and shipments of 44,000 pounds of emergency rations.

The children, and hundreds of neighbors, slept in the playground through the aftershocks that night, Poff wrote, the air echoing with the cries of frightened children. A staff member went to try to help one woman in her home, he wrote. "But it was too late."

--Susan Kinzie

10:26 a.m. 'There's so little left'

Nadia Dubuche, 46, of Silver Spring, said her family stayed up all night trying to reach relatives in Haiti. They took turns calling frantically throughout the night. Dubuche made several dozen frantic attempts while watching the coverage on TV before she had to leave for a late-night shift at her job as a nurse.

All night long she worried as she worked, she said.

"We couldn't get through. There was no contact, no electricity," she said. "My mother didn't sleep at all, she just kept trying all the different numbers over and over." This morning, Dubuche's mother finally got word from one of her mother's nephews.
"All he said was they're okay, but not everyone is confirmed," she said. "And no one knows what they lost, how bad the damage was for them, what's still left."

Dubuche said she was born and raised in the Carrefour neighborhood, one of the hardest hit in the earthquake. All morning, she has stared at the pictures being shown on TV but couldn't recognize any of the streets shown. "There's so little left, I see the name on TV, but it doesn't look like anything that was before."

Dubuche belongs to Eglise Baptiste du Calvaire in Adelphi, one of the largest Haitian churches in the D.C. suburbs, with more than 500 attendees weekly. She said her church was preparing to go to Haiti at the end of the month for one of its frequent relief trips to the country. "We had prepared food and clothes for people after a recent hurricane and after a school collapsed. We even sent the truck with the supplies already. We were just preparing to go and help distribute."

There's no word whether the truck survived the collapse, and now, in any case, the church will have to prepare an even larger truck and missions trip in response to the earthquake, Dubuche said.

--William Wan

10:20 a.m.: Obama speaks on Haiti

"The reports and images that we see...are truly heartwrenching," President Obama said in a morning statement from the White House. He promised a "swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives...to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief ...that will be needed in coming days."

10:11 a.m. Crisis in Haiti causes temporary lull in partisan warfare

Two Captial Hill Republicans have released statements pledging help for Haiti's earthquake victims and praising President Obama's response:

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor released the following statement regarding the devastating earthquake in Haiti:

"We appreciate President Obama's immediate response to this catastrophic tragedy, and stand ready to assist in any way. In this pressing time of need, I know that the good faith and generosity of our citizens will no doubt help. Our Government and the American people prepared to do all that we can provide assistance, comfort and resources to the people of Haiti and their families."

Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a similar statement:

"While the U.S. is already sending federal aid and assets, I am confident that the generosity of the American people will be what it so regularly is in these tragedies--an inspiring expression of responsibility and benevolence. I appreciate the administration's immediate response to this crisis and that of our partners around the world."

10:00 a.m.: World Vision: Port-au-Prince view is bleak

A staff member for World Vision, one of the largest U.S. aid agencies in Haiti, told employees at the Seattle headquarters that the city is not entirely collapsed, as she had heard some say, but that the sweeping view from their office in the hills over the city of Port-au-Prince was grim. She could see many large multi-story buildings toppled and debris blocking roads, said Rachel Wolff, director of international news World Vision, who relayed the conversation from this morning.

They were told many people were afraid to sleep in their homes during the aftershocks, and spent the night in the streets.

Their 370 staff members who live and work in the country are all safe, Wolff said, and are working to figure out ways to move supplies into the capital with damaged communications, roads closed and other problems. They had positioned hurricane-season emergency supplies outside the capital, which typically is sheltered from the worst of the storms. "Ironically we're now having to move those in as soon as we're able to the areas that are hardest hit."

They do have a box with hygiene kits, water-purifying tablets, collapsible water containers and other emergency supplies that can help 1,500 families in Port-au-Prince.

They're expecting that transporting blankets, bottled water, soap, and other supplies over the roads is going to be the greatest challenge in the coming days; even in the best of times, Haitian roads can be difficult to travel.

More aid workers from the U.S. and Canada are flying in now to help, Wolff said, and a warehouse in Denver is preparing for a likely airlift of supplies today.

--Lynda Robinson

9:49 a.m.: UN headquarters in Haiti collapsed in quake

The United Nations peacekeeping headquarters in Haiti has collapsed, killing everyone inside, according to France's foreign minister. The head of the country's mission is among the dead.

9:46 a.m.: Haiti's American embassy reacts to earthquake

At the Haitian embassy on Massachusetts avenue Wednesday morning, ambassador Raymond A. Joseph said he managed to place a phone call Tuesday night to Fritz Longchamp, the secretary general to Haitian President Rene Preval.

"He is the first one I was able to get in touch with," Joseph said. "He was leaving ... work. He was driving from Port au Prince, the capital, to Petionville -- that's a suburb east of the capital, in the hills.

"And he said, 'the buildings started to collapse around me, right and left,'" Joseph said. "He says he had to stop and park his car and (walk) on foot to go home."

"That was about 5:18 last night," he said. He reached Longchamp on his cell phone, and said Longchamp told him it was "a miracle" that they got a connection.

Also, Joseph said the embassy spoke to the first lady of Haiti, Elizabeth Debrosse Preval.

"She said that she was well, and the president was well," Joseph said, "and that most government employees were fine, were okay, because they had been out of the government buildings. See, (the earthquake) was after work."

Joseph said communication with Haiti still is very limited, and information is sketchy. "We are in the assessment stage," he said.

"God has given; God has taken away," he said. "Let's work with the living."

-- Michael E. Ruane

9:33 a.m.: Send us your photos, questions for aid workers

Photos are starting to come in from washingtonpost.com users. If you're in Haiti, you can submit photos and see those from other users here.

Also, submit questions now for Bill Canny, Catholic Relief Services' director of emergency operations, who is live chatting now.

9:21 a.m.: Obama to speak at 10 a.m.

President Obama will make a statement about the earthquake in Haiti at 10 a.m., according to a White House press release.

9:03 a.m.: U.S. husband saves wife trapped in Haiti earthquake rubble

A man drove 100 miles to Port-au-Prince and dug through the rubble for over an hour to find his wife, an American aid worker, and her co-worker.

Frank Thorp told CBS's "The Early Show" by phone from Haiti on Wednesday that once he learned of the quake, he rushed to Haiti's capital city and eventually saved his wife Jill and her colleague Charles Dietsch, who were trapped for about 10 hours under the rubble of their mission house. The two were buried under about a foot of concrete, he said.

"We had to pull bricks and bricks and bricks and wood and doors and metal away for at least an hour before we were able to get her and her co-worker out," he said.

Read more >>

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Posted at 10:01 PM ET, 01/12/2010

Haiti earthquake: How to help

American Red Cross is taking contributions and has responders in Port-au-Prince providing water and first aid as well as finding lost loved ones and transporting the injured to health facilities. You can donate online or by texting the word "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 on behalf of the American Red Cross.

Oxfam has an emergency team in the capital, Port-au-Prince, responding with public health, water, and sanitation services. You can donate online through its Haiti Earthquake Response Fund or by calling 1-800-77-OXFAM.

Partners In Health is taking contributions for relief efforts in Haiti, including medical supplies. The organization has had a presence in Haiti for more than 20 years, working to address the health care needs of the country's poor.

You can donate to The Salvation Army's efforts in Haiti by calling 800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769) or visiting their Web site and designating that your donation is for the Haiti earthquake.

The U.N. World Food Program is accepting donations. Head of the WFP Josette Sheeran said the agency is deploying its resources in Haiti, including 86 metric tons of food. You can donate here.

Save the Children is responding with food, water and shelter, as well as establishing Child Friendly Spaces that give children a place to play and recover. Make donations online or by phone 1-800-728-3843.

National Nurses United has issued a call for nurse volunteers to provide assistance to those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

To donate to specific relief efforts in Haiti:
United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)
Mercy Corps
International Red Cross
World Vision
Catholic Relief Services
UNICEF
AmeriCares
International Medical Corps
Network for Good
CARE
Operation USA
Pan American Development Foundation
Operation Blessing International
Convoy of Hope
The Global Syndicate
GlobalGiving
Beyond Borders
Community Coalition for Haiti
International Orthodox Christian Charities
Baptist World Aid
Doctors Without Borders
Habitat for Humanity
Action Against Hunger
Direct Relief International
B'nai B'rith International
Bright Hope
Hope for Haiti
American Jewish World Service
World Relief
TractorShare
American Friends Service Committee
Food for the Poor
CHF International
The Lambi Fund of Haiti
Islamic Relief USA
United Way Worldwide
International Organization for Migration
Food for the Hungry
Relief International
Episcopal Relief and Development
ShelterBox USA
Catholic Medical Mission Board
HANDICAP International
American Refugee Committee

The State Department has set up a hotline for Americans to inquire after family in Haiti: 888-407-4747.

There are several ways to donate via mobile device:

• Text the word "Haiti" to 85944 to donate $5 on behalf of the Rescue Union Mission and MedCorp International.

• Text the word "Haiti" to 25383 to donate $5 on behalf of the Internal Rescue Committee.

• Text the word "Haiti" to 864833 to donate $5 to United Way Worldwide's disaster fund.

• Text the word "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 on behalf of the American Red Cross.

• Text the word "HAITI" to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of the Clinton Foundation.

• Text the word "SAVE" to 20222 (in the U.S. only) to donate $10 on behalf of Save the Children.

• Text the word "Haiti" to 45678 (in Canada only) to donate on behalf of the Salvation Army in Canada.

You can also find updated information and general ways to help during disasters at ReliefWeb, USAID and InterAction.

The FBI also warns donors to be alert to the potential for scams involving the earthquake. After a tsunami devastated Southeast Asia in 2004, many people lost money by donating to relief organizations that turned out to be fraudulent. The FBI offers several tips here.

The FBI has also established a toll free Haiti fraud line. Concerned individuals with allegations of fraud may call (866) 720-5721, fax (225) 334-4707 or e-mail disaster@leo.gov. The phone number and e-mail are overseen by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and National Center for Disaster Fraud.

Charity Navigator also has tips for funding relief efforts and choosing charities.

Please read the comments below for other organizations who are responding to the crisis:

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Posted at 7:43 PM ET, 01/12/2010

Haiti earthquake: Twitter feeds from Port-au-Prince, elsewhere

Foreign governments and international aid organizations are mobilizing to send assistance to Haiti, after the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the impoverished island nation devastated much of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

U.N. officials in New York said the number of dead could easily reach into the thousands, with unknown numbers of people believed trapped in collapsed buildings.

Here are the latest posts on the Haiti earthquake, including news reports from Port-au-Prince, descriptions of relief efforts, requests for help, and links to photos from Twitter users:

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