Return to Transcripts main page

American Morning

Horror in Haiti; Haitian Girl's Amazing Story of Survival; Haiti President Now Homeless; US Students in Haiti when Quake Hit; Top Bankers Admit Mistakes; Eyewitness to Disaster; Massive Rescue and Relief Efforts in Haiti; Goldman Under Fire for Financial Meltdown

Aired January 14, 2010 - 06:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING on this Thursday, January 14th. Glad you're with us. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. Thanks very much for joining us on the Most News in the Morning.

We are following the rescue and relief mission going on right now in Haiti. We've got every angle of that covered for you this morning. Our correspondents on the ground, ready to bring us all of the breaking developments. And here's where we begin.

Help is finally on the way. Cargo planes from around the world scrambling to send food, water and medical supplies. But it is a race against time as it always is in these situations. Countless victims still trapped this morning. While relief workers wait, they're turning pickup trucks into ambulances and doors into stretchers.

CHETRY: Even the president of Haiti is now homeless. In his first on-camera interview since the quake hit, he told Dr. Sanjay Gupta that he has no idea where he will sleep. He gives a stunning firsthand account of just how dire the situation is for the nation, for his people and for himself.

ROBERTS: And eyewitnesses to disaster, powerful images pouring in from the social networks and i-Reporters across Haiti. The web is also becoming a virtual bulletin board just for people trying to locate their loved ones and find out if they are still even alive.

CHETRY: And it's 36 hours after that earthquake shook the Port- au-Prince and it crumbled. Help finally on its way to Haiti this morning. The clock, though, is ticking.

Survivors are setting up makeshift tents. They're sifting through the rubble for food, and sadly, bodies are piling up on every block. On street after street, you can still hear the cries of trapped survivors, echo from the broken concrete. One hundred thousand people or more may be dead. And those who lived through it -- for those who lived through it, relief can't come soon enough. We want to warn you that some of the images you're about to see are quite disturbing. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHETRY (voice-over): The rumor spread quickly. Clean drinking water had arrived. Within seconds, mobs were racing down the street. But there was no water. The rumor wasn't true.

For many who survived Tuesday's earthquake, this park is now home. It's a place to sleep. But when they awaken -- scenes like this are waiting for them.

There's no shortage of misery in Port-au-Prince this morning. People are still trapped everywhere, tangled in debris and desperate for help. For many, help did not and will not come soon enough.

For others, this is the best medical care available for now. The destruction, the anguish in Port-au-Prince is unimaginable. At least 16 United Nations peacekeepers died in the quake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need more people down here.

CHETRY: More than 140 U.N. workers are missing. No one is optimistic they'll be found alive.

Cargo planes from the U.S. and around the world are headed to Haiti with food, water, medical supplies and rescue equipment. The first plane carrying part of a U.S. military assessment team is already on the ground. But former President Bill Clinton, the U.N. special envoy to Haiti, says getting help to so many victims will be a huge challenge.

BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't even have good cell phone coverage with everyone down there now. We're doing our best to get the communications and the logistics set up. But I think you will see an awful lot of progress in just a couple of days.


CHETRY: And again, the U.S. aircraft carrier "Carl Vinson" as well as a large contingent of American helicopters and planes should be arriving in Haiti. They're due to arrive within hours.

The U.S. is also deploying a large amphibious ship carrying a 2,000-person Marine unit as well as helicopters. They should be in Haiti this weekend. And four other large U.S. ships are also preparing for deployment to Haiti, and that includes the Navy's "USNS Comfort," which is a floating military hospital.

ROBERTS: We want to show you some exclusive video that was obtained by CNN. It was shot just after the earthquake hit. The dramatic images show people dazed, wandering the streets, while others are literally trapped in an avalanche of concrete and steel.

Now we should warn you that some of the video you're about to see is graphic, but we think it's important for you to see some of the images of the overwhelming devastation. CHETRY: One witness describes the situation in Haiti as scenes from hell. Our Susan Candiotti got a first-hand look at the devastation in the Haitian capital, and she filed this report from the air over Port-au-Prince.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So as soon as we land, we're going to report live as to what's going on. We're finally getting on to a helicopter in Santo Domingo to make our way to Port- au-Prince. Let's go.

We're on our way now. We just took off from Santo Domingo, and now we are headed toward Haiti. As you know, the two countries share a common border. When we pass that border and get closer to Port-au- Prince, we ought to be able to start to see much of the damage from the earthquake.

Looking over here, I see smoke. Can we get a little closer to that area so I could see where the smoke is coming from? And we're going to try to look and see at some of the homes.

I do see some cars on the highway. I shouldn't say highway, I should say some cars passing on the road. Most of these roads are very bumpy, very rocky. They're not -- there are not a lot of paved roads here.

There's a house here that he is saying collapsed. We're circling around. Here's a collapsed house and we're coming around right here.

Here's another one right down here. You can just see the pancaking that took place there. There is no way of knowing at this time whether anyone was inside their house. We see a lot of evidence of that now. Bricks collapsed, there's another one. You could see the steel. The rebar remaining on some of these things. Occasionally I can see people standing below.


ROBERTS: Those are big houses up on the hill. She said you can see the rebar which means that they were reinforced concrete. You can imagine the scenes throughout the city. Many of these just very shoddily constructed buildings.

CHETRY: Absolutely. And we have many of our journalists on the ground there in Port-au-Prince, including our Anderson Cooper, who's one of the first there on the ground. And here's what his crew said. They basically said that what they saw when they got there defies description.

ROBERTS: Yes. They found people literally digging with their hands trying to get people out of the collapsed buildings. You know, they hear somebody yell, and so they'd go in there. Sometimes they had shovels and axes. In many cases, though, they had nothing but, you know, their hands and their fingernails to scrape through that rubble. Here now one teenage girl's amazing story of survival. Watch this.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC 360" (voice-over): Atop a pile of rubble that used to be a building, we find a small group of men who have been digging here for more than five hours to rescue a teenage girl. Her feet are the only part of her still visible.

(on camera): It's a 13-year-old girl who is trapped here. Her name is Bea (ph). She's clearly alive. You can hear her crying out. You can see two of her feet at this point. They've been able to -- [speaking in a foreign language]

She's clearly in pain. They discovered her early this morning and it's now past 12:00, and they're still digging. It's not clear how they're going to get her out. They only have this one shovel. They don't have any heavy earth moving equipment.

They have to be very careful, though, because they're moving. They moved this big slab that seems to be on top of her, and that other stones, other pieces of cement could fall on her. So they're arguing over what to do next.

(voice-over): This brother can do anything, but he stands by listening to his sister's cries. This man says his father is also trapped in the building but is already dead.

"I don't have a father anymore," he cries. "Gone. Had I been in the house, I wouldn't be here anymore either." Worried more aftershocks may come and destroy the building even more, these family and friends work frantically. Finally, after being trapped for more than 18 hours, the men make a small hole and pull Bea (ph) out. She is alive. She is finally free.


CHETRY: Just breaks your heart. I mean, amazing that they were able to do that.

ROBERTS: It's incredible when you see her come out, she literally is not hurt at all. And they spent the next few minutes just sort of brushing the dust out of her hair. But trapped in the building like that, you could see that her leg was pinned and she comes out literally without a scratch.

CHETRY: It's all faith, and you hear them arguing back and forth, because Anderson was saying fear is not only if they move one thing, is something else going to collapse on top of them, but also the aftershocks. So as this scene is playing out, some with a happy ending like that, but many times not.

ROBERTS: Yes. You can imagine repeated thousands of times most likely across that area this morning. CHETRY: Well, Anderson Cooper is going to be in Port-au-Prince this morning as well. He's going to be joining us live and we're going to be speaking with him on the very latest. Hopefully more aid making its way in to the people that need it, and he's going to be joining us in about two hours.

ROBERTS: And Haiti's government taking a hit with this latest catastrophe. In a matter of moments, recent progress towards social stability was literally wiped out.

CHETRY: Yes, Haiti's president himself is now homeless. And in an exclusive interview with our Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he talked about the much bigger problems he has to deal with.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What are you doing here at the airport?


GUPTA: So you don't have a home?

PREVAL: No, I came here to work. But they told me that I cannot work here because it's not safe. So I'm going home.

GUPTA: You're going to go back to your home. Are you able to live in the palace or is it completely destroyed?

PREVAL: I cannot live in the palace. I cannot live in my own house, because the two collapsed.

GUPTA: Where are you going go tonight?

PREVAL: I don't know.

GUPTA: It's striking, the president of this country doesn't know where he's going to sleep tonight.

PREVAL: No. I have plenty of time to look for a bed. But now I am working how to rescue the people. But sleeping is not a problem.

GUPTA: What have you seen with your own eyes? How bad a situation is it?

PREVAL: It's incredible. You have to see it to believe it. A lot of houses destroyed. Hospital, schools, personal homes, a lot of people in the street dead.

GUPTA: You've seen this with your own eyes?

PREVAL: The earthquake took place yesterday at 5:00 and I'm still --

GUPTA: In the same clothes.

PREVAL: Looking for -- to understand the magnitude of the event, and how to manage.


ROBERTS: Sanjay is among a team of CNN correspondents on the ground in Haiti. We're going to go live to him in our next hour. And on CNN "THIS WEEKEND," a special "Sanjay Gupta MD" from the scene of the devastation in Haiti. That will be brought to you Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 in the morning Eastern Time.

CHETRY: Also stay with CNN for updates on the situation in Haiti. We've created a special section on our Web site, And for information on how you can help, you can go to our "Impact Your World" page at Plus you can send stories and images to our iReports. We've gotten thousands of iReports from Haiti and other areas. People connected in some way, and they're using that social networking like Twitter to be able to keep in touch and try to reach out to missing loved ones. So you can go to #Haiticnn to find out more via Twitter.

ROBERTS: The State Department has also got a hotline for information on family members that you might have in Haiti. It's 888- 407-4747, 888-407-4747. You can also text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10. The State Department says that it has already raised more than $800,000 for emergency relief efforts.

CHETRY: Well, we all just saw that 13-year-old girl who was pulled out of the rubble. Thanks to the help of family and friends. There are thousands with the same story.

We're going to be talking to the parents of an American college student who was there on a humanitarian mission. Their daughter was found in the wreckage, however, they still have not been able to contact her. We're going to have more on what they're going to through right now. They're going to join us live in a moment.

It's 13 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Fifteen minutes past the hour, and our coverage of the rescue efforts in Haiti continue this morning.

You know, many families here at home are waiting desperately to hear something from their loved ones in Haiti. In Florida, 12 students and two faculty members from Lynn University were on a humanitarian aid trip when that earthquake struck. The hotel they were staying in was flattened. The university says seven of the 12 students reported to the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince and are safe.

Joan and Steve Prudhomme's daughter, Julie, is one of them. They got an e-mail from their daughter saying that she's OK and will contact them later. They still have not actually spoken to their daughter and they join us this morning from East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

Thanks for being with us, Joan and Steve.



CHETRY: First of all, it must be a tremendous relief to know that your daughter is safe, but you still haven't had a chance to talk to her. What is the latest?

J. PRUDHOMME: Lynn University has been doing a great job keeping us updated. We expect to hear another call from them this morning after their briefing at 8:00. We hope to hear good word that the rest of the group has been found also.

CHETRY: Because right now the situation is that five students and two faculty members, as we understand it, are still missing. Is there any news on -- on where they were when they -- when this earthquake struck?

J. PRUDHOMME: No. We understand that the entire group was dropped off at the Hotel Montana after their day of work out in the field, and apparently still some of them are unaccounted for, as well as the two faculty members is what we've been told. They're still looking and we're hoping that it's just a communication issue...

CHETRY: All right.

J. PRUDHOMME: ... and nothing worse.

CHETRY: Absolutely. Well, Steve, tell us a little bit about what your daughter, Julie, was doing there as part of that group.

S. PRUDHOMME: Well, she was with Food for the Poor, and she was out there trying to do water irrigation systems for the people who live there.

CHETRY: And, as I understand it, they were planning on staying from the 11th to the 15th and they were going to come home. It was a four-day trip and they had visited various things, including a meal distribution center and a children's orphanage as well as other places.

Haiti, Joan, just as you know, because your daughter was going there to help, already a nation struggling, to say the least, and, on top of it -- on top of what happened, when you see the pictures, what are you thinking, knowing that your daughter is there right now?

J. PRUDHOMME: Oh, it's -- it's heart wrenching. It's so difficult to think that your daughter is out there, sleeping in the rubble with her friends and -- and not knowing what's coming next. I can't begin to imagine how terrified all of them must be.

CHETRY: Do you know if they're actually -- if they're able to seek shelter, if they're able to get some sort of guidance from the U.S. Embassy? I mean, what is happening to American citizens who are there right now?

S. PRUDHOMME: We don't know at this point. We have had very little or no communication with Julie at all, so we're anxious to talk to her and see where she is, and where she's going and what she's doing.

CHETRY: Right.

S. PRUDHOMME: So it's one of those things -- you just can't wait to talk to her.

CHETRY: As I understand it, the -- the notifications you've been getting through e-mail have been coming from the US Embassy in Port- au-Prince, so, as I understand it, they're at least trying to keep family members up to date on -- on what's happening. But you're still, of course, awaiting this information.

And, meantime, I'm sure you've seen the pictures. What's it going to be like for Julie? I mean, what's her personality like? What -- I mean, what she's seen is something that's obviously going to be seared in her mind forever.

J. PRUDHOMME: I think so. She will probably need months of counseling to figure out how to deal with all of this.

She's a very caring person, though, and very warm and loving, and we're hoping that because she survived so well, she's probably out there on the streets right now, helping other children or people who are -- who are in need of assistance, especially the kids who are crying and in pain, looking for their moms and dads, and we hope she's out there, doing something like that to -- to help give comfort.

CHETRY: Well, you guys...

S. PRUDHOMME: Well, whenever you have any type of dramatic experience, usually you remember -- whether it was just a car accident, you'll remember that for the rest of your life. Something as dramatic as an earthquake as strong as this, with all the devastation around her, I'm sure she's going to know and feel this for the rest of her life.

CHETRY: I know you guys consider yourself lucky, because you know that she is safe, and still on pins and needles waiting to hear more word.

J. PRUDHOMME: That's true.

CHETRY: But thanks for talking to us this morning, and we are also going to -- hope to find out more about these five students and two faculty members with Lynn University that are still unaccounted for.

J. PRUDHOMME: Absolutely.

CHETRY: Well, good luck with everything.


CHETRY: Joan and Steve, thanks so much for joining us.

J. PRUDHOMME: Thank you very much.

CHETRY: It's 20 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: It's coming up now on 23 minutes after the hour.

Our coverage of the rescue and relief efforts in Haiti continues this morning. But first, it's time to mind your business. Christine Romans is here this morning and the hearings up on Capitol Hill yesterday provided just a few fireworks.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They certainly did. Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, got pretty feisty, actually, with Phil Angelides. He's the chairman of this commission, this 9/11 commission for the financial crisis, and he was actually asked point blank by Phil Angelides, look, it sounds to me like you were selling people a car with faulty brakes and then taking insurance out on the driver.

That's what it sounds like to -- to the layman for what Goldman Sachs was doing in the runup to the crisis. But the Goldman CEO shooting back, saying no, we have very sophisticated clients. These are the kind of products that they wanted. And he also said no one should say he wouldn't do things differently.


LLOYD BLANKFEIN, CEO, GOLDMAN SACHS: Anyone who says I wouldn't change a thing I think is crazy. Knowing now what happened, whatever we did, whatever the standards of the time were, it didn't work out well. Of course I'd go back and wished we had done whatever it took not to be in the position that we find ourselves.


ROMANS: These four investment bank's CEOs admitted mistakes. Jamie Dimon from JPMorgan Chase said, look, we never imagined that the housing market would go down 40 percent. We didn't test for that.

John Mack from Morgan Stanley...

CHETRY: Wait! Hold on...

ROBERTS: No way (ph)!

ROMANS: That's right.

CHETRY: OK, but did they not know that if they gave mortgages to people that couldn't afford them and had -- had these ballooning rates that people were going to default? ROMANS: They said they sold -- that mortgage products were sold that were not appropriate products, that people were taking second and third mortgages out on homes, and all the way along the way -- we were in the middle of a bubble and they just didn't see it. They admitted they didn't see it.

ROBERTS: And they didn't -- and they didn't see that they helped create this bubble?

ROMANS: They...

ROBERTS: It's like -- it's like having the Goodyear blimp in your backyard and ignoring it.

ROMANS: I will tell you something...

ROBERTS: It's like the elephant in the room, I think.

ROMANS: ... admitting mistakes but at the same time defending that they didn't know that these were mistakes that are being made.

This does not end here. There are...

ROBERTS: A couple of words come to mind that have to do with horses.

ROMANS: Hmm. Well, we'll just leave it there.

ROBERTS: All right. Thanks, Christine.

CHETRY: Christine, thank you.

Well, meanwhile, we're going to be heading back to the Haiti desk. We've been getting thousands of iReports from people that are able to send them in both in Haiti and also from loved ones trying to find people that they have not been able to contact in Haiti and we're going to get the latest on that as well as some unbelievable pictures coming in from Haiti.

Twenty-five minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: We're back with more of our special coverage of the Breaking News in Haiti as the world begins to learn the extent of the devastation there.

The web and social networks are connecting people during this disaster. It's become a virtual bulletin board. Like so many walls in New York City after 9/11, desperate people hoping and praying that their loved ones are still alive.

We're monitoring all of the stories and messages coming in, bringing you video that you just have to see. Our Errol Barnett is standing by right now at our special Haiti Desk in our Atlanta headquarters. Good morning, Errol. What are we learning today?

ERROL BARNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Jonathan (ph).

I can tell you right now, according to one of our iReporters who runs the Global Orphan Project at the network of orphanages throughout Haiti, at this hour there are still more than 300 orphans missing.

His -- his name is Reverend Louis St. Germain. He's a TV and radio personality. He's uploaded some dramatic video that we'll show you now, just walking around some of the makeshift aid areas and centers that are there in Haiti. I think you can see, we've got some of that video for you.

He even speaks to one woman whose face is still swollen from the -- the quake and says that she -- she lost her entire family, has no money, had to walk to a makeshift clinic just to get the help, but it's what you don't see, doctors you don't see, professional equipment. The aid has not reached those on the ground just yet.

But there is a glimmer of hope. In, people have started to upload pictures of their relatives, loved ones who are missing. We're asking them to put their first and last name and age in the hopes that maybe someone has information you can use.

This young girl, 7 years old, Maslande (ph) Antione, missing. This man, Jean Baptiste Cadet, 50, missing, and this individual here, Stephen and Henri, that's him and his brother, Faustin, missing.

But already, more than 1,000 people have submitted these pictures. We've got some confirmations that's they're alive.

This man, David Kregg, 65, found alive, thanks to social networking, people posting his image on iReport and his family getting confirmation that he's OK. The same was true with Fadja Dauphin, 31, in Petion-ville. So social networking is helping us bring a glimmer of hope amid all this devastation -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. Errol Barnett for us this morning from our special Haiti Desk in Atlanta. Thanks, Errol. Keep that stuff coming in and we'll get back to you a little bit later.

CHETRY: And meanwhile, it's 30 minutes past the hour right now, and our coverage from Haiti will continue in a minute.

First, though, we have some other top stories this morning and a new threat from al Qaeda in Yemen. US officials say there is, quote, "credible intelligence suggesting that the terror group is planning another attack here in the U.S."

They say al Qaeda is already adapting to new security measures put in place after the Christmas Day plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner. Homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve is working her sources, and she will have a live report for us coming up in the next hour. Meantime, President Obama and some top Democrats say they're making progress in shaping a final health care overhaul bill. They met all day yesterday to try to hammer out a final compromise between the House and Senate plans. One big difference that still needs to be resolved, how to pay for it all.

And no more free cars for Tiger Woods at least from GM. Tiger had been allowed to keep GM loaner vehicles, even though his endorsement contract with the company ended in 2008. Tiger is actually driving a GM-provided Cadillac escalade in the crash that ultimately led to him admitting he cheated on his wife.


ROBERTS: Returning to our coverage of the massive rescue and relief effort for Haiti this morning. Right now help is on the way for millions of people affected by Tuesday's earthquake. Money, medical supplies, food and water.

Joining me now to break down just how great the need is and how to address it from Washington, is Nan Buzard. She is the Senior Director of International Response and Programs for the American Red Cross. And with me here in New York, Dr. Barbara Debuono. She is an infectious disease specialist. She worked with the World Health Organization in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in South Asia. So she's got a lot of experience in responding to crisis like this.

Nan, let's begin with you. What's the situation for your organization on the ground and on the ground more broadly as you understand it? I read something this morning that says that the Red Cross has already run out of supplies.

NAN BUZARD, SENIOR DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE AND PROGRAMS FOR THE AMERICAN RED CROSS: Well, it's true. We had very limited supplies in our office and in our staff's home in Port-Au-Prince. As soon as the earthquake hit, our staff took what we had in our office and were handing it out and working with people on the streets. It was a very limited supply. It's natural that it's gone. But, of course, across the entire city supplies have dried up, both relief supplies, water, food, and medical supplies. So it's going to be an enormous, enormous relief effort.

ROBERTS: All right. So Dr. Debuono, when you've come to a crisis like this, and as we said, you were at the tsunami in 2004, you know how to mount a response to something like this. You look at the extent of the devastation. You look at the number of people who are displaced, the number of people who are in desperate need, and you wonder, where do you even begin?

DR. BARBARA DEBUONO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: You know, this is very, very similar, eerily similar to the aftermath of the tsunami in South Asia. The first set of issues really are the medical infrastructure. What is there and what is left, and what remains, creating makeshift M.A.S.H.-like units to address really the needs of the sick and the injured are paramount. You also have well survivors who need food, who need water, who need clean water. One of the biggest issues is going to be the interruption of the water supply system and contamination. The next issue is where do you put people? Where do they sleep? How can you get people some rest?

Next issue after that are things like antibiotics and medicines. My experience when I was in South Asia is if you can't coordinate and don't coordinate, the medical supplies and the medicines that come in -- actually, we saw tons of expired medicines, medicines with labels written in other languages, very, very important to coordinate the supplies that come in to make sure that they are the right supplies, given to the right people at the right time, in the right environment for the right conditions. That's really going to be critical.

ROBERTS: Nan, you heard Dr. Debuono there just lay out what the challenges are and what the needs are. What is the Red Cross and other relief organizations, the world over doing to try to meet those needs?

BUZARD: Well, the Red Cross and other relief agencies are mobilizing around the world, obviously, bringing in our expert teams, health experts, water sanitation engineers, relief specialist, medical personnel. We have staff that are on the ground as well as stuff that are coming in. They are coming in from around the world. All the Red Cross and national societies are participating. We have stock in the Caribbean loaded on planes and ready to come in. The airport will be open today for relief flights and that will certainly start helping things.

The big struggle here is going to be how to get things out from the warehouses, or from the airport tarmac, because you have a very compromised infrastructure, and you also have a lot of people who are dazed, who are confused. You saw a clip I think earlier where people were running when they heard there was water. So the chaotic environment I think is profoundly undermining, or is going to undermine and compromise the relief effort. We're going to have to deal with it. We will deal with it. We've done it before. But here's something that we have to keep a very tight eye on.

ROBERTS: Obviously Dr. Debuono as Nan said, a lot of supplies are going to be coming in. I imagine that those cargo planes will be landing one after the other over the next few days there at the international airport in Haiti. But with so many people in need, and so many people displaced, I think you could logically assume that you stand on the cusp of a major public health catastrophe here. How desperate is the -- and urgent is the need to stave that off? I mean, how close are we? How do you prevent it from tipping over?

DEBUONO: Well, I think Nan really outlined it beautifully, that the coordination of an organization like the Red Cross and also the military units that are going to be coming on shore to help, really care for the sick and the injured are really critical. Coordinating that effort and making sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing is really, really critical here.


DEBUONO: So that there isn't further chaos and confusion. One of the issues, too, is going to be the long-term psychological impact of this. And we saw this in the tsunami and in South Asia. In three, and four and five weeks, this really starts to set in. And then there was some long-term mental health consequences that need to be addressed. That's sort of the secondary consequence and the secondary public health issue that's going to emerge.

ROBERTS: Yes. They haven't even really begun the rescue and relief in earnest here. You can imagine that the recovery and rebuilding effort is going to take years upon years.

Dr. Barbara Debuono, Nan Buzard, thanks for being with us this morning. Good to get your take on all of this. Really appreciate it.

DEBUONO: My pleasure.


CHETRY: Well, The State Department has a hotline that family members can call to get information in Haiti, it's 888-407-4747. You can also text "Haiti" to 90999, which would donate $10, that would then be charged to your cell phone. Officials say they've already raised more than $800,000 for emergency relief efforts.

Well, Christine Romans is going to be joining us. She has part two of her series on Goldman Sachs. What is the mystery, the mystique and in some cases outrage over this investment banking firm?

Thirty-seven minutes past the hour.


CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.

We're going to have more of our special coverage of the rescue and relief efforts in Haiti in a moment. But we're also following another story right now. Federal regulators will be in the hot seat yet again today when the financial crisis inquiry commission convenes for yet another day of hearings.

ROBERTS: The commission was created by Congress to investigate the financial collapse of 2008. Yesterday, some of the nation's biggest bank executives were called to testify. Among them, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein.

Christine Romans is back this morning. She's digging deeper into the Wall Street giant, whose top employees are known by many as the masters of the universe.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs, as you know, under a firestorm of criticism really for the last year for expected record bonuses this year after that government bailout. Goldman like other banks sold those toxic assets that in part pulled the country into recession. Some are asking just how much of Goldman's big profits come on the backs of U.S. taxpayers.


ROMANS (voice-over): Goldman Sachs alumni have a tradition of public service like former Treasury secretaries Henry Paulson and Robert Ruben. Goldman alumni often go on to become top players in government and in the world's leading financial institutions. So when the financial industry almost collapsed 16 months ago --

HENRY PAULSON, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: We are acting with unprecedented speed, taking unprecedented measures that we never thought would be necessary.

ROMANS: It was a former Goldman Sachs CEO who, as Treasury secretary, helped push through a $700 billion bank bailout known as T.A.R.P. $10 billion went to Goldman Sachs. But now that bailout money has become a thorn in Goldman's side.

LLYOD BLANKFEIN, CEO, GOLDMAN SACHS: Had I known it was as pregnant with this kind of potential for backlash, then of course I wouldn't -- I would really not have liked it.

ROMANS: The firm paid back the public's $10 billion with interest, but to some, the story doesn't end there. When the government rescued insurance giant AIG from the brink of failing last year, Goldman Sachs received a full payout of what it was owed, nearly $13 billion. Critics say Goldman and other banks should have taken a haircut.

ELIOT SPITZER, FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Goldman Sachs has figured out how to take advantage of the guarantee that we have given them to internalize the profit and hold on to it.

ROMANS: Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer faults Goldman Sachs and other banks for not passing along the benefit of billions in government back loans they received at nearly zero interest. For Goldman, it amounted to a $21 billion security blanket. Critics claim all of this tax payer finance programs allowed Goldman Sachs to reap bigger profits.

SPITZER: Those of us who save, go to the bank, get zero percent. The banks take that guaranteed money, invest it in Treasury bills and make money and keep it. Now, the real problem is the banks are not lending to the businesses that could create jobs.

ROMANS: After mounting public backlash, Goldman's CEO apologized and told the commission investigating the crisis --

BLANKFEIN: Anyone who says I wouldn't change a thing, I think is crazy. Of course I'd go back and wished we had done whatever it took not to be in the position that we find ourselves.

ROMANS: CEO Lloyd Blankfein's mea culpa is not enough for Janet Tavakoli, a finance expert who wrote a book in 2003 about collateralized debt obligations, CDOs, complicated investments whose value fell with the housing market. JANET TAVAKOLI, TAVAKOLI STRUCTURED FINANCE: Goldman was creating securities along with a lot of other people on Wall Street. These were valued destroying securitizations spewing out of their financial meth labs. And today they're trying to pretend that they weren't responsible for massive systemic risk.

ROMANS (on camera): Goldman Sachs disputes that, priding itself in being a top manager of risk. As far back as 2006, it saw trouble ahead and began selling off its mortgage-backed securities. The problem is, critics say, Goldman continued to sell those toxic assets to others while at same time investing in bet that's they were going to tank.

(voice-over): Goldman says it was just executing prudent risk management.

BLANKFEIN: We didn't know at any moment that asset prices would deteriorate further or had declined too much and would snap back.


ROMANS: To its critics, Goldman says every bank in the country benefited from the government's action and that they are grateful to the U.S. government and to taxpayers for the role they played in stabilizing the financial system.

CHETRY: Well, there you go. I mean, what more is there to say? What's the upshot of these hearings?

ROMANS: Look, there is a lot more to say. And when the company issues its earnings report next week, we're going to know how much money they're going to pay to their staff in bonuses and compensation. That's going to likely cause a lot more scrutiny to this company. For a year now people have been asking all of these questions, and the public furore about what Goldman did and when just hasn't gone away. This story isn't over.

ROBERTS: I love that phrase, their financial meth lab.

CHETRY: Right.

ROMANS: Janet Tavakoli, a very fierce critic of this company.

ROBERTS: All right. Christine, thanks so much.

CHETRY: Still, to find out more about Goldman Sachs, you can check out Christine's blog, go to our show page,

ROBERTS: Coming up on 45 minutes after the hour, Rob Marciano joins us in just a couple of moments with this morning's travel forecast. He'll be with us right after the break.

CHETRY: Yes. And in ten minutes, search and rescue teams from California now on their way to Haiti. We're going to get a look at the tools and expertise that they'll be bringing in, the much-needed tools they'll be bringing in to the earthquake zone. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: We continue to follow the latest developments out of Haiti this morning as the rescue effort there continues there. The latest coming right up.

CHETRY: Meanwhile, it's 49 minutes past the hour. Time to get a quick check of this morning's weather head lines. Our Rob Marciano is in the Extreme Weather Center for us this morning. Hey, Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. Finally, starting to see temperatures moderate enough to where we can say seasonal averages are starting to take place across parts of the, lower 40, at least the Eastern Coast, 71 degrees in Miami, so that's been a long time coming, 39 degrees in New York. As far as changes on the way, we've got some rain system across parts of Southern Texas that's going to be the main player in our weather.

This radar screen will get a little bit more antsy as we go along today, and things will develop over the weekend to where we're probably going to see some flooding rains and maybe some severe thunderstorms across the entire Gulf Coast, so that will be the main player over the next several days. Also, at west, a series of storms are rocking up, and big waves at ahead of them. Check out some of the heavy surf across Northern California.

Coastal flooding with these big boys coming in. 15 to 20-footers at times, and the sets are rolling into Southern California now, and they will also see some coastal flooding because of this -- the sets of waves that are rowing in advance of the next weather system into California which will be Sunday into Monday. I think next week, guys, California is going to be the bull's-eye as far as seeing very El Nino-type of storms rolling in off the pacific.

Also, in Haiti, temperatures will be in the lower 90s, overnight lows will be in the lower 70s. Not a whole lot of rain in the forecast; this is the dry season. Not oppressive humidity, but it certainly, certainly will be warm with high temperatures, 90 or better. John and Kiran back up to you.

ROBERTS: Rob, thanks so much. We look forward to your next report. Thanks.

So search and rescue teams urgently needed in Haiti. They are finally on their way. A team from California left overnight to the quake scene. We'll have the very latest on the situation on the ground in Haiti coming right up for you. Nine minutes now to the top of the hour.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Last night the streets of Port-au-Prince were littered with wounded people sleeping, and the bodies of those who had perished, and we're going to have, I think, another three or four really hard days of just clearing through the rubble to find the living and those who have died. CHETRY: Welcome back to our special coverage of the rescue and the relief mission in Haiti. We just heard from Former President Clinton talking about just how dire the situation there is, but thank goodness help is on the way. There are planes arriving this morning in Port-au-Prince airport, and one left last night from March Air Reserve Base; this is in Los Angeles carrying an elite search and rescue team.

ROBERTS: They are firefighters, paramedics, doctors, engineers, heavy equipment operators, plus search dogs all ready to hit the ground running in Haiti. Our Casey Wian caught up with two members of the team before the group they deployed out last night.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Minutes after news broke of the massive earthquake in Haiti, 3,000 miles a way, the Los Angeles County Fire Department's urban search and rescue team began to get ready.

INSP. FREDERIC STOWERS, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPT.: We're preparing for the worst. As you can see, we have these flat bed trucks that's are loaded here with all the gear, water, food, we have a transport here. We plan on being self-sufficient inside these bins and bags, our specialized equipment. There are search cams; there are jackhammers; there are saws; there's all type of specialized equipment.

WIAN (on-camera): What's the man power of the search and rescue unit?

STOWERS: The search and rescue unit has 72 members of that are comprised of doctors; there's women, K-9 handlers; there are structural engineers, there's urban search and rescue personnel, search teams or search and rescue teams. This is one of only two in the country.

WIAN: Obviously, there's a great need for search and rescue teams in Haiti right now. Why is the equipment still on the ground here in Southern California? What's the holdup?

STOWERS: Again, like I said, everything has to be done right. We have to account for everybody. We have to account for the equipment. We have to make sure the transportation is adequate to be able to move all the equipment.

WIAN: You've got to make sure it's safe for your crews on the ground to even land there, right?

STOWERS: Absolutely. We want to make sure of that.

WIAN: What's the information we are getting in relation to that right now?

STOWERS: We're hearing various reports, but again, we're not taking those reports for granted. We're waiting for the proper intel to be given to us, which is a notification that it is okay to go in, and it is okay to do what is necessary to affect the rescues over there.

WIAN (voice-over): Jasmine Sagura and her dog, chocolate, are one of the six K-9 teams trained to find live victims trapped under rubble.

How much information have you been able to receive about the situation on the ground in Haiti right now? What are you expecting once you arrived?

JASMINE SAGURA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPT.: You know what? A chaotic situation for sure, obviously, and weather conditions, and just basically just get in there and doing our job because that's what we're trained to do is to go in situations like that and do the best we can to deescalate the chaos and save some lives.

Our dogs are live human scent search dogs, so for example, earthquakes, 9/11, people who are trapped where we can't see right away, they're unconscious underneath rubble, wood, mud, these guys will come up and they will sniff them out. They will stay in that area and start alerting, barking, and they're letting us know that there's a live human trapped there, because typically sometimes, even if we yell which is, L.A. County Fire Department can you hear us? Some people are unconscious so they can't hear us, they can't respond, but his nose will take us right to a live human being.

WIAN: Imagine some of these folks are pretty anxious to get going.

UNKNOWN MALE: Our guys are always anxious. We love a challenge, and we do expect to be challenged.

WIAN (on-camera): This will actually be the first time this entire unit of search and rescue personnel are being deployed together. Individual members have worked previous disasters, including the North Ridge earthquake, an earthquake in Indonesia, hurricane Katrina, and 9/11 -- John and Kiran.


ROBERTS: Casey Wian for us this morning. Casey, thanks. It shows us just how great the need is. The whole team is coming together to be deployed. There's also the Fairfax team from Virginia is on its way as well, so.

CHETRY: And the other thing, I mean, Casey has the question and a lot of us we're wondering, why can't you just get out there now? Why are you still on the ground? And as he was explaining, they have to make sure everything is safe before they, you know, even leave. They have to make sure that if they're going to do it, they're going to do it right, but as we know, every second matters with this situation in Haiti right now.

ROBERTS: Yes. They're sending those heavy equipment operators as well, and there's a big shortage of heavy equipment there. You know, there is some in the country, but it's kind of deployed across the country, so they got to bring that back together. Some are arriving as well from the Dominican Republic. Hopefully, more will be on their way from other countries.

CHETRY: All right. We're going to continue to follow all of this. Our top stories are coming your way in just 90 seconds. We'll be right back.


CHETRY: People describing Haiti this morning as scenes from hell. A catastrophe unfolding before the nation's eyes and the world's eyes in Haiti. This exclusive video was taken just minutes after the earthquake hit, and it literally shows people inside of a flattened building in some parts, walking in the streets disoriented. We're going to have a more of the raw footage and the rescue attempt straight ahead.