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Haiti Hit by Devastating Earthquake

Aired January 13, 2010 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The earth didn't show Haiti any mercy. It's up to the global community to do that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need more people down here. We need more people down here.


WHITFIELD: We're pushing forward on the rush to save Haiti in its desperate hour. New pictures and stories are pouring in to CNN, as this story evolves.

From the wide scale of destruction and loss of life to the rescue missions, the world's response and Americans wondering if their loved ones on that island are OK. All parts of one tragic and desperate story. We'll have all of this for you over the next couple of hours, and show you how you can help.

In fact, Haiti's prime minister tells CNN hundreds of thousands of people have died after that 7.0 magnitude quake, and it didn't discriminate: rich and poor, leaders and followers, old and young, shacks and government buildings, including the presidential palace, destroyed or damaged. Bodies piling up. Power and water, out. Potential rescuers in need of rescue themselves. More than 100 U.N. workers stationed in the country are actually unaccounted for. And about 15 peacekeepers were killed, we understand.

Doctors Without Borders reports that many of its staff, of the 800, are unaccounted for, and none of its facilities are actually operable.

And there are reports that Haiti's main prison was destroyed, and hundreds of inmates escaped.

One thing the quake apparently spared? The airport. So at least relief efforts can happen fairly quickly.

President Obama says he has promised a full-scale effort from the U.S. to help. Coast Guard ships, cutters, and a Navy carrier are headed that way.

So, right now, let's take a look at some of the video that we have been receiving from the U.N. peacekeeper compound. It is of the search and the rescue efforts, as you see right there, under way. Let's take a listen in.





WHITFIELD: So, life was already hard enough in Haiti. You can just imagine now what it's like. CNN reporters are there. And we'll start now with Anderson Cooper, who just moments ago landed on the ground.

You've gone through the airport. You had that first look at what's taking place there, Anderson. Now I understand you're in the downtown area of Port-au-Prince. What are you seeing?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (via phone): Yes. The situation I can tell you in Port-au-Prince is stunningly bad. I'm actually right outside what remains of the national cathedral. It's hard to tell, frankly, it was a national cathedral; so much of it is just completely destroyed.

We're about a block away from the presidential palace, which as pretty much everyone knows by now has been severely damaged.

But I've got to tell you, the human drama which is occurring here on every single street is extraordinary. No matter what street you go down in this area, there is someone trying to be rescued. There are flattened buildings with small groups of neighbors and family literally digging through the rubble, digging through concrete with their hands, with their fingers. Occasionally, you see a shovel or pick ax or a chisel.

It is slow, laborious work, and it is often unsuccessful work. Many times the voices which were crying out hours ago are now silenced.

But I've just seen a remarkable rescue of a young girl named Bea (ph). She was 13 years old. This happened just about a block from the national palace. She was in a building trapped since last night. They discovered her this morning. They've been trying to dig for her for several hours. I just happened upon the scene about 30 minutes ago. You could see two of her feet. You could hear her crying out, and there was a lot of arguing about how to try to get her out. They were literally digging with her hands.

And just an extraordinary moment a few moments ago, she pulled her out. She's alive; she's well. Four members of her family are dead. They are piled up right outside the destroyed building that she was rescued from.

But it's one small victory on a street which has seen so much misery. There are bodies -- I don't want to say on every block, but it's every few blocks, you see a white shroud on the street corner or in the gutter. And you know it's a body, or three bodies or four bodies. Sometimes they're not even covered in shrouds. They're just laid out like that.

I just saw what must have been probably a 5-year-old, 6-year-old girl, whose body was covered by a part of a cardboard box. It is -- it is a somber sight here.

And people are just kind of milling around. They don't have anywhere to go. Their homes were destroyed. Some of them have just been sleeping out in the streets or in open fields under tents.

I talked to one man who said he's just walking around. He doesn't know what else to do. He doesn't have water. He's not sure where to go or what happens now. He wanted his three kids in America to know that he was alive, and that's why he was talking to me.

I mean, the only thing to compare this to is Hurricane Katrina, you know, but I can tell you, in the last 30 minutes -- or the last hour that I've been driving, I've seen probably 20 to 25 bodies on the streets. And that's just on the main avenues in downtown Port-au- Prince.

WHITFIELD: And so, Anderson, when you arrived a few hours ago at the airport, was there sign of any kind of rescue or recovery effort under way there? People who have arrived from other parts of the world to try to help out, to bring in some of this machinery, bring in some of these resources that are describing is a -- is in great lacking there?

COOPER: Well, I mean, I can tell you, in the downtown streets of Port-au-Prince, I have seen no heavy earthmoving equipment whatsoever. I've seen a few Haitian police vehicles driving by scenes of people trying to pull other people out of the wreckage and not stopping. Maybe they had somewhere else to go, you know, that was more urgent. I don't know.

But I haven't seen any concerted, organized relief effort. You know, what I've seen is neighbors pulling together for neighbors, family members desperately trying to -- to do what they can to save their -- their loved ones.

But you find a lot of people just standing outside of destroyed buildings, and you go up and you start talking to them. And they'll say my wife is inside. And you say, "Is she alive?" And they just shake their head, no, she's dead. And yet they have nowhere else to go, they're just standing there. And there's no sign -- you know, there's no chance the person is going to be removed from the building anytime soon.

At the airport, I mean, yes, there are small groups of people coming in. I talked to four members of the International Red Cross who were flying in at the same time that we were flying in. But in terms of large-scale, C-130s and the like, I personally haven't seen it yet.

WHITFIELD: And so even though the Red Cross folks that you ran into, they have just themselves. They don't have any kind of equipment, et cetera. When you talk to a number of people there that are looking at the rubble, trying to reach loved ones, or have simply given up because their loved ones are crushed, are people saying anything about what their greatest need is, whether they have any hope that anyone will be able to get there within sometime to help those people who just might be alive still underneath the rubble?

Or do they feel rather forgotten or do they feel this is a perilous situation?

COOPER: You know, this is a city of two million people, and right now there's a city of two million different needs. Everybody has something different, but you know, certainly water is going to be a major issue. You know, there's no electricity. That's going to become an issue over time. But I mean, at this point it's water. It's going to be shelter, and it's going to be medicine for the sick and recovery of those who have died.

And literally, as we're speaking, a man is -- this is incredible. A man is pushing a wheelbarrow, and in the wheelbarrow is what looks like a teenager, wrapped in a shroud, that he's taking her, I think, to the hospital, because that's what's later on down this street. That's where I'm headed next.

But, I mean, I've seen people walking with coffins over their heads. I've seen a man walking with an old lady in a wheelbarrow, as well. There's not a sense of -- of, you know, of what's happening next. People are literally just trying to get through today. I don't even know that people can think about what happens tomorrow.

WHITFIELD: And when you talk about on your way to the hospital, tell me about the concern about how sturdy, how safe that hospital is, if indeed, it is still standing. Since we mentioned, a lot of Doctors Without Borders' facilities, clinics, they are inoperable. They simply are not safe for anyone to go to. What do you know about the hospital that you're on the way to?

COOPER: You know, I've heard stories, but I honestly don't want to just pass along stories. I only want to tell you what I have seen and tell you firsthand. I don't know what the situation of the hospital is. That's why I want to head there next.

But I mean, literally, you know, you plan to head to a place, but you stop every block, because I mean, there's people in need, and they're calling out. And you know, they see you in a vehicle and wonder if there's something you can do. And it's so frustrating. You know, you're only there with a camera. And you try to do what you can and -- but it's hard to describe; I got to tell you. You know, words sort of fail.

WHITFIELD: And, Anderson, you know, it's obviously so quiet where you are. Oftentimes in emergency situations like this, you would think that you would hear voices, people yelling. You would think that...

COOPER: I'm sorry to interrupt. Literally right now as we speak, there's a -- there are two men carrying a small child in what looks like an office chair. The child is completely wrapped up. I think the child is still alive. It's -- I mean, this is -- it's -- it's -- it's really bad.

WHITFIELD: It sounds really bad. And when people are trying their hardest to get to these loved ones, get to this young child that you described, once they get the child or person out of danger, are you witnessing whether anyone is trying any kind of CPR? What kind of, like, lifesaving or life-preserving kind of measures can people do right now when they have absolutely no resources? What are you witnessing?

COOPER: You know, people are doing what they can. I mean, they rescued this little girl, Bea (ph), just a short time ago and they pulled her out. And they sat her down on the street. She hadn't broken (UNINTELLIGIBLE) literally -- she was walking, talking, but she was overcome by relief (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at the same time.

She had obviously just been through a horrific trauma and, you know, to be put on the scene on a corner and right behind her was her aunt and the bodies of her (UNINTELLIGIBLE) family members, so it (AUDIO GAP)...

WHITFIELD: OK. It doesn't -- it sounds like we're losing our audio there, but we got great descriptions there from Anderson Cooper there on the ground. He's only been there just over an hour or so in Port-au-Prince. He's in the downtown area. You heard him describing how people are using their bare hands to try to get to loved ones. Anyone who appears to be a survivor under all the rubble.

But, sadly, as Anderson was describing there, even he, too, is witnessing an awful lot of death: people whose bodies are just strewn about the streets. In some cases you have a child, the body is covered with cardboard. And others, they have been very resourceful as they can: take off a shirt, put a shroud over a body, to show some sort of respect.

But the problem is there are no resources. There are no big, heavy machinery to move some of this rubble. There are no sirens that you can hear in the background of Anderson's live shot there. There are no rescue efforts that are under way in a big way. Instead, people are just trying to their best to muster up any kind of strength they can to try to get to anyone who may have survived all this.

We'll continue to touch bases with Anderson Cooper and our other correspondents who are there on the ground, at the horrible, devastating situation. As you see some of the latest imagery coming in there from Port-au-Prince.

So, just last hour, our Tony Harris, he got an update from Haiti's prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive. He talked about some big problems and some small positives the day after the quake.


JEAN-MAX BELLERIVE, HAITI PRIME MINISTER (via phone): The good news is that until now, the city is pretty calm what is happening in Haiti. The population is taking it very -- with much maturity. People are trying to take care of themselves in some quiet places. People are trying to help each other on the streets.

And so it's -- it's the time much more real than I thought. What happened in Haiti right now, the same people that are supposed to help the victim are also victims, policemen, doctors, and lose their homes and lose their cars. They lose their families. So, it's very difficult to organize the help.


WHITFIELD: Difficult to understand, but I hope you were able to make out there from the prime minister of Haiti, Bellerive. He's saying one of the biggest problems is that people who are supposed to help out in emergency situations like that, well, they, too, are victims, and that's why this concerted effort is worldwide now, to try and get as many rescue efforts, teams, there to Haiti as best they can.

After this short break we're actually going to talk to someone who is part of a Virginia group who is trying its very hardest to try to get in to Haiti to bring some sort of equipment, dogs as well, to try to help out people as best they can.

Much more of this comprehensive coverage of this devastating earthquake in Haiti right after this.


WHITFIELD: U.S. search-and-rescue teams are already headed for Haiti, including Virginia Task Force One, which has extensive experience in this kind of grueling work.

Joining us right now from Fairfax, Virginia, is the group's battalion chief, Michael Schaff.

All right, Michael, give me an idea of how many of your team members are on the way, when they expect to be on the ground there in Port-au-Prince.

MICHAEL SCHAFF, VIRGINIA TASK FORCE ONE (via phone): We deployed this morning what's called a heavy team, which is a full team, capable of heavy search and rescue, comprised of 71 of our personnel, accompanied with some of the USAID group, as well. They're actually in the air as we speak. We're hoping to have them on the ground in Port-au-Prince in the next couple of hours, at which time as soon as they hit the ground, the advanced team will go out and start re- conning for base of operations to set up and work from for the next couple of days.

WHITFIELD: What kind of equipment do they have with them, or even resources? We heard from our Anderson Cooper on the ground there. Really, there's a huge need for anything and everything. He has not seen people with water, and certainly people have been sleeping in the streets overnight. There's no place for them to stay. And the structures that do exist, that are upright, are very vulnerable, and people are very afraid.

What can your team do and bring?

SCHAFF: Our team actually will be self-sustaining for the team themselves. They'll live in tents, set up a little tent city for themselves to operate out of, breaking into crews and working around the clock. They are self-sustained. They have their own food and water. They'll assist with any humanitarian aid that comes in that we're requested to assist with.

But our main objective is search and rescue, to save lives.

WHITFIELD: And for the search and rescue...

SCHAFF: The team will actually be there with heavy rescue equipment to be able to de-layer these buildings as the dogs and some of the other devices that help locate the victims will be found, they will be delayer these buildings and extricate the victims.

WHITFIELD: Let me ask you about the dogs and the search-and- rescue effort. You have six dogs or so that you're taking in with you. In what way will they be able to help in a situation like this?

I know you're familiar with this kind of territory. You were in Haiti during the 2008 classroom -- or school collapse. But how will your dogs be able to do what people can't?

SCHAFF: Correct. The dogs will be able -- we have six dogs on the team that are deployed with us right now. They'll be run through the buildings or over the top of the structures, looking and listening for any of the victims.

Once the dogs make a hit on something, then the extrication team will start boring holes into the building where they can put listening devices and sounding devices in. Once they confirm that they do have a live hit, then they can start de-layering the building with the extrication experts that we have with us.

WHITFIELD: Michael Schaff with the Virginia Task Force One, thanks so much for joining us from Fairfax. All the best to your team there, en route to Port-au-Prince and soon to be on the ground. Appreciate that.

So of course, we are receiving new pictures and eyewitness accounts coming in from the earthquake zone just about every minute. And CNN has set up a Haiti desk to monitor all of this. Let's get you now to our Rosemary Church.

Rosemary, what are you learning? What are you seeing?


Yes, you know, I want to show everybody out there some pictures that are coming in from our CNN affiliates.

Let's just bring them up so we've got those. And this is from the Dominican Republic affiliate Notisius (ph) SIN Antenna Latina, in the capital in Port-au-Prince.

And you can see there the extent of the damage here. People being taken out in stretchers there. The collapsed buildings, as we've learned today, and many of us already knew, those concrete structures, they were very flimsy, and they were not reinforced. They have simply tumbled down on top of people.

You see here in this vision, cars just crushed, and people crushed, too. And these efforts, the rescue efforts underway to try and get these people out from underneath the rubble. Some people even digging in by hand to try and get those people stuck there.

I want to go now to UNTV video at this stage. This is coming in showing the rescue effort, if we can just bring that up. There it is.

Now, we know the head of that U.N. mission and his deputy both unaccounted for. About 9,000 peacekeepers unaccounted for. So, this is a devastating event for the United Nations as well as those people in Haiti. This reaches far and wide, as the rescue efforts are under way to try and get these people out.

And, of course, around this area that we're looking at, near the U.N. Mission, we've got these heavy, concrete buildings here, again, that have just fallen down on top of people.

Want to get an idea of the population density. Let's bring up this Google Earth map. You can sort of get an idea. Just come with me here and just have a look.

This column represents the greatest density of population. Here it is, Port-au-Prince. And this, the epicenter of this earthquake. So you can just get an idea of just how bad this is, and the people affected right there at the center. You've got the highest density.

So -- and then, of course, the smaller columns, you get an idea of the spread of the population. But Fred, this -- this is the beginning now. We've heard from the prime minister, saying the death toll could get up to 100,000. That just gives you an idea of how bad this is, the aftermath of this 7.0 quake.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's an extraordinary number. When you talk about people who are unaccounted for, in the thousands, in great part because communications completely down. It's difficult in which to reach out to anybody to find out exactly where they are.

So, of course, we're hoping for and wishing for the best for all those who are trying to reach people they know, work with, et cetera, there in Haiti.

Thanks so much, Rosemary. We'll check back with you momentarily.

So meantime, people in Haiti, desperate. And their loved ones in America, as I was mentioning, they're desperate to hear from them, too. Our breaking news coverage continues on their efforts to try to reach them.


WHITFIELD: All right. From New York and, of course, to one of the largest Haitian communities in this country. I'm talking about Miami. Little Haiti there. A number of people are trying desperately to find out about their loved ones in Haiti as a result of this 7.0 magnitude quake yesterday.

Our John Zarrella is there in Miami. He's been reaching out to a number of people.

There are a lot of resources in place, in Miami, in Little Haiti, to make sure that the Haitian community stays connected with their loved ones there. But at a time like this, this is very difficult, and that's the understatement of the day, isn't it?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fredricka, not just difficult; nearly impossible. We are here in Little Haiti. Six hundred thousand Haitian-Americans in Florida, the largest community being, of course, Miami.

They just completed a meeting where many of the leaders in this community are putting together a task force to try and figure out what they can do, how they can help. Is it money? Is it food? Is it supplies? And where to start. Donations and how to organize donations to come in.

And I am joined by Irvin Daphnis.

And you were in that meeting, Irvin. You're president of the -- or vice president of the bar association, Haitian-American Bar Association here. And the communications, just terrible, right? Trying to find family and relatives?

IRVIN DAPHNIS, PRESIDENT, HAITIAN-AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION: Absolutely. It's horrendous, because people are not able to communicate with their relatives in Haiti right now.

I have an uncle over there, and we're not even sure where he is, and cousins. There's no communications. But what we're asking the community to do is to basically be prepared to give and do all that you can do in order to help Haiti out right now.

ZARRELLA: And the difficulty, Irvin, real quickly, is that you don't -- it's hard to say exactly what to do, because you don't know -- we know the need is so tremendous, but where your help can be most effective?

DAPHNIS: Absolutely, John. I believe that, based upon the meeting that we had, monetary -- obviously, monetary gifts are definitely going to be need. Other than that, nonperishable foods, water. Those things, the basic needs, most basic needs, I think are going to be the things that we need the most.

ZARRELLA: Irvin, thanks so much for taking the time.

DAPHNIS: Thank you, John. ZARRELLA: And good luck finding your relatives.

DAPHNIS: Thanks so much.

ZARRELLA: You know, everyone in that meeting, Fredricka, that we talked to, was saying that they had daughters and sons and fathers and aunts and uncles who they have not been able to reach yet.

At the same time, they are all out here giving their time, doing what they can, to at least try to put together some sort of a relief effort here.

Many of the communications that they are getting out from Haiti are actually coming from social networking, from Twitter and Facebook. That's how they're getting what little information they're getting -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Boy, that is really amazing. We're going to talk some more about that, too, some other folks who are using social networking in which to reach their loved ones, as well. That's coming up a bit later.

John Zarrella, thanks so much from Little Haiti in Miami.

So tens of thousands of Americans do have ties to Haiti. And the U.S. State Department has set up a hotline for people trying to get information about their family members. Here's the number: 1-888-407- 4747. You might hear a recording when you call, since so many people are clearly dialing in at the same time. The U.S. State Department says everybody should keep trying until you get through.

Rescuers are racing against the clock, and a lack of equipment in Haiti is a big problem. Many are digging victims out of the rubble simply with their bare hands. We'll look at the health challenges that this now poses in an already sickly nation.


WHITFIELD: So, getting help to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti is a daunting task. First responders are facing special challenges. CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins us now from the earthquake medical desk.

So what are we hearing from these relief agencies right now?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're hearing from these relief agencies is that there is chaos and that it is very difficult to give the kind of care that they want to give.

For example, the group Doctors Without Borders told us today that when they tried to go -- that three of their facilities that they already have there are gone, that those collapsed. And obviously, very difficult to give care under those situations.

In fact, they said they've been inundated with people who need help, people who are injured, people who are desperate, and that all that they can provide right now is first aid.

Now, many of you can see here, the people who are injured are -- that woman is in a wheelbarrow. We've seen people lying on the streets. That there really aren't a whole lot of places to turn right now, in order to get help.

Now, the International Red Cross says that they will be getting in there this evening. They're -- what they want to do is set up a rapid deployment hospital. That would have about 20 beds, as you might guess.


COHEN: Twenty beds is really a fraction, a small fraction, of what they need.

WHITFIELD: So, you mentioned first aid is the first thing that many of them can actually do. Hospitals that are in place, how do we know the disposition of them?

How are they doing?

COHEN: Not so well at least what we've heard. We know at least one major hospital has been severely damaged and there may be more that are severely damaged. So, not only are the relief workers who are going in there having trouble with facilities, but the hospitals that have been there for a long time are having great difficulties.

WHITFIELD: This is sad.

We know our Anderson Cooper is actually on the way to the nearest hospital to where he is downtown Port-au-Prince. He said he's heard a lot of things, but he's not willing to report on what people are saying until he sees for himself. So that will be another, I guess, first point of view on the hospitals there.

Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much. We appreciate it.

COHEN: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: We'll continue to check back with you as these rescue efforts continue on get under way.

We'll have much more of our continuing coverage of the earthquake in Haiti.


WHITFIELD: Death and destruction only begin to describe what's going on in Haiti right now. The Prime Minister says hundreds of thousands of people should be dead from a massive earthquake that has virtually leveled the capital.

It's too early and the situation is too fluid to have any hard numbers, but power and water and communication are simply out in Port- au-Prince. And potential rescuers are missing, from U.N. peacekeepers to members of Doctors Without Borders.

Anderson Cooper told us earlier that he saw people trying to dig through the rubble with their bare hands trying to rescue people trapped underneath all the rubble. And other nations have pledged to help Haiti in its desperate hour, including the United States. U.S. Coast Guard and Navy vessels will head to that region along with search-and-rescue teams and relief supplies. And we know it can't come soon enough.

WHITFIELD: A U.N. mission spokesperson -- Vincenzo Pugliesi -- is actually on the phone with me right now. He's joining us from Port-au-Prince.

You had been there along with your U.N. teams a long time prior to this earthquake. But give me an idea how difficult it has been for you to find your U.N. workers and the thousands of peacekeepers with the U.N., who are apparently unaccounted for.


VINCENZO PUGLIESI, U.N. HAITI MISSION SPOKESMAN: Yes. The first thing that I need to clarify is that the epicenter of the earthquake was in Port-au-Prince, which means that the rest of the country, fortunately, didn't suffer much.

Us that were in Port-au-Prince were the ones that, you know, suffered the consequences of it, and the casualties of our colleagues, and the rest of the population. And the situation is pretty severe out there. Electricity supplies have been interrupted. Water is also short in supply. Some major transportation routes have been disrupted by, you know, rocks, boulders, fallen trees and all that, which makes, you know, communication -- transportation and communication also, telephone and internet, very difficult throughout the city.

In terms of casualties, I heard you said that the Prime Minister had -- what is it you said? That the Prime Minister had said about 100,000 casualties?

WHITFIELD: That he thought thousands, there may be hundreds of thousands of casualties.

P: Yes.

WHITFIELD: But it's difficult because there's no hard numbers because communication and getting around as you underscore is difficult.

P: Exactly. Exactly. It's difficult for us to do an assessment.

We're still doing an assessment for our own people and then we'll start, of course, to account for, not only our people, MINUSTAH staff, but the NGOs, the other agencies, the United Nations (INAUDIBLE) program, and we'll soon get to, you know, what the casualties were overall in the whole city.

What I could say -- WHITFIELD: Well, Vincenzo, if I could ask you, how do you do that simultaneously? I realize you're looking for your own people, and at the same time you can't help but come across people who are in great need.

How in the world are you able to address these two huge issues?

P: Yes. We have already requested to New York to support us in bringing personnel from the Office of the Coordination with Humanitarian Affairs, right? Who, you know, are experts in handling catastrophes of this type.

So, bringing personnel from abroad will help us do this work in the field. You know, we still have -- because we have -- MINUSTAH has in the capital two main bases. One is the Christopher Hotel, which collapsed. But there's another logistics base where call, where we gather all together very close to the airport, where the personnel working there didn't suffer anything basically.

So, it's a work that can be done, but it, of course, will take time and it needs to be coordinated so it's done in an efficient manner. We're waiting for a team of research and rescue efforts from China to arrive today, to lead the rescue operations at the collapsed MINUSTAH headquarters. And also other search-and-rescue teams are reported to be arriving from Guadalupe, and the Dominican Republic, and the United States, as a matter of fact.

Those coming from the Dominican Republic come on behalf of the U.N. Country Team based in the Dominican Republic, and they are bringing aid -- they have confirmed aid -- mobile emergency hospitals and medical kits who are right now as we speak at the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

WHITFIELD: Vincenzo Pugliesi, thank you so much. I'm sorry we're going to about to lose our window here. You're the spokesperson for the U.N. mission in Haiti.

Thanks so much. And, of course, we'll continue to keep tabs with you. All the best in your continued effort.

As you await, as you mentioned, aid that's coming in from all over -- the U.S., the Dominican Republic, Guadalupe, China, also later on this afternoon, and we already just talked with a group coming out of Fairfax, Virginia. They are expected to arrive later on this evening.

We'll have much more on our continuing coverage of this earthquake and the continued rescue efforts under way.


WHITFIELD: Nothing's normal right now in Haiti. It is a virtual mess. Rescue efforts are trying to get under way, but that is slow in going.

Our Josh Levs has been keeping tabs on all that's taking place and not taking place. You've got thousands of people who are in trouble, and you've got a lot of folks who want to get in there and help, but there's a big problem -- transportation, communication, all of that.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and part of what's interesting is that the technology of people sending in information to the social media is still up and running.

We're getting a lot of iReports from Haiti. And you're seeing the other social media -- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are still getting a lot of information.

Let's zoom right in here. I want you to see one of the latest that we're getting here. This is coming to us from a man who has been sending us actually a lot of photos to iReport -- Carle Pedro (ph). And you can see from (INAUDIBLE) just some of the pictures that he's been sending in. And you can see the devastation.

Take a look through here. Every time we get some more pictures we start to realize there's yet another area that we have not seen yet that is devastated and obviously we're talking about millions of people. Everywhere you look, we are seeing more and more.

We're also keeping an eye on the latest photos here from the Associated Press. This is just one example of something that's just popped up. Rescue efforts under way, people trying to rescue each other, trying to climb into places. That pretty much means mounting huge piles of rubble, Fred, in order to get anywhere at all. So, that's part of what's going on here on social media.

But there's also something else huge that's going on that I want to show you now and that's this. A lot of people are terrified for their family that's in Haiti. They've been unable to reach them and they've been unable to find them. So we at CNN have a project going on, there's also one on Facebook that is designed to help you find those people you might be terrified about.

Right now let's zoom into the board. I have about 100 screens open here. I want to jump over to this one. Take a look over here. This says Looking for Loved Ones in Haiti. This is an assignment we've set up on iReport and people are sending in their photos of their loved ones whom they have not been able to reach, who they know are in Haiti. They're saying, please, someone, anyone, tell me if you have any information about this person and they're sending in specifics and we're inviting you to do it at

We know that people inside Haiti are seeing iReports, because they're sending us iReports. So we're hoping if they have any information, they'll send them to us.

And before I go since this is so important, I want to mention also Facebook is doing the same thing, Fred. There's a group here that went up here this morning and already more than 20,000 members. People have been joining it like crazy. And what you see is something very similar. People sending in a lot of photos of people that they're worried about, saying, if you know anything, please tell me that my relatives are OK.

So we're keeping an eye on all of that., as well as Facebook, Fred, and I'll be back next hour with even more on that.

WHITFIELD: Oh, good. We'll look forward to that.

LEVS: You, bet.

WHITFIELD: And of course, we wish so many people well in their concerted efforts to try to reach out to their loved ones there in Haiti, and vice versa. Also people there who are trying to get the world out to their friends and family here in the States to let them know that they're OK.

LEVS: That's right.

WHITFIELD: We'll continue to keep tabs on that.

Thanks so much, Josh.

LEVS: You got it, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And of course, we'll continue our coverage of the earthquake in Haiti right after this.


WHITFIELD: Port-au-Prince, the city of 2 million, simply devastated by that earthquake yesterday. So many people here stateside trying to reach out to people they know, they love, there in Port-au-Prince or anywhere in Haiti, but it's difficult.

Let's talk with Jean-Pierre. He is a monsignor and pastor at St. James Catholic church in North Miami. And he's consoling people and he's needing some consoling, too, because he's got friends and family members that he's worried about.

Monsignor, can you give me an idea how difficult it's been for you to reach out to your loved ones, and if you're getting any success?

JEAN PIERRE, MONSIGNOR, ST. JAMES CATHOLIC CHURCH: Well, it's been very, very difficult. I spent all night trying to get a call through. But it was (INAUDIBLE) difficult because it's two brothers and about 15 nephews. And a lot of relatives are living on the island. And some of them live close to the epicenter, like around Carrefour. And it's been very, very difficult for me. And also I lost a very personal friend, the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Archbishop Serge Miot. And when I heard that he was killed in the earthquake, it's been very, very, very difficult for me.

WHITFIELD: And is that difficulty of trying to communicate and, of course, grieving over the loss of your friend, the Archbishop. Is that why you are hopping on a plane, I understand, this afternoon to try to get there to see for yourself how you might be able to help?

JEAN PIERRE: Yes, I've been well in touch with the Archbishop, Father Roja (ph) is the Archbishop in Miami. He's been very concerned about the situation in Haiti. So we're going down to Haiti to have a firsthand assessment of the situation and visit the leaders of the church and to see how the Archdiocese of Miami, the church in Miami -- how we can mobilize and help. And that was organized through Catholic Charities, (INAUDIBLE) they have been helping with that.

WHITFIELD: In the immediate, is there anything that you feel like you're going to be able to do to help? We're hearing from eyewitnesses, even our own correspondents, reporters on the ground are saying there's no bottled water. People don't have any kind of machinery. There's nothing in place to help move the rubble, to help tend to beyond some basic first aid to those who are injured.

How are you going to equip yourself, or can you equip yourself with anything, so that when you get on the ground, you'll be able to offer some help, you know, more so than your presence?

JEAN PIERRE: Well, what happened, that's what we are hoping and praying for, the international community will be mobilized. Like, especially I was encouraged by the President, by what he said, that the (INAUDIBLE) were tremendous. And the first thing has to be search and rescue. And in Haiti we don't have any -- we're not equipped to deal with that.


JEAN PIERRE: And being able to (INAUDIBLE) massive help. Definitely we have to rely on the international help.

So, I am going there as a church man (ph). We are presenting the Archdiocese of Miami just to show the people there we over here in Miami, we are mobilized and we are very concerned. We are urgent, we have so many calls to deal with people telling me they have been trying to reach their own relatives, they haven't been able to do that.


JEAN PIERRE: I don't think there's anything that I can do otherwise there, other than show some solidarity --


JEAN PIERRE: -- with the people. But I'm hoping that the whole world will come to the rescue of Haiti. Because we cannot -- like, a little small country like that. An earthquake of such a magnitude, there is no way we can deal with that, one person can deal, one country. It's the whole world community has to come out of it. And I'm very hopeful, because whenever there is a disaster like that --


JEAN PIERRE: -- the human spirit really comes alive. And that's something I I'm hoping and I'm praying for.

WHITFIELD: Monsignor Jean Pierre, of St. James Catholic church in North Miami, thanks so much. We wish you all the best in your travels this afternoon. And all the best to those you know and love there in Haiti. JEAN PIERRE: Thank you very much for having me.

WHITFIELD: The Haiti earthquake sending shock waves across the globe. Our coverage continues.


WHITFIELD: President Obama spoke out quickly about the death and destruction in quake-ravaged Haiti, promising immediate rescue and relief to the poorest country in the western hemisphere.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have directed my administration to respond with a swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives. The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief -- the food, water, and medicine that Haitians will need in the coming days. In that effort, our government especially USAID and the Departments of State and Defense are working closely together and with our partners in Haiti, the region, and around the world.


WHITFIELD: Mr. Obama also encouraged people who want to help to go to their web site of to find out ways that they might be able to contribute.

All right. Scientists have been warning for years that Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic were at risk for a major earthquake.

Our Chad Myers is actually in the weather center. We're also helping us kind of the fault lines and if anyone could have predicted something on this scale?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It was predicted. Go on to Google and you can search it. You can search the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault. It runs right across the D.R., right through Haiti, and even all the way through Jamaica. And it ruptured yesterday right here. It is a strike slip which means one part of the fault zone goes one way, one part of the fault zone goes the other way. IT's not the tsunami-creating earthquake that bumps up like we had out in Banda Aceh.

Let's move around on this here. There's two things that I'm noticing. The main quake over here, just a little bit to the right, but about 10 miles away where most of the aftershocks are occurring. And I know they're a little bit up and down, north and south. But they really are along the same fault line. The Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault right through here. It goes all the way, even toward the D.R. And this area, this gray zone right there, is where Port-au-Prince is. So the shaking, the major shaking, was all of the way here from Port-au- Prince along this peninsula all of the way to the west here of Port- au-Prince proper. Let me show you what's going on here right now. I'm going to take you to Flight Explorer, because we've been asking, is the airport open? Well, I sure hope so. We have nine planes in the air. We've got -- most of these are charter planes, to be very honest. But we've got this one here a little DC-3 just took off out of Florida. Here's a Havilland-8 that just took off from Florida. Here's from Miami, here. A CSQ, that's a charter flight, as well. There's a 737 coming from Dulles. Don't know what BSK-633 is. But, there's an Icelandic Air Flight 1200, coming from Iceland, actually coming out of Boston and that's a 757.

So, obviously, they believe that they're going to be able to land safely at that airport. There's so many people still in the way of this thing, though, and the earth is still shaking. The latest aftershock was about 15 minutes ago. It was still a 4.5. Now a 4.5 can do damage all by itself. But think about buildings that are damaged, what that 4.5 is going to do to create this shake. The biggest problem with the shake and I don't know if I have much time. The biggest problem with the shake -- we'll get to it this next hour, Fred, is it was so shallow. When it's shallow like that the top of the earth really shakes, compared to a little bit of attenuation, if it's very, very deep. This was a violent, shaking motion -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Boy, very frightening. And we're talking about, you know, structures that aren't necessarily built to a certain code to withstand earthquakes or even tremors. You mentioned aftershocks of four point something. That's still pretty significant in some regions and certainly we're wishing the people the best there.

Thanks for that update.

MYERS: We'll get into the building codes next hour.

WHITFIELD: Yes. All right. Good. Then we'll talk to you then.

All right. The logistical nightmares of getting badly needed relief into Haiti, to help who need it desperately. We'll talk live with an expert quarterbacking such a mission.


WHITFIELD: All right. Quake-ravaged Haiti. On the minds of many in North Carolina's high country. Boone, North Carolina, specifically. That's the headquarters for Samaritan's Purse. And that's where the relief agency's Vice President Ken Isaacs is joining us live.

So, give me an idea, Mr. Isaacs, what kind of efforts are underway involving your organization? I understand some of your representatives are on a plane this afternoon.

KEN ISACCS, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: Yes, the gentleman speaking just before me mentioned the DC-3 just took off from Florida. That's the plane that's carrying our staff there and they should be landing in about two and a half hours. We're focusing on four things: Clean water, temporary shelter, medical and non-food items, such as blankets, soap and hygiene supplies.

But, our first team going down is 12 people. And by tomorrow we'll have seven doctors on the ground, in addition to other charter flights carrying down urgently needed supplies.

WHITFIELD: All those things sorely needed. You talk about water, medical need. How in the world though will you be able to, I guess, meet the needs that are just so colossal right now? In a city of two million, how are you going to pace yourselves to try and address those who need the help the most?

ISAACS: We have a long history of working in Haiti. About a year ago there was a hurricane that caused severe flooding. And so we had a disaster response team down there then.

We've got relationships with local missionary hospitals and local missions and through the church network we'll be able to reach into communities and to identify where the needs are. But, you know, it is such a catastrophic disaster. The needs are everywhere and it breaks all of our hearts to see that, you know, and to know the suffering that the people are going through there.

WHITFIELD: What are your concerns about transportation? Once your team gets on the ground there, yes there are churches that you plan to work with, they'll point you in the right direction. But then how do you actually get there, because we heard earlier that transportation, roads, all of that -- that's a nightmare right now.

ISAACS: It is a nightmare and I don't have a clear answer to it. One of the things about responding to a disaster is you have to figure it out based on what the circumstances are. We won't be long on the assessments. I mean, you can assess it pretty much from looking at a few television pictures. Everything is destroyed and people are in need.

Figuring out how to move on the ground is going to be an issue. Historically working in Haiti, security is a problem. But now, you know, are the roads passable? Earlier the gentleman was talking about the runway. Our information is that the lights near traffic control tower are not working. But I'm not so concerned about the landing of aircraft -- we've got that one today and two tomorrow going in and we're looking at multiple other rotations.

But it is the ground transport. We're also putting a plan into place to send, if we need to, trucks in a larger aircraft. But, then again, are the roads passable? And that's just something that we have to determine after we get on the ground. We'll know more tonight.

WHITFIELD: And how will you work with other non-governmental agencies if that is indeed a plan of action, because there are a lot of groups that are independently heading to that region. But of course, it would be nice if there was a way in which to coordinate the efforts so that no one steps on one another's feet.

ISAACS: Well, that's true. Coordination is always an issue in the middle of chaos. But I think what is really unfortunate is the devastation that's hit the U.N. building there. Normally the United Nations is the central coordination unit. But we are communicating with USAID, the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. We're also communicating with contacts that we've got in the Department of Defense just to get some sense of what they're doing and we're talking with other organizations on the ground, too.

So right now it's sort of, you know, if you imagine it as a rugby game, everybody's moving down the one end of the field but there's going to be a lot of audible plays called on a minute-by-minute basis as different players come onto the scene and we understand what the needs are and the capacities are.

WHITFIELD: Ken Isaacs of Samaritan's Purse, coming to us from Boone, North Carolina.

Thanks so much and all the best in your efforts to help the people in need there in Haiti.

ISACCS: Thank you, Fredricka. Thank you.