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THE SITUATION ROOM
Thousands Feared Dead in Haiti; Interview With Former President Bill Clinton
Aired January 13, 2010 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: But, at this point, Americans should stay in the safe place until further notice -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And we are just hearing from your producer, Elise Labott, Jill, that the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has decided to cut short her trip to the Asia-Pacific region. She was on her way. She is coming back to Washington to help coordinate this U.S. government response to this enormous tragedy that is unfolding in Haiti right now.
This is new information, Jill. Give us some perspective for the secretary of state to decide to come back to Washington. This is very significant.
DOUGHERTY: It is, Wolf.
This is a huge trip, about 10 days, and she was supposed to be out of the country in Asia and Pacific region talking to very important countries, Australia and New Zealand, that are real partners of the United States.
She has been on the phone. She's been coordinating with -- certainly with the State Department, with the task force that is meeting here at the State Department, but for her to cut short, that is very, very significant.
Originally, they thought that she would be able to handle it. In fact, there have been briefings, et cetera, but she is coming back. The enormity of this tragedy is really daunting, and on everybody. It is very, very strong.
Today, in fact, Wolf, she said that it wasn't really clear how -- what kind of plan they were going to have, and you can see that right now she feels she has to be back here.
BLITZER: And I assume they have established a command center at the State Department. The AID administrator and others, they are working around the clock, not only to deal with U.S. citizens who are in Haiti right now, but to try to deal with this enormous humanitarian crisis that has developed.
DOUGHERTY: Absolutely. It's both. It is dealing with the U.S. citizens that are there that need to either get out or be helped or be found. And then it is also this enormous rescue mission, search-and- rescue mission.
And as we have been reporting, there are teams coming from the United States. At least one team, search-and-rescue, is on the ground, and preceding them, there was a DART, disaster assistance team, that was evaluating where exactly they should exactly go, so that, when they hit the ground, they can get to the buildings where people really, really need help.
And, by the way, this is growing. It's not only the U.S. will have at least three teams in there. The British are going to have some. The French are having teams. And one of the big things is getting them into the airport. But this already is now -- we have some teams on the ground that will be going out -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jill Dougherty is over at the State Department, and as we say the breaking news coming in, the secretary of state cutting short her visit to the Asia Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand, to come back to Washington to deal with this Haiti crisis.
Also, the State Department is telling Americans who are in Haiti right now, stay put. Don't go to the airport. Wait for further instructions. This is a dramatic development that is unfolding right now.
Chris Lawrence, our Pentagon correspondent, is at the airport in Port-au-Prince, and just moments ago filed this report.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the mood certainly shifted as the sun went down here at the airport. We saw a lot of people getting a lot more worried, starting to go over in certain corners, gathering together.
There is a feeling that maybe this feeling of goodwill will not last through the night as people get more and more frustrated. A lot of folks told us they slept outside all last night after running for their lives.
It was cold outside. Some of them say they have not had anything to drink or eat since the earthquake hit. But a lot of U.S. citizens got some very welcome news in that the embassy is now chartering two flights on Thursday from here in Port-au-Prince to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. One will leave at about 9:00 in the morning, the other at noon.
They will each carry about 100 U.S. citizens to Santo Domingo. And there, there will be U.S. Embassy staff on hand to greet them, help them make hotel arrangements there in the Dominican Republic, or to help coordinate some sort of travel so that they can immediately return home.
That is welcome news not only to the Americans that are here, but their families back home. The one caveat to that is that this is only the beginning of these flights, and we can tell you that there are a lot more 200 Americans who want to get home. There are more like thousands.
Chris Lawrence, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
BLITZER: Indeed. The most recent estimates say about 40,000 American citizens are in Haiti right now.
Earlier in the day, the president, President Barack Obama, made it clear that this is now priority number one, saving lives in Haiti.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share.
With just a few hundred miles of ocean between us and a long history that binds us together, Haitians are our neighbors in the Americas and here at home. So we have to be there for them in their hour of need.
Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times here at home, I would encourage those Americans who want to support the urgent humanitarian efforts to go to WhiteHouse.gov, where you can learn how to contribute.
We must be prepared for difficult hours and days ahead as we learn about the scope of the tragedy. We will keep the victims and their families in our prayers. We will be resolute in our response. And I pledge to the people of Haiti that you will have a friend and partner in the United States of America today and going forward.
May God bless the people of Haiti and those working on their behalf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We are told by his advisers, his aides that he is determined to make sure that all aspects, all elements of the U.S. government do whatever it takes to save lives in Haiti right now. And the numbers we're getting from Haitian officials are simply heart- wrenching, the prime minister of Haiti suggesting that more than 100,000 people may have died in this earthquake, the ambassador of Haiti to the United States telling me just a little while ago he, too, fears at least 100,000 are dead or missing.
We are standing by to speak with the former President of the United States Bill Clinton, the United Nations special envoy to Haiti.
Our breaking coverage continues in THE SITUATION ROOM right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news. BLITZER: Let's get right to the former President of the United States Bill Clinton. He is the United Nations special representative for Haiti.
I know this is a subject, this is a country, the Haitian people very close to your heart, Mr. President. Give us the latest information, what you are hearing from the United Nations, from the U.S. government, your other sources in Haiti about how devastating this situation is.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, first of all, Wolf, it appears that an enormous percentage, maybe as many as a third of the country, have been adversely affected by it.
We don't know how many people are dead yet. We did -- at last count, we had pulled 10 survivors out of our United Nations headquarters, which, as you know, was in a five-story hotel that completely collapsed. We know there are fatalities. We don't know how many. And that is the same for the people throughout the island.
We still have lots and lots of people with missing family members. And we just have to keep hoping that we will have more rescue teams down there. The United States sent more today. China sent one. Russia is sending a big helicopter or two tomorrow. People from all over the world are trying to help, but it is a devastating problem.
Last night, the streets of Port-au-Prince were littered with wounded people sleeping and the bodies of those who had perished. And we are 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.
BLITZER: These numbers we are hearing are devastating, Mr. President, the prime minister of Haiti suggesting more than 100,000 people may have been killed in this earthquake, the ambassador of Haiti to the United States saying to me just a little while ago the same thing.
Are these numbers really realistic, because they seem so high?
CLINTON: They do seem high. If you think about the population of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area, in excess of two million, 100,000 would be about 5 percent.
What I am hoping is that, when they clear the rubble away, they will find that more people have survived these collapsing buildings than they think. We just don't know. But one of the things that we are worried about is that some people will die from exposure, from dehydration, from their injuries who could be saved, which is why getting these search-and-rescue teams in there is so important and why, for all the good intentions that people have, I think it is very important to realize that we are going through about a week here, maybe even 10 days to two weeks, where the critical needs are very simple, food, water, shelter, first aid supplies. And, for that, the most important thing you can do is not to send those supplies, but to send cash, either to the Red Cross and Red Crescent. We have set up -- my special envoy office has set up a Web site, clintonfoundation.org/haitiearthquake, that we will just -- anybody that sends us money, we are just going to move it into those supplies quickly.
Meanwhile, we have a U.N. office that has been devastated, but we are reconstituting it. Mr. Annabi's predecessor is going back down there. And we're going to try to maximum our effectiveness.
The United States has been great, the president, secretary of state, the Defense Department, USAID. We're going to try to get all this organized as quickly as we can and move. But everybody needs to understand this was a devastating thing. We don't even have good cell phone coverage with everyone down there now. We are 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. But I just -- I am grateful for everyone who wants to help, but right now we have to save as many lives as possible, and that means, more than anything else, we need water, food, first aid supplies, and shelter.
We think we have found the shelter, and we have just got to equip it now.
BLITZER: When I spoke, Mr. President, with Raymond Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, his great fear was, even if you could get these big planes to land at the airport in Port-au- Prince, the roads may not be driveable, may not be usable. You could not get trucks to deliver these badly needed supplies or search-and- rescue equipment out there to remove the rubble.
How worried are you about this?
CLINTON: Very. That is why we need more helicopters.
MINUSTAH, the U.N. mission there, only had seven helicopters. I think the United States supplied some more today. I understand the Russians are sending in two big transport helicopters. But we can use these helicopters where the roads are impassable.
And the other thing I would say is, the Haitian government did buy some very good dirt-moving equipment with a grant they got from Venezuela. We just need to make sure it is in the Port-au-Prince area. Then, the Dominican Republic is doing a lot of construction work. They have some equipment that can be moved over there.
The C-130 transport planes can bring earth- and debris-moving equipment from further away. It's going to take a day or two, but we can do it. And, meanwhile, you have got people digging by hand through this rubble desperately trying to find folks still alive.
And that is why I said what we need now, unless you can provide search-and-rescue or you have a medical team, we just need these basic supplies, because we have got a terrible water shortage, a food shortage that the U.N. can ameliorate to some extent, and we need more first aid supplies, even where we have medical facilities at the airport.
And my deputy, Dr. Paul Farmer, who has a huge operation in Haiti -- he has two doctors there -- in a lot of places, they don't even have aspirin. We have got to get these supplies in there.
BLITZER: What lessons do you think the international community learned from the tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand, from Katrina along the Gulf Coast that should be used right now in dealing with this aftermath of this earthquake in Haiti?
CLINTON: Well, I think that what we learned was -- for example, let me give you an example in the tsunami, where I worked hard for two years.
We had a wonderful diaspora group from Sri Lanka that immediately wanted to send supplies, because they knew people had lost everything in the tsunami. But they sent the supplies before we had the infrastructure, the logistics built up to distribute them. And a lot of those supplies were just lost on the tarmac at the Colombo airport in the tsunami.
When the earthquake hit here -- I mean -- excuse me -- the four hurricanes hit here in 2008, there was a general sense that, while everybody was very forthcoming with help, we had not coordinated the work of the people on the ground in Haiti with the American military well enough, and we hadn't focused enough on the basics, on water and food and first aid supplies and shelter.
So, that is why I have been insistent tonight. We need to do the first things first, get through the first two weeks, then do what is necessary to help people recover and to sustain themselves while they are recovering. And there has to be very close coordination between the United States military and any other military assets we have and this U.N. force on the ground under the command of the Brazilians.
These people have done a great job here. And so far I have been really impressed that the work that the American military has done with the MINUSTAH forces. So, I think we are absorbing the lessons we learned in the tsunami and Katrina and in dealing with the hurricane season in Haiti two years ago.
BLITZER: Mr. President, people all over the world are watching right now. We are being seen on CNN and CNN International in more than 240 countries. Speak first to leaders around the world what you want them to do to help and then speak from your heart to individuals who are simply shaken by what is going on in Haiti right now.
CLINTON: Well, first, to the leaders, I would say, if you have already made a commitment in one of our donors conferences, you need to check and see whether you have fulfilled that commitment. Most countries are way behind on fulfilling it. And I would urge you to fulfill the commitment as soon as possible. And if you can provide any of this emergency help, if you can give us helicopters, if you can give us basic medical supplies, we need that. But, remember, this is going to be a long-term process. Haiti has an economic development plan that the government and the people have embraced.
The rest of us are just helping them to implement it. And I would urge you not to give up on Haiti as a lost cause, because we can get through this. And it is even more important now that we honor the wishes of the Haitian people and the government to help become their partners and liberate them from 200 years of misery. They can still do it.
But first things first. We have got to care for the survivors, identify those who have died, reunite them with their families and deal with these basic problems.
To individuals, I would tell you that these are good people. Yes, Haiti is the poorest country in our hemisphere. Yes, 70 percent of the people or more live on $2 a day or less. Yes, they have had a long and tortured history.
But they are good people. They are survivors. They are intelligent. They thrive in their diaspora communities. They desperately want to reclaim their country and give it a better future. And they need your help now.
A lot of us at the U.N., we believe in them. And a lot of us today are pretty low, because we know that some of our colleagues have died because they believed in Haiti. These people deserve a chance to bury their dead, to heal their wounded, to eat, to sleep, to begin to recover, and they can't do it just with government help alone.
They need you, too. If you can give $1, $5, $10, you can send it to clintonfoundation.org/haitiearthquake, or you can send it to UNICEF or the CARE or the Red Cross/Red Crescent. We will get that money out. And little donations add up to big amounts.
In the Asian tsunami, 250,000 people died, Americans gave $1 billion. The median contribution was $56. Half the people gave it over the Internet, and that was five years ago -- $5 or $10 can make a huge difference.
These people are just like you, and they are hurting now. There are people who are missing their spouses, their children, their brothers, their sisters, their parents. We are going to save as many of them as we can. And with your help, we are going to help them begin again.
BLITZER: Well said, Mr. President. Thanks so much. I know Haiti is very close to you, not just in recent years. I traveled with you to Haiti back in the '90s, when you were president of the United States.
CLINTON: Yes. BLITZER: And I remember that trip, and I remember seeing you up close during that stay in Haiti. And I know, all these years later, Haiti is very, very special to you.
CLINTON: Well, you remember, Wolf, Hillary and I went to Haiti on a delayed honeymoon trip in December of 1975.
And she has been so upset about this, that she's doing everything she can do at State, with AID. We have loved that place for a long time. And we -- we think the people have gotten a raw deal time and time again, and they keep coming back. And they will come back again, if people will see them as their fellow human beings.
They are hurting, but they are good people, and they need our help.
BLITZER: Mr. President, thanks very much for what you are doing. Thanks very much for joining us.
CLINTON: Thank you.
BLITZER: I want to alert our viewers as well. If you want to help -- and I think you do -- you can also go to CNN.com/impact. We have an Impact Your World segment there. You can get information on how to make a contribution and offer your services to help these people in Haiti right now.
This is a crisis, and an enormous crisis. People all over the world have to get involved and help. Our coverage will continue right after this.
BLITZER: We are continuing the breaking news coverage from Haiti, the aftermath of the earthquake. Our reporters are on the scene. We will go there in just a moment.
BLITZER: We are going back to Port-au-Prince in Haiti to get the latest. Our correspondents are on the scene, Anderson Cooper, Sanjay Gupta, Chris Lawrence.
Stay with us. The breaking news out of Haiti continues after this.
BLITZER: It's a grim situation in Haiti right now -- a country of some 10 million people, two million in Port-au-Prince. And word is that the casualties -- the death enormous right now. We don't have any precise numbers, only what the prime minister of Haiti told us earlier in the day -- it could be hundreds of thousands of people dead. The Haitian ambassador to the United States saying more than 100,000 are now believed to have died or are missing right now.
Tom Foreman is here.
He's got some more perspective on what's going on -- Tom, what are you picking up?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's very, very hard to calculate the number of people who might have been killed in this or wounded in this. And as aid flows in from around the world, they need to know those numbers, because without them, it's very hard to figure out how much to send and where to put it.
So let's look at Port-au-Prince here and look at some spectacular work being done by the U.S. Geological Survey. They've put together this particular little graphic. It's called Population Density. The taller spire here is, that means the more people there are. And you can see how enormously Port-au-Prince dominates the area near the actual earthquake there.
Fortunately, as the quakes have followed afterward, they've tended to spread over this way, all these other little hits.
In fact, you see this red one right here?
That's one that occurred within the past hour. You can see that it was a little bit more than six miles deep. But they keep tracking that at the USGS.
What this tells us, though, is where the greatest need is and where the greatest potential damage has been done. If we move in a little bit closer, I want you to show you some estimates here. We know that roughly a third of the country -- three million people were subjected to pretty strong shaking by combining the earthquake data with the population data. We also know the weight of the roof is very, very important, because the bigger and the heavier the roof, the more likely it is it will hit somebody and kill them on the way down.
So, fatality estimates based on science right now, very broad, but one to 10,000 people -- if that's how many people died, that is considered a pretty sure thing, that we have at least that many. And it's reasonable to be talking about up to 100,000.
But, Wolf, one more thing I want to expand on here. We're moving closer to the airport, because the simple truth is as you watch this over the next few days, there are two things you really need to watch. One is the coast out here, the harbor, and the airport, because these are going to be the primary areas through which help flows in here -- the things President Clinton was talking about.
Right now, this is the primary staging area. The U.S. military is trying to get in there and make sure this airport can run efficiently and effectively. We know that all sorts of buildings all over town have been knocked down.
And just as importantly, the thing the president was talking about, we know that many, many, many of the roads that lead through this town have been closed by debris and by wreckage that has fallen into it and, frankly, by the simple fact that you have millions of people who are now living in the streets because their homes are no longer safe.
The first order of business here -- this is essentially a line of attack they're working on, Wolf. And I said we're going to be building sort of a situational awareness all day. Right now, what is happening there is they're figuring out how to get the roads open, how to get basic medical care, basic services and basic search and rescue out here to figure out the situation.
That could take days, but this is the plan of attack right now. They'll come from the airport and from the coast, moving up into those areas, trying to open the roads and figuring out where the help can go -- Wolf.
BLITZER: This is going to be an enormous logistical challenge for the entire world. And I know so many people around the world, so many governments around the world, want to help. But just to get in and then distribute supplies, get emergency rescue equipment on the ground, it's not going to be easy by any means.
And we just heard -- you heard the breaking news earlier, the secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has canceled her trip to Australia and New Zealand, elsewhere in the Pacific-Asia region. She's coming back to Washington to help coordinate this relief operation for Haiti.
CNN's Michael Holmes is over at our Haiti Desk.
He's monitoring what's coming in.
What else are you picking up -- Michael?
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I'm going to start off by saying that the -- the piece. You're going to see in a couple of minutes or in a minute or so is hard to watch. I want to warn people about that. It's one of the few packages, if you like, that we've received so far.
As you know, 24 hours ago, this all started. And we started here at the assignment desk -- the International Desk, sending crews to Haiti a variety of ways. There have been planes, helicopters.
Now, you've talked to some of the people on the ground. Ivan Watson is one of them. Just literally minutes ago, I was told that one of his pieces had come in. We've looked at it. It's unbelievable. He was at a medical clinic -- a makeshift medical clinic in Port-au-Prince. Powerful stuff.
Have a look.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the reality of the situation here in Port-au-Prince. This is a small medical clinic. There are so many patients, so many victims of this earthquake, that they are treating them in the halls and the entryway of the clinic.
And look here. We have wounded people waiting for treatment right now.
Let's take a look at this woman right here.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WATSON: This is Amalika (ph).
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
WATSON: She says that her leg is broken and she's -- and she's been here since last night waiting for treatment. And she is not the only one. If we come and take a look over here, there are more wounded people and even the corpse of a small child who could not yet get treatment.
And it is just overwhelming to see, over here, the bodies of at least 15 people stacked up on the sidewalk right outside. And we have seen these images elsewhere in this overwhelmed city right now.
Doctors are telling me they don't have enough medicine to treat these patients. They don't have enough gas to run the generators to run the medical machines to treat these patients. And the people of Port-au-Prince are out in the streets, not in their homes, for fear that they, too, could become victims of this earthquake if the aftershocks bring down what's left of their homes.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Port-au-Prince, in Haiti.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
HOLMES: Yes, difficult to watch, indeed, Wolf.
Ivan Watson there. That just arrived, literally, in the last 20 minutes or so. What -- what he's saying there, too, is important to note. In a place like Haiti, which had a problematic infrastructure to begin with, what this earthquake has done is -- is damaged all the treatment places they did have. Even Medecins Sans Frontieres, Doctors Without Borders, their three main treatment clinics in Port- au-Prince damaged; the hospital, damaged.
So those people have no one to treat them in many cases -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Michael, this is a devastating situation. And -- and it seems -- but correct me if you -- if you disagree. It seems like the news that we're getting keeps getting worse and worse.
HOLMES: Yes. Absolutely. And that's what we're seeing, too. We're -- we're seeing that and we're still getting a lot of material on Facebook and the like. And one thing that I've noticed here in the last couple of hours, the number of people who are posting on iReport.com asking people, "Have you seen my wife, husband, father, mother, niece?
It -- it -- it's really heartbreaking to watch. It started off just a matter of hours ago, with people saying, have you seen someone. We now have 60 pages on that Web site of people posting photographs and saying, have you seen (INAUDIBLE)?
There are so many people who are missing, the damage and the more photos we're getting in and the more video we're getting from our own crews now just shows you the extent of this damage, the magnitude of what happened. Port-au-Prince basically crumbled.
BLITZER: Yes. A city of two million people. Under normal circumstances, those buildings are not strong, structurally sound to begin with. And, obviously, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, with a lot of aftershocks, some 5.9, 5.5, certainly causing extra -- extraordinary death and destruction in Haiti right now.
We're going to go back to Port-au-Prince in just a moment, continue our coverage, speak with some survivors, check in with our reporters.
CNN's coverage of the earthquake in Haiti continues after this.
BLITZER: There are so many heartbreaking stories that have occurred in Haiti over the past 24 hours. Let's speak with the father of someone who's -- who was in Haiti during this.
Mark Prusynski is joining us from Boise, Idaho right now.
Your daughter, Rachel, Mark, I take it, has been in -- in Haiti for a while. She was caught in the earthquake.
Pick up the story. Tell us what she saw, because you spoke with her.
MARK PRUSYNSKI, FATHER OF HAITI EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR: OK. She was actually there just since the first of the year visiting a friend of hers who is a volunteer from Friends of the Orphans down there. And she was working with orphans. She's studying physical therapy.
And yesterday afternoon, they returned to their residence, which is the -- I guess it used to be a hospital, Father Wasson's Center, that was the building that was reported to be collapsed. And she felt the building -- she had just gone up to the seventh floor and left her friends on lower floors and the building started shaking. She tried to leave and the next thing she knew, it just pancaked down. She ended up in the rubble, but relatively in good shape and...
BLITZER: We're showing our viewers that building -- the collapsed building right now. It looks like a miracle that she survived, because that building looks like a complete disaster.
PRUSYNSKI: Yes. And she really doesn't know where she landed or how she landed. But she did -- she was yelling or trying to get out. And she -- three -- three of Haitians heard her and helped her get out from underneath whatever she was under. Maybe it was because she was on the top floor -- her room was at the top floor -- that she wasn't under too much of the rubble.
But they took her in a pickup truck to the hospital. And since she wasn't seriously injured -- she ended up having a broken arm, some other bruises and a pretty significant laceration on her face -- she went over to the embassy near the hospital and spent the night there. And the embassy called us yesterday and told us that she was OK. And that was the first we heard of the...
BLITZER: What about her...
PRUSYNSKI: ...of the earthquake.
BLITZER: What about her former roommate, Molly Hightower (ph)?
PRUSYNSKI: Molly, I don't know yet whether she's OK. I have heard that one of her other acquaintances there, another volunteer, Erin Cluse (ph), was pulled out of the rubble. But she also had a brother that was visiting Erin, Brian Cluse. And we don't know about him.
BLITZER: Yes. We have a picture of Molly -- Molly, her friend that she was -- your daughter Rachael was visiting. Both involved in this Friends of Orphans organization.
But she's now in, I take it, she's out of Hai -- Haiti?
She's at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay...
BLITZER: ...in Cuba, getting ready to come home?
PRUSYNSKI: Correct. They flew her out on a helicopter and took care of her there at the base. And she's in the hospital. Communications are pretty sparse, but -- even at the hospital. And all of her stuff -- he cell phone and everything else -- was in that pile of rubble. So she has nothing other than the -- the hospital gown.
But so we're waiting to see how they're going to get her back. Tentatively, we'll be going to Florida today or tomorrow and then, hopefully, back home or back up to Tacoma to go to school -- go back to school next week.
BLITZER: Well, you give your daughter Rachel a big hug and a kiss. I'm sure you will. Thank God she's -- she's OK and she's on her way home. It will take a little while, but you'll be reunited.
And we're praying that her friend Molly and all of her other friends who are there, doing good work in Haiti through this organization, Friends of the Orphans, that they are OK, as well. We can only pray right now.
So many people around the world, Mark, are -- are getting involved in trying to do whatever they can to help all of these people in Haiti. So are we here at CNN. Thank you, Mark.
Good luck to you and Rachael and all of her friends and family.
Josh Levs is getting an incredible number of iReports and stories coming into CNN.
This is one heartbreaking story after another -- Josh.
JOSHUA LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. I'm actually going to pick up on where you were just now, because you were talking about -- at an orphanage. You know, there are a lot of organizations in Haiti, some of them run by American agencies that are there to try to help kids.
And what I have behind me -- we're going to close in on the screen here. What I have here are some of the latest iReports that we've just been getting. And you can see, this is one orphanage right here. That's from an Children's International Lifeline. And this group has a bunch of children there. And they are telling us that even though you can see the devastation that was done to their building, all the children at that facility are accounted for. And they tell us they have a series of these places around the country that feed, as well as teach children. And so far, no reports of any kids injured.
And it is a reminder, amid the horror of what we're seeing -- the just stunning horror, and I'm going to show you more of that in a moment -- that there are also these moments that are moments of relief, moments of heroism that will emerge from all this, which, adults save children and other things like that.
So these are some of the striking photos that have just come into us via iReport there.
Now, we're also taking a look at what images people worldwide are sending to each other a lot -- what images are getting a lot of traffic, what images are really interesting a lot of people.
And what we have found is this series of images that I have for you on my screen here, which came to us -- actually, these originated from the Associated Press. A lot of people sending them out in the Twitterverse.
You can see this. And if you look closely here, all these are cars down here. This is a giant chunk of building that has slammed down on top of them. And I think we can close in a little bit on this screen. But I want to lead up to a photo that I think is really striking. You have another one I can show you right here, which is a young child who was injured in the crash or in -- in -- when a building crashed.
I want to show you a couple more here, this one right here that shows the -- the palace. And I want to end for you on this one. Again, this one is from the Associated Press. But take a look at that. There's no picture of a building in here. What we do see is the anguish of a woman who had just lost a loved one in that. And when you look at that, I think this could ultimately be one of the iconic photos of what we're seeing right now. In the end, this is the humanity of it -- people losing their loved ones.
And before I go here, Wolf, I'm just going to mention, we've been talking about it, even showing the address on your screen throughout a lot of time here. CNN.com/impact is a way that you can help. We have this right here. We link it to numerous agencies that you've been hearing mentioned -- agencies that are going out there right now, that have relief work done; agencies that have been vetted, where we can show you actually what happens to your dollars.
I encourage you to check it out, CNN.com/impact, for information, for links to numerous agencies. And you can decide how you want to help. You can help provide food. You can help provide shelter.
We're also hearing from a lot of people who say, I want to volunteer, even if it means going to my local office of an agency, doing what I can. All of this right there for you, Wolf, CNN.com/impact.
It's getting a lot of traffic. And, obviously, we can all see why -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. And it's very important that our viewers -- and I'm getting a lot of reaction from my Twitter followers. They want to help. People all over the world want to help, Josh, right now. And if they go to CNN.com/impact, our Impact Your World segment, you made an important point. All of these organizations that are involved have been vetted. These are legitimate organizations doing important, very good work. And as -- as hard it is -- as it is to believe, there will be scam operations out there.
LEVS: There are.
BLITZER: So people have to be very, very careful -- Josh, just weigh in on that.
LEVS: I'm glad you said that. Yes, you know, one of the things that I follow here is what goes on on the Internet. And there are already groups out there that are trying it. It's inevitable. Every time there is some kind of crisis, you find that there are fake charities that spring up.
You get an e-mail in your inbox that claims it's going to send money somewhere. It might even pretend to be a legitimate agency, but it's secretly looking for your bank account information.
So be very, very wary. You want to look at what's vetted. There's a place called Charity Navigator. But I'm not going to throw lots of names at you. All you need to know is CNN.com/impact -- easy to remember. And when you get there, we link you to these agencies. We also link you to the Charity Navigator, which shows you what happens to your dollars. Your money will be protected. It's safe this way, definitely. I'm glad you said that, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right...
LEVS: everyone should be very wary of the strange e-mails that pop up in your in box claiming to be a charity you've never heard of.
BLITZER: Very important information for our viewers.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to go back to Port-au-Prince and talk to our correspondents on the ground right now. CNN has an enormous effort underway to make sure that all of the information coming out of Haiti right now is made available to you, our viewers, in the United States and around the world.
The breaking news from Haiti continues after this.
BLITZER: So many people around the world are getting involved, trying to do whatever they can to help the people of Haiti right now -- a country of nearly 10 million people, but two million in the capital of Port-au-Prince. And so many of them -- so many of them deeply affected by what happened some 24 hours ago, this earthquake, a 7.0, hitting Haiti.
Just a little while ago, I spoke with the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, who's the special United Nations envoy for Haiti.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, first of all, Wolf, it appears that an enormous percentage -- maybe as many as a third of the country -- have been adversely affected by it. We don't know how many people are dead yet. We did -- at last count, we had pulled 10 survivors out of our United Nations headquarters, which, as you know, was in a five story hotel that completely collapsed.
We know there are fatalities. We don't know how many. And that's the same for people throughout the island. We -- we still have lots and lots of people with missing family members. And we just have to keep hoping that we'll have more rescue teams down there. The United States sent more today. China sent one. And Russia is sending a big helicopter or two tomorrow. People from all over the world are -- are trying to help.
But it's a -- it's -- it's a devastating problem. Last night, the streets of Port-au-Prince were littered with wounded people sleeping and -- 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And the former president appealing to everyone -- world leaders, as well as average individuals around the world, to get involved and help.
Let's speak with Bob Poff right now.
He's with the Salvation Army in Haiti.
He's joining us via Skype.
Bob, from what you have seen over these past 25 hours or so, since the earthquake struck Haiti, how bad is the situation, from your eyewitness account?
BOB POFF, SALVATION ARMY, EARTHQUAKE WITNESS: It's the worst thing I've ever seen. And I have -- I have participated and served in many, many disasters in many parts of the world. And it's the absolute worst I've seen, because it's so overwhelming. It's so large of a -- of an area and a number of people and so much devastation in a concentrated area that there's -- I think it's going to take days, if not weeks, to -- to sort of dig out and -- and let alone begin to think about rebuilding or reassessing.
BLITZER: We -- we've heard from initial reports that the mood is getting a little bit more tense now, that people are not as -- let's say as relieved or to just have survived, that the situation is getting more -- a little bit more tense.
Is that what you're seeing. Bob?
POFF: Well, I -- I -- I think, that's true. I'm hearing that, as well. I haven't observed it personally. I -- I -- I know that people are desperate. And -- and -- and I think there's a -- there's an expectation that, you know, help will be on the way. And, of course, we all think that's going to be instantaneous. And we also know, many of us, that that -- it's never the case. It cannot be.
But -- so I -- I think there is a sense in which people are frustrated that the second night, they haven't seen much of a response. They don't have a place to sleep. They don't have anything to eat. They still don't have water to drink. It's -- it's definitely a challenging situation.
Where -- where I am, in -- in Delmadeaux (ph), Port-au-Prince which, frankly, is in one of the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince, the mood is -- the mood is not tense as much as it has been saddened. People are just devastated by -- by what has happened to them and their neighbors and family.
BLITZER: Are all of your colleagues from the Salvation Army who -- who have been working with you accounted for right now, Bob?
POFF: Yes. Yes. All of those in Port-au-Prince. Not all of those outside of Port-au-Prince. We have 63 Salvation Army Corps and church and community centers throughout Haiti. And we're trying to establish contact with all of them. But, of course, communication is very difficult. The distance is very vast. So we have tea -- teams of people who are working on trying to make those contacts.
So they're not all accounted for, but in the heaviest affected areas, they are.
BLITZER: Well, good luck.
Thanks for all the important work that you're doing.
Bob Poff with the sa -- Salvation Army.
He's on the scene in Port-au-Prince, joining us via Skype.
Our coverage will continue after this.
BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the shocking images in Haiti from the Associated Press.
Dazed survivors sit on a curb at a major traffic artery in Port- au-Prince.
Just down the road, people sift through the rubble of a collapsed building.
A woman sobs after finding the body of a loved one.
And surveying the destruction -- a woman stands atop what used to be her home.
Just a few of the images of the massive, massive devastation in Haiti right now.
This programming note. Next week, THE SITUATION ROOM moves to a new time. We'll be on the air from 5:00 p.m. Eastern until 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Rick Sanchez and "RICK'S LIST" will be on the air from 300 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern. That starts next Monday.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Up next, "CNN TONIGHT."