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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Crisis in Haiti

Aired January 18, 2010 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening tonight from Port-au- Prince, Haiti.

We are live over the next two hours, bringing you as close as possible to what is happening out on the streets here. And there has a lot been happening here, a lot of searing moments that we have seen today, limited progress to report, but also signs of unrest and some progress as well.

The death toll, of course, climbing, now estimated at 100,000 to 150,000 in the city of Port-au-Prince, alone, some 200,000 nationwide, according to the European Union. But, at this point, as you know, those numbers are very much estimates. More aid now flowing in to airport, 180 flights today, up from 40 last week. But it is piling up, distribution problems. Why the delays? Who's responsible? Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also, complaints that aid and doctors have been turned away to make room for troop and evacuation flights. U.S. officials say complaints being addressed, but are they? Why are things moving so slowly? Was a window lost last week? Could more people have been saved? The answer is yes. And we will show you exactly why.

Former President Clinton was here today, touring a hospital. He talked with Sanjay Gupta. We will have that. Chelsea Clinton has been here as well.

We also saw first aid drops today from a C-17 from Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina, 40 pallets of food and water out of the back of cargo jets. That's 42,000 MREs, 6,900 bottles of water.

But, for many, it is too late, and lots of people are questioning, why weren't airdrops made last week? Why has it taken so long? Was too much emphasis put on making assessments, on figuring out the logistics before actually delivering aid to those most in need?

More troops on the ground, 2,200 Marines on the way, we're told. There are about 9,100 peacekeepers and military police in Haiti. But where are they on the streets? Today, in downtown Port-au-Prince, we got a slice of what might be to come, some of the looting that has been feared, that we haven't seen widespread. We haven't seen it on many days and we haven't seen it in many parts of the city.

But, today, in the downtown part, in an area of shops and businesses destroyed by the earthquake, this is what we saw. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): On center street in downtown Port-au-Prince today, a warning on how bad things can get. Haitian police fire in the air trying to scare off looters who broke into a damaged store last week.

(on camera): There are two Haitian police officers on the street corner, but they're kind of just standing by and watching. They're protecting a building over there. They don't really want to get involved in what's going on over here at this point. They just don't have enough police officers on scene.

So, it's become kind of a free-for-all. Kind of word is spreading in this neighborhood that there are items available. They're climbing up, grabbing whatever they -- they can. This could turn ugly very, very quickly.

(voice-over): They're not taking food. They're stealing boxes of candles. The young men on the roof take control and start charging others on the ground to receive the stolen goods.

Tony Bennett (ph), an American businessman, tries to keep the looting from spreading.

(on camera): You own one of these stores?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I own two of these. I think they're busted, too. This is why I came down with some weapons. We're trying to shoot it into the air. I'm going to have them shoot a couple of rounds.

COOPER: Where...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This, here in the air, yes. This is getting a little out of hand.

COOPER (voice-over): Tony signals for the police officer to fire in the air. It seems to work for a few seconds, but not much more than that. The policeman tries then use a piece of wood to control the crowd.

(on camera): This police officer is trying to insist that they -- they return the candles they have been stealing and that they come down. But they're not listening.

The looters are just sitting on top of the building basically waiting for this police officer to leave.

(voice-over): It doesn't take long. The block is now in the hands of the looters.

(on camera): The American businessman, Tony, has blocked off the street in front of his business, which is just about 300 feet away from where the main looting is occurring right now. So, he's used whatever debris he could find here, you know, an old table, some crates, pieces of vehicles.

And they have closed off this entire street. He has those two Haitian police officers with him here protecting his store. And, look, they have been able to bring in a truck, and they're quickly loading as many of the food supplies from his store into that truck, and then they're going to take it away before the looters can get to it.

Now, I don't know how widespread this is in this commercial area of Port-au-Prince. I have only been on this one spot, but I -- from here, I can tell you, I can see about 400 feet in that direction, and they are looting there as well.

(voice-over): As supplies start to dwindle at the store with the candles, the looters become even more determined to get what they can.

(on camera): The mood here is definitely starting to shift. Early on, there were a lot more women. Now it's really young men. And we're starting to see people walking around now with weapons, which we weren't seeing before.

(voice-over): A fight breaks out between a gang of man trying to steal from another man. One looter uses his belt to whip the man.

(on camera): Now, if somebody takes away something, others will try to grab it. It's basically a battle between -- to see who's stronger.

(voice-over): You can just see a chunk of concrete or rock thrown by one of the looters from the roof. A young boy is hit in the head. That's him there on the ground captured on my D.V. camera. If he stays there, he might get killed.

I pick him up. I carry him to the barricade. Blood is pouring from his head. He's clearly stunned and can't walk. I hand him over the barricade. He's carried away.

In the end, the store is emptied. The looters move on just down the street. We don't know what happened to that little boy. All we know now is, there's blood in the streets.


COOPER: Again, I don't want to paint a picture that that is happening all over Port-au-Prince, because it is not.

I know, for several days, it seems like I hear from folks in the States and on TV saying that, you know, that there's tension and frustration and violence. That's the first looting I have seen. And, again, I was in a two-block area. And it was happening on both streets.

But I don't have the sense it is happening all across Port-au- Prince, and I haven't heard reports that it is. However, it is a fear of what might come and it is part of the hesitation on the part of some relief agencies in terms of just handing out mass amounts of aid, without having security in place, without having organization and logistics in place, creating a kind of panic, creating a kind of frenzy that they can't control.

You see very -- very much in that piece just how quickly things can get out of control and people can get injured, and people can get killed.

There have been a lot of dramatic rescues over the last 24 and 48 hours, extraordinary rescues that, frankly, surprised a lot of very experienced rescue workers, the fact that some people could survive. We're going to show you how those people did survive.

We're also going to show you the incredible work that these search-and-rescue teams are doing around the clock, literally trying to save lives.

Also tonight, you can help the people of Haiti. "LARRY KING LIVE" had a fund-raiser tonight. Celebrities spent the night working the phones, taking donations, a number of celebrities. There are still people manning the phones to take in information.

I want to show you the numbers on the screen. All throughout these two hours, the numbers will still be on the screen. They have raised almost $5 million. It's not over. The phone banks are still open at the -- at UNICEF and the Red Cross. It's 1-800-4-UNICEF. For the American Red Cross, call 1-800-HELP-NOW. You can text Haiti to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross.

Coming up: searching for survivors. And some may still be out there. Hope is dwindling. The hours are long. With a rescue team -- we will take you out with a rescue team from the Los Angeles Fire Department, a remarkable rescue that we witnessed firsthand, trying to save lives.


COOPER: Well, you know, when you think about it, tomorrow, it will be a week since this earthquake hit. It happened Tuesday in the 5:00 hour last week. So, it's been nearly seven days, and it is extraordinary to think that there are still people out there in the rubble who may be, may be alive.

And I'm not trying to give false hope at all, but, over the last 24, 48 hours, we have seen some incredible rescues. It is not typical. It's -- and, mostly, it's because people are stuck in void spaces inside rubble. They have had access to food, in some cases, maybe even access to water.

There have been at least 75 people rescued beneath the rubble since the quake hit. That's a very small number when you consider all the people who are still out there trapped in the rubble, dead, their bodies not recovered, and, frankly, may never be recovered.

There are a number of search-and-rescue teams here who have descended on Port-au-Prince over the last week. There was a team from the Los Angeles County Fire Department who got here, they said, the day after the earthquake. And they have been out there every single day. They have rescued eight people when we went out with them.

This is what a rescue looks like. We wanted to take you up close. We just -- we were following around this rescue team, and our interpreter actually got called into action by the L.A. County Fire Department, Vlad Duthiers, because they didn't have a translator. And this is what we saw over the course of eight hours as they undertook a rescue. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): Minushka Polinis (ph) believes her daughter, Laka (ph), is alive, trapped in the rubble of this day care center. Have you heard your daughter?

Yes, she tells us, she heard her 10-year-old daughter just this morning. She's been trying to get someone to go through the building for four days. A search-and-rescue team from the L.A. County Fire Department has borrowed our interpreter, Vlad Duthiers, to call out for her daughter in French.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got somebody. We got -- we hear somebody.

COOPER: Believing they have heard a faint cry, the firefighters insert a listening device into the rubble.

Vlad is told to tell the victim to tap three times on whatever is nearby.




COOPER (on camera): They have heard a very faint tapping sound, so they -- they think she's alive. But there's so much noise around, it's very hard to tell. So, they're -- now they're bringing in one of the dogs to see if the dog will pick up a scent.

(voice-over): Jasmine Seguar's (ph) dog is named Maverick, specially trained to pick up the smell of a living human trapped in debris.

(on camera): What happened with the dog?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Showing some interest, but not a strong alert of a sign of live human scent. He wasn't showing -- he wasn't giving that to us.

COOPER (voice-over): It is possible for a living victim to be so deeply buried, the dog can't smell them, so the team decides to go further in.

(on camera): What they're doing right now is -- is painstakingly difficult and dangerous. It's like moving around pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but a jigsaw puzzle that can fall on top of you and kill you or crush the person you're trying to save. They have to be very careful about what blocks they remove and in what order they remove them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're always thinking aftershocks. I mean, that's our first concern. Second is, is the structure still intact?

COOPER (voice-over): Unsure exactly which direction to dig, they once again try to get the little girl to tap.


COOPER: Again, it seems they get a tapping response. A crowd gathers. So do others with pictures of their loved ones they believe may also be trapped inside. Another dog is brought in, a border collie named Hunter.


COOPER: Despite Minushka's silent prayers, Hunter finds nothing.

(on camera): They have now been at this for about three hours. The last dog that they brought in didn't get any hits.

(voice-over): But, around the other side of the building, two firefighters have crawled into another small hole and are convinced they have just heard something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you hear? What did you hear?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely distinct.

COOPER: Distinct tapping?

This is the best possible news. They have just gotten a tap. This little girl, or at least somebody, is alive down there. It's -- it's incredible.

What goes through your mind when you hear that sound after working on this for so many hours?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That it's time to go to work. It's time to go to work and move to see if we can find her, do our job.

COOPER: The clock is ticking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The clock is ticking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bolt cutters and snips.

COOPER (voice-over): After seven hours on site, however, they stop hearing tapping. A third dog is brought in and finds nothing alive.

(on camera): Two hours ago or so, when -- when -- when you guys heard distinctive tapping, is it possible that was just ambient noise?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It -- it very well could have been.

COOPER: The other possibility is that a person expires, that they tap at one point, and then they're no longer able to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is true. This is -- we're four days into it without food or water. And we're talking about possibly a 10- year-old girl. And there's -- only every human has their limits.

COOPER (voice-over): Their last hope is to lower several microphones in different parts of the building.

(on camera): They have now placed four microphones in separate locations on the ground floor in the rubble. This is a critical moment. If they hear something, they will continue working. If they don't get any response, they're going to stop the operation.


COOPER (voice-over): In the movies, this is when a small sound would be heard, a faint tap, a child's cry. But this is Haiti. And this is real. And, despite their best hopes, they hear no sound of life.

They break the news to Minushka and the others. The search is over, they tell them. There's no one left alive.

Minushka asks for one more dog search. Her wish is granted. It doesn't take long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Jas (ph). Thanks, Caddy (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jas, thanks. Thanks, Caddy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, basically, they're saying there's no hope?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct. At this location, there's no one alive here.

COOPER (voice-over): After four days of waiting, crying, and hoping, trying to get anyone to come to her aid, Minushka refuses to believe her daughter and her classmates are gone. "The children aren't dead," she says. "They might be in a coma, but they're alive. I believe they're still alive. Come by tomorrow and check for us, won't you, please? The kids are alive. They aren't dead. I will wait for you tomorrow."

Tomorrow, the team will not come back here. There are other buildings to check, other families still waiting. The searches go on, but, on this site, they're done.


COOPER: How much time back?

We're here with Ivan Watson. Ivan's been spending a lot of time covering these rescue missions.

That mission ended in just incredible sadness, that poor mom, who is probably still out there waiting for some other rescuers to come. And, of course, there's just no chance that her little child is alive. What have you seen over the last 48 hours, 72 hours?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was amazing. After all the death and destruction we have seen here, last night, in the ruins of a supermarket, we saw two people pulled out by a rescue team from Florida and from Turkey.

They pulled out a 30-year-old man, a 40-year-old woman, both Haitians. They had been trapped for five days. And when they came out, one man, he waved his hand. He gave a thumb's up. And the rescue worker said, if you were going to be trapped somewhere for five days, best place to be is in a supermarket.

COOPER: And that -- I mean, that's really why they survived. They were able to access food. And if they didn't get water directly, they were able to get some liquids through that food, right?

WATSON: The -- the man, when he came out, the first thing he told the rescue workers was, I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly.

COOPER: It's unbelievable.

We have getting a lot of e-mails just in the -- when I started -- I have just started getting e-mails, frankly -- from people saying, you know, please go to the Montana Hotel. There are people still trapped there.

There's a lot of rumors floating around. And I haven't been up to the Montana Hotel, but, of all the locations that's probably the most searched, most visited by rescue teams. So, I -- people have been sending me those e-mails. And I don't want them to think I'm ignoring it. But that is an area that has certainly -- has been under intense focus, correct?

WATSON: Absolutely. And we have seen a lot of crews up there. There was somebody pulled out of the U.N. headquarters yesterday. And, at the location where we were, at the supermarket, different crews have come in and then left, said, we have -- we can't find anybody else. And then another crew will come in from another contingent and actually make contact. And that's how they found these five people over a period of 24 hours.

The really -- the sad thing is, at that location, the supermarket, there are about 50 people doing an agonizing vigil waiting for any possible information about their loved ones they believe are stuck inside, including, one couple, their daughter's car is parked in front of the rubble. And they haven't seen her, and they're just sitting there, waiting, hoping, praying, for any news.

COOPER: These rescue crews are incredible heroes. The men and women that we hung out with from the L.A. County Fire Department are just extraordinary men and women who are incredibly dedicated.

There are a lot of questions, though, being raised about, you know, why didn't some of these teams get in sooner? Those L.A. Folks got in the day after. But a lot of the teams didn't arrive in that 72-hour window, when they would have liked to have arrived, frankly.

And some people now are raising questions, you know, was there too much emphasis put on, well, we need to assess a situation and figure out logistics before we send in teams? We're going to talk about that ahead.

Up next, also, a young girl's life hanging in the balance, Dr. Sanjay Gupta called in to actually perform story, we will tell you that story, a lot more ahead.

The phone lines are still open for UNICEF -- they're on the screen -- and the American Red Cross.

Our coverage continues in a moment.


COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with me now.

Sanjay, you have had an extraordinary day. You were actually out performing surgery today.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It was -- it was an interesting story.

This young girl, 12-year-old girl, Kimberly, she had been injured in the earthquake. She had a piece of shrapnel actually went through her skull into her brain. Rescue workers found her, and they took her out to the -- to the carrier, the Carl Vinson.

And, when she got there, they realized that they were going to need a neurosurgeon. What was interesting was, they couldn't find one anyway nearby, but they had been watching our coverage and realized that they could call CNN and see if they could get ahold of me. And that's how that whole thing transpired. I went out to the airport. And they brought a chopper in and flew me out there. And we performed the operation. And I'm happy to tell you she's doing really, really well, which is -- which is really gratifying.

But that's essentially what happened. She's a delightful girl, 12 years old...

COOPER: It's incredible.

GUPTA: ... really, really point, and -- but just one of the many, as you know, Anderson, who needs help like this.

COOPER: What do you think is the problem here? I mean, why aren't -- why haven't more doctors gotten here faster to where they need to be?

GUPTA: Yes, I don't know the answer to that. And I have asked a lot of people that, including the former president today. I mean, this seems to be a real coordination problem.

COOPER: I mean, there could be doctors who came down on that JetBlue flight I came down on Tuesday night...

GUPTA: Right.

COOPER: ... and who could have crossed over the border from the Dominican Republic Wednesday morning...

GUPTA: Right now, yes.

COOPER: ... and -- with a van -- and started doing stuff.

GUPTA: I don't understand it.

And even if the general hospital, which is a hospital a lot of people have been focused on, today -- and it's almost hard to even describe this, but the doctors are saying, they came here. They need to do amputations. As we know, that's a common procedure being performed.

They literally had to go buy hacksaws from -- I mean -- I'm sorry -- hacksaws from a supply store, vodka to sterilize it. And they're using these dissociative anesthetics called ketamine, which isn't really, truly a painkiller. It just sort of disassociates your mind from your body. That's really -- it's horrifying to think about.

COOPER: And, I mean, again, that's something that could have been done six -- five days ago, four days ago, even three days ago, and lives could have been saved.

And I know it's not -- the doctors want to do it.

GUPTA: Right.

COOPER: But I get the sense that a lot of these big aid organizations, like the U.N., you know, they say like, oh, we have to have an assessment team assess the needs. And that's going to take time. Then we make the order, and rather than just -- you know, Doctors Without Borders gets people in. They had a surgical unit they wanted flown in, wasn't allowed to be flown in and now has to be driven across the border from the Dominican Republic.

GUPTA: I know. It's crazy.

And as you and I have been talking about, you know, minutes and hours is how medical relief is measured. Anybody could say whatever they want to say about how long it's going to take for aid to get in and do the assessments, like you're saying, but people are dying in the meantime.

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: I mean, that's -- it's simple as that. There are lot of preventable deaths happening.

This is different than the tsunami, which you and I covered, because, in that, people either lived or they died. And if you died -- people who lived, they needed basic supplies, like food or water, but they weren't dramatically injured and about to die, like the people here. And it's -- I can sense your frustration. And I'm -- and I'm equally frustrated.

COOPER: We -- I was out in Leogane yesterday with my team. Karl Penhaul was there as well. He saw, you know, four doctors from MSF, Doctors Without Borders, which are, frankly, one of my favorite aid organizations. I think they do tremendous work. They are always on the pointy edge of the spear in terms of getting to places.

And they had just got into Leogane because, you know, they had so much to deal with here in Port-au-Prince. But Leogane is only like an hour away. It's not as if it's like, you know, crossing a mountain. And, really, virtually, no other aid organizations, except World Food Program, the day before, had started giving out some food there.

And that -- that place has been decimated. They had absolutely nothing in terms of international aid.

GUPTA: You were here Wednesday morning.

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: And I came later in that day, Wednesday. I don't understand it. I mean, you got it. I got in eventually. I mean, it's just -- I don't -- I don't get it.

I think people understand the need. I mean, they must...

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: ... at this point, right?

COOPER: Right. Well, I just think it's -- it's people -- some -- I don't know. I don't know what it is. I mean...

GUPTA: The supplies may be a little bit easier to explain, because it's bigger trucks. And there's been some coordination problems...


COOPER: Right. I get heavy equipment. I get huge amounts of medical supplies. But a couple vans of medical supplies early on could have saved lives. You know, a van full of antibiotics...

GUPTA: Right. Right. And people are -- will die of secondary infections. They already have died of secondary infections.

You know, I -- it's scary to go back out there. And people always talk about the second wave after one of these natural disasters. I have actually never seen the second wave. They talked about it would happened after the tsunami. It really didn't.

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: But it's -- there's a real threat of it here.

COOPER: It's incredibly frustrating. And it's more than frustrating. You know, it's life and death, and people are dying and it's -- you know, it's -- it boggles the mind.

We're going to have more with Sanjay in a moment. When Belgium doctors abandoned the field hospital that Sanjay was at -- this happened on Friday night, if you were watching the program. We're going to show you what happened. Sanjay ended up basically treating 25 patients solo, because the doctors had been ordered away because of concerns over security. You know, Sanjay's there at night, you know, with a small team of people.

Anyway, we'll have an update on the situation and try to figure out exactly what happened and who's responsible for that.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The situation is beyond desperate at this point. The disaster was the quake, but this is the disaster that's following in its wake. And these patients were so thankful to have lived through the quake, and now they're slowly dying in these hospitals. We're desperate.


COOPER: The disaster that follows the quake. And frankly, that is what we continue to see. I mean, as I guess we saw in Katrina, a natural disaster, and then we see man-made disasters. You know, it's a completely different situation. This is not the United States. There's not the infrastructure that we would expect in the United States. The U.S. government is not responsible for, you know, the -- governing Haiti and, yet, you know, there are ships offshore. There's a lot of expectation of aid, and a lot of people are still dying. And that is the bottom line, you know, at the end of every single sentence. People who don't need to are still dying.

Sanjay has seen the shortage up close. Friday if you were watching the program -- I hope you were -- Sanjay worked all night to care for more than two dozen patients in a field hospital. He was the only doctor remaining after a Belgium medical team had left the hospital because someone there had some security concerns or their boss, I guess, the man who was in charge of them, had some security concerns.

Some patients had just had surgery. Sanjay's new team assisted that person. Take a look at what happened on Friday.


GUPTA: There is a patient here who had significant, what's called necrosis, where parts of her leg had died as a result of crush injury. I, without laboratories, am trying to assess what's best for her.

There's another patient over here who had a significant injury resulting in amputation. And we're trying to take care of her, as well. Literally trying to do the best that we can with what limited supplies they have left me. I have a stethoscope, and I'm monitoring these patients' vital signs best that I can. But looking for some help.

Let me just show you, again, an ambulance now pulling in. They have nowhere to go. This is it. And, frankly, I am it right now, because there are no doctors or other nurses here. Trying to tell them that we are completely -- we're left in a lurch here. We just don't have the supplies to take care of the patients.

One of the most frustrating things I think I've ever been involved with and feel really helpless. We're going to see what we can do.


COOPER: I don't know how you didn't just start screaming at the top of your lungs. Because I mean, I can't imagine dealing with that situation. Why did they pull out?

GUPTA: You know, it wasn't even clear at the time. I mean, it often happens with large groups of people. You have differing people saying different things.

And on the one hand, they said the U.N. was asking them to leave. That's what they told us. We really got to the bottom of it. Gary Tuchman, actually, went back there the next day and helped get to the bottom of it.

They say the Belgium doctors, at least the head Belgium doctor, said they were concerned about security. And they went to the U.N. and said, "Can you secure this compound?"

And what they were told was, "We cannot secure the compound, but we can evacuate you." And that was -- the patients were left in the lurch.

COOPER: I was told by someone else from a major relief organization today -- I'm not going to say which one -- that, unless they get, you know, security from somebody, U.S. or U.N., they're not going to hand out food.

And, you know, it's a fine line. It's easy for me to say, well, they should just hand out food. You know, they don't want to create a riot. They don't want -- as we saw today, things can quickly escalate, and people can get killed in the crush or the crowd as tempers flare.

But at the same time, there's got to be some balance between not being so cautious that you just pull out in the theoretical chance that someone may get injured, your doctors may get injured. You have certain knowledge that some of those people are going to die.

GUPTA: There was a complete lack of common sense here, and there was some pretty easy solutions, as well. They could have taken the patients with them. They could have left maybe one or two doctors behind. Maybe they couldn't secure 50 to 100 people, but they probably could have secured, you know, a handful of doctors to take care of those patients. There were all sorts of potential solutions.

But there was such a, I think, sort of group-think mentality that took place.

And I should say, Anderson, and you and I talked about this on Friday. I think many of the doctors were really, really disappointed.

COOPER: Oh, absolutely. No doubt about it. Doctors come halfway around the world. They want to be here; they want to do the work. It's not as if they're -- you know, they're individually scared.

GUPTA: The next morning they did come back. And one of the doctors, Steven -- I only know his first name -- he came up to me, and he was someone I had reported on the day before. And I immediately started telling him what I did for the patients overnight to give him sort of a sign-out.

And he stopped me at one point. He just said, "I have never been so embarrassed to be a Belgium in my life." That's what he said to me. And he was very emotional, and I think he clearly wanted to stay. I think maybe a lot of the doctors did. But this is the problem. And you know, there were very critically ill patients there.

You know, this -- this is one example. I don't know if this happens at other times because of the bureaucracy, because of just a lack of common sense.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, I don't want to sound like I'm imputing the motives of individuals. I'm certainly not. Because I do think anyone who's here wants to be here and wants to do the work and wants to save lives.

But I do think some of these big organizations, you know, plans are made in some other country, you know, back in Geneva or whatever. And by the time it gets filtered down and the bureaucracy gets involved and there's, you know, a million chiefs involved, just days have been wasted when, you know, you could just kind of get folks and get out there. Roll up your sleeves and just start doing it.

GUPTA: I can't believe that people -- people on the ground, who actually see this with their own eyes, aren't empowered enough to make the decisions.

COOPER: Right. That's exactly -- right. That's exactly right.

GUPTA: People back home who have no idea...


GUPTA: ... are making these decisions, and they're just not the right decisions sometimes.

COOPER: Sanjay, appreciate it as always.

More from here shortly. We're live into the midnight hour. We have so many stories. We have so many correspondents fanned out. We're really trying to take you into the streets of Port-au-Prince as much as possible, telling you these stories in the most unfiltered way possible. We just want you to see and feel and sense what it is like being here.

There's also a major story back home, of course: the special election tomorrow in Massachusetts. Could affect health-care reform for all of us. A report about that and a lot more from Haiti.


COOPER: Well, it may seem a world away from where we are right now, but a crucial election tomorrow in Massachusetts. Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown, of course, running for the late Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat. Pivotal for two reasons, of course. Health-care reform needs 60 votes. Coakley would be the 60th. And second elections become a flash point for dissatisfaction with the economy and with the Obama presidency.

Jessica Yellin joins us now from Boston.

Jessica, you have a well-known, well-funded Democrat in Massachusetts, running to fill the seat held for nearly half a century by Ted Kennedy. At first glance, you'd assume she'd win that with a walk. What's happened? JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, first of all, compared to what you are seeing there in Haiti and what people are going through, this does seem insignificant to some extent, and that really does put everything in perspective.

That said, I can tell you here in Massachusetts this election, what is about to happen tomorrow, could be tectonic for American politics, for President Obama and for what it means for every single American and their health care.

So you ask how did we get here? What happened? Bottom line is, like so many voters around the nation, folks here in Massachusetts are feeling angry and scared. They're angry and scared about the economy, about jobs, about taxes, terrorism and the fears over that. Even, and especially in this state, about health-care reform in Washington, D.C.

The Republican in this state is a man named Scott Brown. He was a little-known state senator. And he has tapped into that fear and sold himself essentially as a man of the people who will fight big government and especially fight President Obama's health-care reform.

Meantime, the Democrat, Martha Coakley, who was a well-known attorney general and until even a few weeks ago quite popular and well-liked by Democrats, has run a very weak campaign with crucial and silly, even, missteps and has been the establishment candidate, the opposite of what President Obama and the Democrats were just a year ago.

And if she loses tomorrow, and the polls do not look good for the Democrats, it could be devastating for President Obama's agenda going forward and especially for health-care reform, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, yes. I mean, it obviously has big national implications. Scott Brown wins and the Democrats, you know, lose the supermajority. The agenda, basically, health-care reform, that's, what, dead for now?

YELLIN: It's on life support at best. Bottom line, they would not have enough votes to pass it in the Senate. And they have to find a way, some procedural ways, some very politically-unappealing ways around that which seem very unlikely.

And it means if the Democrat wins -- loses tomorrow President Obama's health-reform agenda, which he spent most of his first year working on, could be dead in the water.

And what's so ironic about it is it would be because of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. Ted Kennedy, who helped President Obama become president and who championed health-care reform his whole life. So deeply ironic and Democrats are hoping they don't face that -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's a fascinating development. We'll be following it closely, especially tomorrow, on the program. You'll be joining us for that. Let's get caught up on some of the other important stories we're following. Joe Johns joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, here in Washington the date is finally set. President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address next Wednesday, January 27, at 9 p.m. Eastern.

A major car recall. About 24,000 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles might have a broken part that could suddenly have an unexpected brake failure.

Back to President Obama. He and the first family marked this Martin Luther King Jr. Day by volunteering at a soup kitchen near the White House. Then the president and the first lady visited the American Red Cross headquarters to thank workers for their efforts helping quake victims in Haiti. The organization has raised more than $100 million so far in donations.

And Anderson, where you are, we all see why.

COOPER: Yes, Joe, appreciate that.

Coming up, saving the orphans. Hundreds of children now in desperate need for food, water, medicine. Some are being flown to the United States. Sobrien [SIC]-- Soledad O'Brien is live from one orphanage, coming up next.


COOPER: We've been getting so many e-mails, and as I said, I just started getting your e-mails. So I'm not going to be able to respond. I'm flooded with e-mails from people with pleas, sending me photos of their loved ones and their relatives they want me to search for. We try to do the best we can.

A lot of folks say go to the Good Shepard orphanage out in Karpor (ph). We did that just the other day. We'll show you some of that a little later on. You know, the kids there were safe. They're sleeping outside. They have food. They have enough rice for a week. They have water. Relatively speaking, they're doing OK.

But the fate of Haiti's kids has captivated much of the attention of the world. More than 60 orphanages in the country. The "Washington Post" reports that between 800 and 900 kids were in the process of being adopted by parents in the United States at the time the earthquake hit.

Soledad O'Brien is at an orphanage, Maison -- you know, my French is terrible. Soledad, what is the name of the orphanage where you are?

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: My French is bad, too. It's Maison D'Enfants de Dieu, the House of Children of God. And so this is what it's come to. Same thing you saw at Karpor (ph), which is everybody's outside. Even though the building looks like it's pretty structurally safe, what you have are a bunch of very frightened people. So they've moved outside.

I'm going to move out of the shot a little bit, Anderson, so you can see what's certainly a sight that really sort of surprised and shocked us quite a bit, which were these babies. They're in a truck, and these women stay up all night with them, watching 25 babies, 15 girls, 10 boys.

The big problem here, of course, is really the things that they're lacking. They have supplies for four days, but they're running out of formula. And so what they have is this milk powder. But you can't feed a baby milk powder. You give a baby milk powder, the baby develops diarrhea. The baby develops diarrhea, that means they start getting dehydrated. So that is a big, big problem here, because these babies, as they get dehydrated, it's the classic story: survive the earthquake, but then the medical problems put you at risk for dying, even though you made it through the original impact. So that's really the concern here.

The guy who runs the place is named Pierre, and he told me that they had food for four days. And then around noon a guy drove up and dropped off some more supplies. So now probably I'd say six days, and then they run out of everything: rice, diesel, water, the formula now, and milk. They're really in dire straits. They'd like to get an air lift out, but they -- they don't exactly know how you go about doing that.

COOPER: Well, what about adoptions that were in process? And not all orphanages in Haiti do adoptions. Some are orphanages where kids are raised and live and grow up. But any chance that at least some of the kids are going to be reunited with the -- or united with the adoptive parents?

O'BRIEN: We heard that Governor Rendell came in and took 28 kids, I believe, out to the embassy and then out of the country. So I believe that's from another orphanage that we visited earlier today as well, and we got a note that that had happened. So that's a small percentage of the kids that are there.

They have 200 toddlers there, some in the process of being adopted out.

What's happened, we're told, is that the paperwork has stopped. You've seen the government buildings that have collapsed. Anything that had some kind of paperwork inside becomes problematic. Also, if it's an orphanage that had paperwork and it has collapsed, that's also problematic. So I think that things, at least at this moment, are in limbo.

There is an option to do what they did with the Pedro pans (ph) when Castro came into power, which is to evacuate the kids. The Catholic Church took a big hand in that. There's been some sort of talk about that. And the Department of Homeland Security sort of cleared the way potentially to do that, but at this moment have not heard anything specifically. No specific plans about that.

COOPER: So it's going to be another night sleeping outside for the kids where Soledad is and for a lot of orphans in Haiti, no doubt, tonight. Soledad O'Brien, thank you very much.

Coming up, we're going to have more on adopting Haiti's kids. You can update -- we're going to update you on a story that we told you about Friday night. Six orphans were flown to Florida. Dozens more may follow. Gary Tuchman is live with the latest.


COOPER: Gary Tuchman has been working around the clock for the last couple days in Haiti, following the stories of orphans here.

On Friday, we told you the story of the Bresma (ph) orphanage, which is just outside of Port-au-Prince. It's been severely damaged. A hundred and fifty kids in the care of two women from Pennsylvania. They've been, you know, low on supplies and water.

Gary Tuchman reported on them on Friday. Six kids were flown to Florida this evening to awaiting adoptive parents. Gary takes a look at -- brings us up to date on the latest with that orphanage right now.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Port-au- Prince airport, a momentous day for six children who had lived in an orphanage. They received expedited approval to fly to the U.S. to the parents who had been in the process of adopting them.

Mose (ph), holding hands with his sister, Diana. Then there is Claudia and little Ethan and even littler Jenna, the tiniest of the group. Thirteen-year-old Gertrude is the elder stateswoman.

(on camera) Little Jenna has lived in Port-au-Prince her whole life. She will now be going to the Rocky Mountains, moving to Colorado.

(voice-over) With her mother, Elizabeth, who will be at the Sanford Airport near Orlando to meet all the children.

We visited these children and about 20 others just after the quake. They had been living and sleeping outdoors since their orphanage was partially destroyed in the earthquake. There were fears their adoptions would be postponed indefinitely because of the quake. But the State Department says it's now trying to speed the process for children going to American families.

LT. COL. RANDON DRAPER, U.S. AIR FORCE: It's a teamwork effort. I mean, there's a lot of moving parts in that coming together that contingency response wing, the State Department, the CNN crews, the U.N., a lot of people back in the states and that, working together.

TUCHMAN: All six children safely strapped into their Air Force seats, calmly prepared to begin their new lives. Before taking off, we looked at a bracelet given to Gertrude by her new mother. One of the charms says, "Daughter." A little over two hours later, the children arrived in Florida in relatively chilly Florida. And the Gertrude, the girl with the "daughter" charm, officially became the daughter of Melissa, and Jenna was hugged tightly by her mother from Colorado, Elizabeth. It was an emotional and joyous scene, far different from the scenes they left.

(on camera) By telling this story we have the moral obligation to talk about the other side of it. And that is the countless new orphans this country now has.

We're told by this woman standing here, who's not related to this little boy, that his mother died in the earthquake, and he was found inside the house. He's in very serious condition, and we don't even know his name.

(voice-over) Haitian orphans will be in the news for a long time to come. But we're so pleased we're able to tell you the story of these children, who now have new families and new hope.


COOPER: And Gary joins us now. So governor -- Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell actually flew here with a plane?

TUCHMAN: Governor Ed Rendell came tonight, flew into Port-au- Prince, because the orphanage we're talking about is run by two women from Pennsylvania. He wanted to bring orphans back to Pennsylvania to give to their parents.

We have some good news and disappointing news to report tonight. We watched 54 orphans come out of the U.S. embassy about two hours ago. The thought was, among the two women who run the orphanage and Governor Rendell, that all 54 could go back to Pennsylvania, but there's only been approval for 28 of them.

The girls -- the women who run the orphanage are very disappointed. They wanted all 54 to go together. They were very concerned if they didn't all go together the others ones would be forgotten about. So first, they said, "We don't want you to bring any if you can't bring all of them."

But the governor's staff said, "We could only bring 28 of the 54." The decision was made. Twenty-eight are on their way to Pennsylvania. The other 26 are back at the orphanage tonight.

COOPER: I think it's, you know -- it's remarkable and great that these kids are OK. It, I mean, does raise a question about who's making decisions about what planes get in and what planes get out.

You know, Doctors Without Borders yesterday pointed out that their mobile surgical unit, which they wanted to fly in, didn't get permission to land, and they had to fly to Santo Domingo. And then they had to drive it across, wasting many, many hours, costing who knows how many lives theoretically.

And yet, governor of Pennsylvania, with great intentions, is able to get a plane in to take a number of orphans out. And, again, it's a great cause. But I'm just curious. I don't know -- maybe it's something we should start looking into it, like who's making decisions about what planes get to land here?

TUCHMAN: I think it's fair to say that you will see few more chaotic situations than what's happening in Haiti.

COOPER: Right.

TUCHMAN: No one knows who's making decisions. Decisions are made, and you ask someone, "Who made that decision?"

They go, "I don't know. I just heard that." It's like a game of telephone. You don't know where it's coming from, who's making these decisions.

COOPER: Again -- and I mean, again, you know, orphans in need is important, but, you know, could they be cared for, for an extra week with a few more supplies here before planes can taken them out?

TUCHMAN: So complicated what's going on here.

COOPER: Yes. Appreciate it, Gary. Thank you very much. I know I'm going to get a lot of angry e-mails for that. I like orphans very much, and I want all the orphans...

TUCHMAN: We all like orphans a lot.

COOPER: More from -- I'm just trying to raise some questions here about what is going on, because there is so much confusion here. It's hard to know who's making these decisions and are these the right decisions being made? As much as possible, you know, we're just trying to raise questions here, just trying to keep them honest.

More from Haiti at the top of the hour. We're going to show you some of what we saw. It's a slice of what happened today in Port-au- Prince on the streets in downtown. Not enough security for food, for medical help, stores being looted. We'll show you -- and what's being done about it, coming up.