Return to Transcripts main page


Relief Efforts Continuing in Haiti; Critical Need for Medical Care; Treating Injured Orphans and the Battle for Proper Burial

Aired January 16, 2010 - 08:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody to CNN SATURDAY MORNING for this January 16th. I'm T.J. Holmes.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, good morning everybody. I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks so much for starting your day with us, 8:00 a.m. here in Atlanta, 5:00 a.m. on the west coast. We have a lot to tell you about, especially those developments out of Haiti this morning.

HOLMES: We're going to be dedicating most of our coverage this morning to the relief efforts there. We'll also be talking to Haitian Americans who are looking for loved ones, also talking to those who have found loved ones. So we do want to get you updated now. We're just telling you what we know at this point. We're of course now entering the fourth day of the search and rescue efforts, looking for survivors still and also trying to treat a lot of those victims.

This really is a critical day here for so many folks in Haiti. Medical help for the injured is what is most desperately needed right now it seems. Also food and water is a major issue. The death toll still unknown. The United Nations security, secretary general I should say giving this quote, saying we can't do more than guess at the total dead and injured.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flies to Port-au-Prince today. The Navy hospital ship "Comfort" sails for Haiti today. That could happen at any moment. Also later this morning, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush join President Obama to appeal for more help in Haiti's recovery and rebuilding effort.

NGUYEN: Let's quickly get you on the ground to Port-au-Prince and our Chris Lawrence who joins us now live. Chris, how are things where you are right now because I know that you witnessed a lot of chaos yesterday when it came to food.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That's right and the frustrating thing about it Betty is I would say the majority of people here are very calm. You know, when you have water lines, people are waiting in line patiently, even though they are very, very thirsty, they're waiting to get those supplies. What we saw was it only takes a few people, you know, to really get a crowd riled up and overwhelm some of the aid distribution.

Yesterday what we wanted to do was follow some of that aid starting as it arrives at the airport and see it through its process, trying to see how it gets out to people and what we saw showed that just getting the aid here to Haiti is just one hurdle, getting it out to the people who really need it is something else entirely.


LAWRENCE: We're in the back of the United Nations truck heading to the center of the city. You can see we're jammed in pretty tight with a lot of the same supplies that the world food program is going to be delivering to the people of Haiti.

You can take a look next to me, you can see some of the UN guards. It's going to be their job to try to keep some form of order so things don't get out of hand. The trucks now made it here to the park near the presidential palace. A lot of people starting to push and shove their way, trying to get up to where the food is.

You can see a lot of the men pushing their way up. Haven't seen any of the women be able to get up here. It's swiftly getting a little chaotic here. They had to stop it. They started blowing their whistles and had to stop it about 10, 15 minutes ago. It just started back but it seems to only be able to last for about five minutes before it starts getting out of hand again.

The thing that I'm noticing too is there's a lot of small kids in there that are getting jammed up against other people or they are just getting pushed out of the way entirely. The world food program is trying to distribute water purification tablets and high energy biscuits. The biscuits are vitamin fortified and OK to eat.

But a massive misunderstanding about the expiration date is causing people to refuse to eat them. What is wrong with the biscuits? Why don't people want to eat them?

What's happening is they are confusing the date that it was packaged on which was 2008 with the expiration date which is November 2010. I know it's hard to see, but he's basically yelling and telling people do not accept these biscuits because they are no good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are very concerned. The biscuits are very good. They are OK.

LAWRENCE: As you can see, everybody is following the truck, but there it goes. They are trying to even just hold on to the back of it. But it's pulling away. A lot of people ended up with nothing, but I don't know if you can still see. They are running after the truck trying to get it. That truck is gone now.


LAWRENCE: So, again, a simple misunderstanding caused people to throw away a lot of very good food just throw it to the ground without eating it. And then with the crush of the crowd and everything else the truck pulled away, still half full of supplies. From what I've been able to determine just talking to officials at USAID they say that they have mobilized enough food to feed about two million people for the next couple months.

The world food program is saying they got a lot of supplies here so getting supplies in doesn't seem to be the problem at this point. The problem is setting up some sort of distribution system, places where people can go in an orderly way to start getting some of the supplies that they need. Betty.

NGUYEN: What are you hearing on that front, Chris? Is it the government there in Haiti that's supposed to be in charge of it? Is it the UN? Who is taking control of that?

LAWRENCE: Well, right behind me, I mean the presidential palace is completely destroyed. You know a lot of the government, probably not in a position to exert authority right now. I was talking to some U.S. officials out at the airport yesterday. They said it's been a tough time trying to have communication with authorities here in Haiti, with the Haitian authorities.

With the arrival of so many military forces, U.S. military forces, that may be able to kind of start to streamline some of the process here. I'm also told that a lot of the slums, they are trying to evacuate them because they are inaccessible by any means.

One of the officials at the world food program said it's so bad there, it's impossible to get aid in there. It's better to try to bring them out and bring them to the aid and what they are trying to do is find certain places where they can start having, you know, small distribution areas to start trying to hand out more of the food, the water, some of the supplies that people would really love to have at this point.

NGUYEN: So big picture is the food, the water, the aid is there. It's on the ground in Haiti. It's just a matter of getting it to the people.

LAWRENCE: I would say there is a tremendous amount of food, water and supplies that are here that have not been handed out yet. You know, we saw pallets and pallets, you know, full of food, full of supplies out at the airport. Again, the problem, you look at that small group that we were with, a few hundred people, when you got thousands, tens of thousands.

So it's not a matter of just dropping something in the middle of a field because, you know, there's the chance, you run the risk of the strongest taking from the weakest. There has to be some sort of order to make sure that everybody gets what they need.

NGUYEN: All right Chris Lawrence, doing some great reporting out of Haiti for us. Chris, thank you so much. We'll be checking in with you shortly.

HOLMES: We got word a short time ago that doctors and nurses have returned to a field hospital in Port-au-Prince hours after the UN ordered them to leave over security concerns.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta was the only doctor who stayed behind overnight. He checked in with us just a bit ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's 7:00 in the morning now outside these field hospitals. As you know by now, we had an unusual night. The doctors that were caring for these patients were asked by the United Nations to leave. We decided to stay and try to take care of these patients who would have otherwise been abandoned.

We didn't quite know how this was all going to end, but we know that more patients even came in throughout the night, patients with head injuries, patients with legs that had been fractured or even amputated. These are the type of injuries that are happening here.

Just a short time ago, the doctors did return, these Belgian doctors and they are back to taking care of the patients. I gave a sign out on what was going on with all these patients so they can go forward with their care for the future. Certainly a lot of discussion is going to come out of this, but this is the most important point for me, patients are all doing great and they're all going to get great care.

Back to you.


NGUYEN: President Obama will meet with former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton later this morning to talk about ways Americans can help. White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux joins us now live. Are we going to see an effort Suzanne like we saw following the tsunami disaster?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right Betty. You are going to see something very similar to that because that was considered highly successful. What we've heard from the president the last couple of days has really been emphasizing short term care, emergency relief over those 72 hours that were critical after the earthquake.

Now he's talking about long term care. He's talking about what happens after this emergency is over and you've got Haiti and all of the problems that it's dealing with. So he has invited former Presidents Bill Clinton as well as George W. Bush.

They are going to sit down together, meet in the oval office about 10:30 or so and they are going to discuss ways that they can actually get private investors, companies, individual citizens to band together and to give in the long term, whether it's money, whether it's awareness, resources to help with the big problems that Haiti has when it comes to education and health care and things like that, beyond the crisis period that we're now in.

Now this is something that, obviously, Bill Clinton has been involved with. He is the UN special envoy to Haiti. But President Bush when he left when he went out the door he said if President Obama ever called on him to do anything of use that he would serve his country. Well President Obama made that call on Wednesday, picked up the phone, talked to President Bush, said that he would like him to be a part of this international humanitarian effort.

President Bush has accepted and Obama has really taken a page from President Bush's playbook. You may recall as you had mentioned it was back after the tsunami in Indonesia as well as hurricane Katrina that President Bush got Bill Clinton and his father George HW Bush here at the White House to call attention to the immense need around those disasters and that that was something I recall, I sat down with both those presidents at the time to bring attention to, in a way that just cannot happen otherwise.

And so you're going to have some real heavy hitters here and all three of them going to go before the rose garden and talk about ways that beyond this short term the long term that we can all get involved. Betty.

NGUYEN: And Suzanne, are they focusing primarily on private companies or are they still enlisting the help of individuals, Americans across the country?

MALVEAUX: Well, it's both. It's going to be private investors, obviously corporations, major corporations, but also individuals, perhaps wealthy individuals, those beyond we're talking beyond those kind of $10 donations, but really long-term donations. I want to give you, this is a website, That is what they are going to be announcing today. That's where you can go to get information about how to help in the long term.

NGUYEN: Great information there. Suzanne Malveaux joining us live. Thank you Suzanne. And we have many more correspondents covering this story for you. I want to show you just some pictures here, just a fraction of the correspondents on the ground and the stories that CNN is bringing to you. So stay with us throughout the morning.

HOLMES: Can you imagine, here we are some four days almost after this disaster and a lot of people still have no idea if a loved one is alive, don't know if they are safe, don't know a thing.

NGUYEN: Haven't heard anything at all. That's part of the problem. That's part of the worry. It is a reality for thousands of Haitian American families. If you take just a couple of minutes you might be able to help at least one of those families get some answers.


NGUYEN: Well Haiti is about the size of Maryland and Port-au- Prince is densely populated. Technology, the way that you and I know it did not exist before the earthquake and it certainly does not exist now. So, how is anyone calling family or operating a computer just to let someone know that they are alive and they survived the earthquake?

HOLMES: There's no electricity right now. Communication hasn't necessarily stopped, though. Our tech expert Mario Armstrong who's out in Los Angeles actually doing some work is here with us now. Mario, good to see you again this morning. And help us out here. I mean we find it so hard to believe how anybody is getting a message out but it's still coming out. What are they doing? MARIO ARMSTRONG, TECHNOLOGY COMMENTATOR: Here's the deal. You're right. When Betty was setting it up, they have, Haiti that is, has the worst pretty much infrastructure in the Caribbean and in Latin America. If you look at the world fact book, in fact, they talk about how bad the infrastructure was there for so long and how bad connectivity was there, always dropping calls, the availability for infrastructure was just at a minimum.

Now in 2001 that kind of changed when Jamaica kind of opened up the local phone market and kind of broke things up and that gave room for competition. So now what we have are a few different telecom providers. The largest in Haiti right now is one called Digicel. And when Digicel first opened up T.J., it gives you an indication of the appetite, of the need for telecommunications there.

When Digicel first opened up in 2001, over 300,000 people instantly became new subscribers. Now currently they have two million subscribers using the service. However, Digicel has had some of their communication lines down. I am getting the latest report as of yesterday is that text messaging seems still to work while voice calls are not getting through.

HOLMES: I guess we're getting a lot -- even our Sanjay Gupta has been sending -- we're getting tweets and things like that and stuff like that coming out. People are able like you said, text messages. So I guess what do they have, besides the text messages, we some people are able sometimes to even get to a computer there and post a message and things like that. So what are they using, I guess now to get these messages out? Is it primarily text messages it sounds like but what else?

ARMSTRONG: So there are other technologies that are being deployed. You have a number of organizations that are prepared for this. They are emergency telecommunications organizations. People like the world food program, a lot of people know them for delivering food but they also have a telecommunications engineering unit.

So they deployed people with all types of devices. The telecom sands (ph) frontier, known as, they also are a telecommunications emergency response organization and nonprofit. They've deployed about nine engineers and nine people.

What they are putting down on the ground T.J. are everything from satellite phones which I actually have here. This is actually what a satellite phone looks like. This is how they're able to kind of communicate. They are very durable. They can withstand sand, shock. They have 30 hours of battery life.

They can use solar power to continue to keep that power coming to these devices. This bypasses the typical cellular networks and places to call directly to satellite and space that then connect, route those calls. So that's one piece of technology.

HOLMES: That's ones piece. About those, actually, they certainly can come in handy. But getting your hands on those is one thing but also, I mean, what's the cost of something like that? How do you -- if you're a poor Haitian in the first place or whatever it may be, just buying the phone but also how is it those types of minutes. We're talking about satellite minutes here.

ARMSTRONG: Satellite minutes as you know in this industry is very expensive to be able to communicate over. So this isn't for the average consumer down there unless you are extremely wealthy because as you mentioned, these devices are expensive.

At a minimum you're going to spend about $1400 just for one of these hand sets and that does not encompass the monthly calls or the rates for your usage. So this is really being utilized by emergency telecom organizations like the telecom sands (ph) frontiers and others so that they can go down with several of these units.

For example, telecom sands frontiers is going to be setting up a few hot spot tents. I think we have an image to kind of show what some of these hot spot tents look like. They're going to set it up so that about 30 people per hot spot can use these type of devices to make phone calls to family and friends and others.

This isn't going to go to the hands directly to the people in Haiti but it's going to go from those units and those emergency responders and allow people in Haiti to make calls over these networks. And I've been told that they will be able to place two minute free calls. Because the time is expensive as you mentioned.

HOLMES: That is great to hear. We're able to put that picture up that you were talking about, those hot spots. That's all people need sometimes to get somewhere, make one call, I'm OK. I'll call you back when I can but so many people and we're going to be talking to a lot here this morning, Betty and I, Haitian-Americans who are looking for loved ones.

That's all they need is that one call so Mario, good to see you this morning. We appreciate you hoping on out there and getting up early out in LA. We'll talk to you soon buddy.

ARMSTRONG: OK, we'll talk soon.

NGUYEN: As T.J. mentioned up next a family just desperate for news, any news of loved ones in Haiti. We're going to how what they're hearing and how they are hearing it.


HOLMES: The clock is ticking for a lot of folks there in Haiti who are trying to get word, trying to find survivors, of course. There are a lot of people here who have literally been waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for an e-mail, waiting on a text, anything since Tuesday at 5:00.

NGUYEN: Many of them have not gotten hardly any sleep at all. They are just waiting for that precious voice of their loved one on the other side of the line. We're going to be speaking right now with a man who has been trying to find out if his daughter survived the earthquake. His name is Lovins Joseph and he joins us now. Mr. Joseph I know that you have been waiting to hear from your daughter Ruth and actually you got word this morning. How so? What did you hear? Is she still alive?

LOVENS JOSEPH, DAUGHTER MISSING IN HAITI: It's adorable (ph). She's calling me this morning on my way to the studio. She called me at 7:21 a.m. I'm speechless.

NGUYEN: What did she say?

JOSEPH: She said, father, you know, she said papa, I'm alive. She says she's alive. And then I was driving but, you know, I pull over and my wife with me with my little son and then we -- I cannot talk. It took me two minutes before I answer her because I didn't believe. When she say, father, I'm alive, can you say something?

She said she were -- because the house where she lived it's a two story, the home and she had training of some folks like teenagers and then she heard the earth shaking, shaking. She started running with her friends. Then she go inside the house quickly and (INAUDIBLE) she walked out. Then after three or two minutes she out and the house fall down and was on the floor. So when she said that and I said thanks God, thanks God. And she's alive.

HOLMES: Mr. Joseph, again your daughter is 22 years old. I guess she's just now able to get to a phone, I guess, to call you, understandably. But what for her now? I mean where is she staying? How is she quite frankly holding on and staying alive like so many others in Haiti right now struggling to do?

JOSEPH: Now she's outside the building. She's outside like she's homeless. She don't have nothing to eat. She doesn't have any clothes and she's outside. She's on the street with others. And she tell me please, father, see if I can help here and that hurt me a little bit but only one thing, she's alive.

And also I have my brother, he was the Facebook, CNN Facebook also, and they like 14 of them, my brother, my mom, my mother, my sister and my nephew and niece, my niece, all those people up there, my family they need -- they outside the street under the trees and they need water, they need food. Only one thing, if I can, I can go up there with like with helicopter and just to rescue them and thanks God.

I watch the news and I see President Obama, former President Clinton, Bill Clinton, so they send the help over here. But the way they are seem like, they don't have any help yet. So, please, I ask anybody, everybody, if they can help my family and others to rescue them where they are because they really need probably they are starving, they need food, they need clothing. That's what I ask.

NGUYEN: Let me ask you, Mr. Joseph, as a father and knowing one, the elation that your daughter is alive. That's one thing, but then to hear her say dad, I need your help, please help us. That's got to make you feel in a sense a little bit helpless considering the situation.

JOSEPH: Yes. Because right now I call American Airlines to see if I can make reservations to go over here. But with the precautions, it seem like my reservation cannot make at this time. So I will have to see if I can go over here and ask for help because what now I feel joy in my heart, but somehow I'm still afraid.

HOLMES: All right. Mr. Joseph, we are just like you, elated this morning when we got news and we talked to you right at the commercial break to hear that your daughter was found. But now your daughter like so many other family members and everybody there still, the struggle to survive is not done just yet.

Lovens Joseph, sir, we appreciate you taking the time to be here with us. Congratulations on hearing that your daughter is OK for now, but certainly our hearts, our prayers go out to you and your family and the rest of the people of Haiti. Maybe the help can get there and they can survive this thing. So we appreciate you so much.

JOSEPH: Thank you very much. Also I would like to thank my church, my group choir service, especially (INAUDIBLE) all this group they keep praying, they pray for me, for my daughter, for my family. I would like to say thanks for everybody.

NGUYEN: That's strength of faith. Mr. Joseph, thank you for spending some time with us today. We really, really do appreciate and obviously we're going to try to stay in touch with you and find out what kind of help is getting to your family there in Haiti. But we do appreciate you joining us today.

There's much more here on CNN SATURDAY MORNING as we continue to follow just the disaster in Haiti.


NGUYEN: Well, thousands of people still unaccounted for in Haiti; their loved ones desperately trying to make contact any way that they can.

HOLMES: And CNN is trying to help some of those families who are receiving good news. Josh Lev joins us now with one case of that good news. Good morning again Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning again to you guys. Yes, we're also going to talk a little bit about technology to help all of you out there understand what you can take advantage of to try to track down loved one, contacts, whoever it is in Haiti.

First of all, joining us this morning are brother and sister Jodine and Shezar Dorce. You guys there are going to have some good news for us this morning.


LEVS: I want to take this step by step to help other families out there that are looking for love ones. Let's start with what we heard from you this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) J. DORCE: My father is Josias Dorce (ph), he's down there with his, well, my baby sister and she's 7 years old and her name is Krista Dorce (ph) and just looking for any information out there about those two.


LEVS: So the quake happened, your father and your little 9-year- old sister, the beautiful little girl just we saw there, were there. Talk to me, Jodine first of all, you tell me what happened in your mind when you heard about this quake.

J. DORCE: When I first heard about it, I couldn't believe it. I mean I was just like, ok a quake happened my father should be ok. But when I started seeing the images that started coming in I think I spoke to my brother and it was kind like a silence, like what do we do?

So immediately I went to, I went to Facebook and I just started literally just posting it everywhere.

LEVS: So Jodine, you took advantage of every opportunity there was online. You used the CNN iReport, right? You used the Red Cross Web site, you used everything you could.

J. DORCE: Exactly, exactly.

LEVS: All right, well, I don't want to delay the greatness that she started to tell me, you got a phone call and that was the good news. What happened?

SHEZAR DORCE, FOUND FATHER AND SISTER IN HAITI: Exactly, yesterday morning I was on the way to pick her up for breakfast and around 10:22, I was on I-20 West heading to her house I received a call from my father. And you know, at first, I couldn't believe it just like one of the previous stories and I was stunned...

LEVS: Yes.

S. DORCE: ... to hear that he was ok.

LEVS: Yes.

S. DORCE: ... and I was very elated to hear his voice. Very difficult to keep the car on the road. And just -- I kept saying who is this, who is this and he was saying yes it's me. I'm ok...

LEVS: Absorbing the news. You know, we're hearing a story like that, it so good to be getting this kind of news. Talk to me about advice for other people because there are so many other families out there struggling and terrified. Jodine, what do you say to other families out there that want to have the same situation, want to reach out and get the word out and then get that phone call.

J. DORCE: Well, I'm still missing a family. We're still missing... LEVS: You're aunt, right?

J. DORCE: Yes, I'm still missing my uncle, Jovani Eli (ph). He's in Port-au-Prince. And my aunt, Fu Forn (ph), her real name is Emanuela (ph) but the neighborhood calls her Fu Forn she's in Jacq Nelle (ph) and she's a part of the Eli family as well. Jack Nelle has been hard to get to so the information there is limited.

LEVS: There's no contact from that region? That's right.

J. DORCE: Exactly but they've been - they've been impacted as well. So get -- use every resource possible. Get on CNN iReport and make sure those pictures are out there. I had a friend of mine who works for a company here and sent the information to the field office and the field office got in contact with my father as well...

LEVS: Yes.

J. DORCE: ... yesterday. So every resource and network.

LEVS: So you're getting the word out. You're getting the word out and it's networking and more people say hey I saw that on iReport...

J. DORCE: Exactly, exactly.

LEVS: ... I saw that on Facebook and they tell someone else. And then maybe someone -- someone sees them.

J. DORCE: Exactly.

LEVS: Now, before I let you go, Shezar and we were talking about you, you guys are Haitian-Americans...

J. DORCE: Right.

LEVS: ... and you guys are absorbing this kind of news right now. Just as people who care so much about Haiti, who want to help, who have this really, you know, strong feeling for the country right there, what's going through your mind right now? What is it that you're feeling that you want to do for Haiti?

S. DORCE: Well, yes, at this time, although we're elated that our father, you know, that he's fine, you know our heart is still bleeding for the country. We hurt every time we see the images on the television set.

So we're donating, we're doing what we can, donating through the Red Cross and looking for volunteer opportunities in the future to try to go down there and aid in the relief effort.

LEVS: Yes, it's interesting because so many families like you are feeling so much for Haiti, at the same time terrified for the loved ones who are still missing. And I think I have a name to - well, now actually Jodine tell us the name of your uncle and your aunt who are still missing. J. DORCE: Jovani, Jovani Eli. He's in the Port-au-Prince area.


J. DORCE: And my aunt is Emanuela and her nickname is Fu Forn, that's what people know her by as Fu Forn. And her, she's an Eli as well, she's in the Jacq Nelle and she has a daughter and a son and her husband is missing as well. So we're just trying to get the information out there.

And like my brother was saying, trying to get down there to get my sister and volunteer.

LEVS: What do you do when you're living with this fear? First you were living with the fear for your father and your 9-year-old sister. Now, you still have the fear for your family, your aunt and your uncle. How do you get through the day? What do you tell yourself? What do you do to kind of hold on psychologically?

J. DORCE: Prayer, prayer, prayer. I have a fantastic fiance. I have a fantastic support system with the family. There's ten of us. You know and all us siblings are on the phone with each other and my sister in D.C., my sisters in Miami, we're all on the phone with each other every day and we're texting and we're telling each other that we love each other.

So I have that support system and I don't think I could have survived through the pain and agony without the support of my siblings and my family.

LEVS: Well, look we're all holding out hope for your relatives as well as for so many other Haitians. And you know, these little stories were in a way, like the phone call you got certainly gives people some hope. It must give you all some hope.

J. DORCE: Yes.

LEVS: That you'll get the same kind of phone call.

J. DORCE: Yes.

LEVS: ... from the rest of your relatives.

J. DORCE: Yes.

LEVS: All right, well, listen, we got to go. Well, thank you so much and we're going to keep up with your story and we'll show you on our blog where they're iReports are for the missing aunt and uncle.

And you know what? Betty and T.J., I'll tell you the phone call that came is the kind of phone call everyone wants to get.

In the mean time, it's just a lot of holding out hope and then the bigger picture for so many Haitians in America wanting to look ahead to see how they can try to help rebuild that country. NGUYEN: Yes and as we talked to that father just moments ago. Once you get that call that a relative has survived the quake what happens then? How can you get aid to them?

LEVS: Get them help.

NGUYEN: As many of them are just out on the streets searching for any kind of food or water they can find.

All right, Josh, thank you for that.

HOLMES: And on that point Betty, so many of the problems now are surrounding (ph) they don't have the medical unit. They don't have the medical supplies; they don't have the medical facilities to treat all these folks right now.

NGUYEN: Yes absolutely.

Up next we're going to look at what people have done to step in and fill that void and save some of the littlest victims.


NGUYEN: Well, good morning, everybody and welcome back. Thanks for joining us. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And hello, I'm T.J. Holmes.

We are following overnight developments from Haiti but we want to briefly give you a check on some of the other top stories we keep an eye on.

NGUYEN: First up, we are expecting remarks later this morning from President Obama and his two predecessors on relief efforts for Haiti. But that's not the only thing that the commander-in-chiefs have on their minds this weekend. Well, President Obama specifically is using his weekly address to push his new plan to recoup billions from the banks that taxpayers had to bail out.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I proposed a new fee on major financial firms to compensate the American people for the extraordinary assistance they provided to the financial industry. And the fee would be in place until the American taxpayer is made whole.

Only the largest financial firms with more than $50 billion in assets will be affected, not community banks. And the bigger the firm and the more debt it holds the larger the fee. Because we are not only going to recover our money and help close our deficits, we are going to attack some of the banking practices that led to the crisis.


NGUYEN: The banks and the Republicans are against the tax; Congress still has to approve it. HOLMES: Now, the drug recall involving Tylenol has just been expanded; Johnson and Johnson now recalling some kinds of Motrin, Benadryl, Extra Strength Rolaids as well as St. Joseph's chewable aspirin because of an unusual moldy smell.

And you can find out more about the recall and how to get a refund by calling the number up on your screen that's 888-222-6036, the number you see there at the bottom or you can go to the Web site. You can logon to The FDA has slammed Johnson & Johnson for what it says a failure to respond quickly enough to complaints that were first filed back in 2008.

Well, suspended NBA superstar guard Gilbert Arenas, has pleaded guilty now to pulling a gun in the locker room of the Washington Wizards. He's expected to be sentenced in March. His lawyer says prosecutors have agreed to seek no more than six months of jail time. However, a judge could give him as little as community service or up to the max of five years.

NGUYEN: It has been one year since a U.S. Airways jet safely landed on the Hudson River. Remember this? Well, yesterday many of the 155 survivors commemorated the life-changing moment with a ride on one of the ferries that rescued them. And by the way, the last, in the last year two of the passengers they have married and another couple who were strangers on that flight have started dating; interesting stuff there.

Well, the U.S. Navy is sending medical help to Haiti this morning. The USNS Comfort is a fully stocked and staffed floating hospital. CNN's Sandra Endo joins us now live from Baltimore, Maryland where the Comfort is preparing to leave.

And Sandra, when is the Comfort expected to arrive in Haiti because there's much need on the ground in Haiti and they are waiting for the capacity of a ship like this?

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Betty. That's going to take a couple of days for the U.S. Navy ship the Comfort to make it down to Haiti. Right now they are doing all the final preparations to leave the dock here in Baltimore. They are expecting that to happen in about half an hour or so.

Now the mission for this ship is to get down to Haiti, the devastated island nation to try to save lives and treat so many of the injured.

Now this hospital ship is enormous. It's three football fields in length, one football field in width. And take a look inside. We got a chance to go on board and it has 250 hospital beds, a 550 strong medical team including surgeons and they are expected to see about 500 patients each day.

They have enough supplies, including medicine, medication that people in Haiti so desperately need to last them about 45 days or even longer. But the challenge for the team, once they get to Haiti will be daunting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ENSIGN SHANNON WALKER, U.S. COAST GUARD: Our mission is to go and do everything we can for the people in Haiti right now. We're supposed to bring relief to them and do everything we can do to relieve some of the stress that they are going through right now. This is a horrible, horrible experience for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're anticipating the worse...


ENDO: Now the crew spent the last several days getting all the supplies loaded on the Comfort and to get the ship operational and that's why the ship couldn't be deployed the day the quake happened. So certainly they are gearing up for that and they are expected to take off from this dock in about half an hour or so, and expected to get to Haiti within the week -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, Sandra, let me ask you this because Haiti's first lady specifically asked for this hospital ship and you said they weren't able to take off the day of the quake but some were thinking that it might have already been there by Friday which was yesterday.

What's been taking so long if we want to put it that way or what is, I guess, the protocol when it comes to getting a ship ready like this ready to set sail?

ENDO: We spoke to the navy commander in charge of the operation this morning. And he says this ship as of 72 hours ago didn't even have fresh running water within the ship to make it operational. So they had to gear that up, make it all function properly for the medical team to get on board.

The medical team -- keep in mind -- came from all over the country. So the deployment orders had to spread out and make sure all those people got on board. A lot of the personnel got on board yesterday in preparation for the departure today. Certainly it takes a few days to get all the supplies on to the ship to make the ship actually operational and function and also get the team on board as well.

NGUYEN: All right. A lot of coordination there. Sandra Endo joining us live. Thank you, Sandra. We appreciate it.

You know, families they are coping with the worst possible news. Well, they are now faced with an unexpected burden. We have their stories coming up.


NGUYEN: Well, many of the hospitals in Haiti collapsed in the quake so now field hospitals have sprung up in their place. But that doesn't mean everyone is getting the help that they need.

CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen visited one of those hospitals to see how they're handling the overflow.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: After two days in this makeshift hospital, I thought I've seen it all, amputations on the side of the road, huge gaping open wounds. But you know what? I haven't seen it all.

I wanted you to see someone else. His name is Sean. Now, Sean is an orphan. And he can't take care of himself completely. Sometimes doctors and nurses have time for him like now, but not all the time. So there have been times where Sean has come and talked to us.

You'll see that Sean has a yellow dot on his head which means that he's not as critically injured as some of the other children or some of the other people here. But he's still in pretty tough shape. Sometimes I've heard him scream out at night and if someone is nearby, if a doctor or nurse is nearby they bring morphine, but it doesn't happen all the time.

This little girl had no one with her for days and her hands were injured so she couldn't feed herself. So nobody was nearby so I helped her eat and drink.

This little girl is an orphan. Without parents around what does that do to a child's chance of survival?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in this country there are very few orphanages and hundreds of thousands of orphans. That number has been tripled in the last 48 hours. Basically they will become street kids. Some of them are used as slaves by families who will take them in. And it's just very tragic.

And, you know, one of the most difficult things right now is to adopt children. Tens of thousands of Americans have tried to -- I don't know exactly the number -- adopt children. It's a multi-year process. It's a huge thing. And I'm going to talk to the president of Haiti about it later today.

COHEN: I was sitting here earlier today when a woman approached me frantic. She's saying that mommy and daddy aren't is not home.

Just when I thought none of these orphans would find a home a man walked in with this photo asking if anyone had seen her. It turns out she's the girl I was feeding earlier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're very happy. We had the girl three days no family around and we thought she was an orphan (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's been looking for her daughter for the past couple of days and every where she's been she hasn't been able to get in because there's been so many injured people. However, this morning the dad decided to stop by here with her picture and they decided to just let him in to see if she's in. So that's how they end up finding her. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Well, a lot of people, as we know, are waiting and wondering what is going on with their loved ones in Haiti. We just spoke to a man a short time ago who had the great news, he had just gotten an hour before he got on the air with Betty and I, got the news that his daughter was alive. She called him right before he got on the air. So we were able to share that story of someone being reconnected after all those days of waiting and wondering.

However, we have a story now to bring you without a happy ending. This is a tough topic to handle but it's one that a lot of people are dealing with right now.

I want to bring in my guests. Sybille Lois, and her sister Dahla Lois (ph); they are standing there with their siblings behind them but I'm going to talk to you specifically Sybille. You all got news not long ago that your mother was, in fact, killed in this quake in Haiti.

But now your issue is trying to get her body back for a proper burial. I want to say here first, certainly our condolences to you and your family.

But take us through, first of all, how long did you have to wait to get word that, in fact, your mother had been killed?

SYBILLE LOIS, MOTHER DIED IN EARTHQUAKE: Actually, you know, as you know the earthquake happened on Tuesday afternoon. And since Tuesday, of course, the entire family, you know, we were worried sick about, you know, where mom was.

And finally we kept calling. Of course, the communication was really bad. Finally on Wednesday at noon one of our relatives in Haiti called us and gave us the news. You can imagine we were really heartbroken.

My mom left for Haiti last Tuesday and she was only gone for 15 days. She was supposed to there only for 15 days and come back to us her four children and grandchildren, and it was just devastating to us. You know, it was just really hard.

HOLMES: So did I hear that right? She left on Tuesday?

LOIS: Yes. Last Tuesday. The 5th.

HOLMES: The 5th is when she took off. Now the struggle is and this is something maybe a lot of people and we rightly so are focused on the survivors and dealing with people who are there. This is an issue for a lot of families they're going to have here in the U.S. possibly is getting the remains back here for a proper burial.

Where is your mother's body now? Where do you understand -- where is her body now?

LOIS: Well, we heard that, you know, she's in the morgue. But as you know the morgues are not even functioning properly so the shape of the body's getting worse by the minute. That's why time is of the essence that we get her body back here to us so we can give her a proper burial.

We've been in contact the State Department, but of course the logistics are really bad and, you know, we haven't heard back from them. And the last thing we've heard from the morgue is that, you know, the body is in pretty bad shape. We just want her back in time so we can bury her.

HOLMES: For us and I'm sorry it seems like such a morbid question to ask, how much time do you really have to get her body back. Like you say the bodies are decomposing not really being treated. How much time do you have?

DAHLA LOIS, MOTHER DIED IN EARTHQUAKE: Well, we're not sure. That's the issue; it's between today and tomorrow, most likely.

S. LOIS: They told us really we have only until today and tomorrow. And after that they can't really, you know, guarantee that the body will be in shape to return to the U.S. and we really need her back.

D. LOIS: We have contacted one of the member of the assembly council in Queen's Woodhaven, the Michael Miller office and they've tried.


S. LOIS: They've tried. We've tried to reach out to our U.S. representative, our assemblyman, our congressman to really have them make a few phone calls. And as you said, we're not the only family here in the U.S. Our heart goes out to anybody out there who has a deceased family member in Haiti and, you know, who's trying to bring them back. Time is of the essence.

And we can't imagine.

HOLMES: Can you tell me -- what were -- obviously you have family members there in Haiti, but what were your mom's wishes, at least? Of course, family members there don't know -- of course, nobody can get a proper burial it seems there now. What were her wishes? Where did she want to be buried?


S. LOIS: My mom's wish is to be buried here because all her children and grandchildren are here. And that's why, you know, we're fighting so much because that was her wish. She always said "I want to be buried here next to my children so they can come and talk to me and visit me and my grandchildren." And we're all here in the United States and we need her back here.

HOLMES: Ma'am, like you said, you have a couple of days, you think but what are your...

S. LOIS: We think. HOLMES: ... quite frankly your hope and how optimistic your that something is going to be able to get done to get her body back here before, quite frankly -- she's in no shape to come back at all and she will have to be buried there?

D. LOIS: We're hoping for a miracle. For a huge miracle.


S. LOIS: I know they have to evacuate Americans there and we're hoping that they can just put some of the deceased, you know, in the plane as well, the next plane or, you know, within the next two days. And, you know, bring them back home because we can't imagine my mom being buried there and us being away from her. It would just be horrible. It would really an (INAUDIBLE). You can see the picture. That's my mom.

D. LOIS: She looks happy. She's happy among our children, her grandchildren. She's a happy person. We want her to be happy right now by being with us. If someone can help us, please by listening to this story today please help us please.

HOLMES: Guys, I know it's one thing to certainly want to fulfill your mother's wishes and have her buried here in the u.s., but a lot of us can't imagine what it's like to think of just what -- quite frankly a lot of families, bodies are quite frankly, your mother's is one of many, quite frankly they are piled up and decomposing.

How is the family here dealing with the fact that you all just can't even care for her in a proper way right now?

S. LOIS: It's just horrible.

D. LOIS: Horrible. Yes. It's numbing.

S. LOIS: We wish we could be there. This is a woman who is so gentle and so loving and she's always taking care of all her children and here we are right here.

D. LOIS: And giving back to society as well.

S. LOIS: All of us and we can't do anything for my mom. We don't know, you know the morgue and as you say the conditions down there are just horrible. It's just, really heart-wrenching. It's really hard.

HOLMES: I have to ask this as well. In a way does the family understand that there is so much chaos and it's just so hard to get in there right now? Do you understand that maybe this is difficult or do you think that maybe enough is not being done for families like yourself?

S. LOIS: I think -- I know things are hard. People are working hard.

D. LOIS: We're very conscious that they have to take care of not only, you know, of everybody that are injured, the sick, those that survived that need food and water.

But at the same time, you know, for those of us that are left with nothing, for those of us that don't have our loved ones that has gone away, the only closure we have is to be able to give them a proper burial. That's all we're hoping for at this time.

HOLMES: Guys, we want to put your mother's picture up one more time. Her name is Eve. Tell me, how old was she?

S. LOIS: 60. She just turned 60 on December 3rd.

HOLMES: December 3rd, just had a birthday. At 60, that's a young woman still that was taken from you.

S. LOIS: Yes. Absolutely.

HOLMES: We're looking at her picture again, Eve.

D. LOIS: She's with one of her grandchildren.

HOLMES: Grandchildren in the picture. And again all the children and grandchildren are here and right now, again, I assure you all that people are listening to your cries and listening to your plea this morning and hopefully something can be done for the families who are trying to get their loved ones back, who unfortunately and as morbid as it sounds, literally the bodies are sitting and decomposing in some of those morgues that are just overrun right now.

Guys, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.


HOLMES: It's important for all of you to be here and share this part of the story as well. We are going to stay in touch and will stay in contact and hopefully we can have an ending that works for you guys. All right. But thank you so much. We'll talk to you again soon. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much for having us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

HOLMES: We are going to take a quick break here. Betty and I will be back in just a moment to continue our coverage and share with you more stories of families and, of course, exactly what's happening there on the ground in Haiti. Stay here.