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Haiti in Crisis

Aired January 15, 2010 - 16:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: In Haiti today, this could be a day that would determine whether thousands of people live or many more die.

We must warn you, the images you're going to be seeing over the course of the next few hours may not be suitable for children. We have fresh video of the devastation. It shows how widespread and shocking the situation is. There are bodies in the streets. Many are being buried in mass graves.

There's no confirmed death toll. The Red Cross estimates 45,000 to 50,000 are dead. That's an estimate. Haiti's prime minister is fearing several hundred thousand people are dead.

Disaster experts say most deaths happen within three days after an earthquake. Today is the third day. So, finding trapped survivors is certainly critical, as is helping the injured.

Let's go to the scene. CNN's Ivan Watson is in Port-au-Prince. He's joining us now with the latest.

What -- what was this day like, Ivan?


I would like to introduce you to my colleague here, Robert Penfold from CNN's affiliate Channel 9 in Australia. Now, he's just come back with an incredible story of survival amid all this carnage, a baby that his team discovered lost amid the rubble.

Rob, what did you see today?


We were told, of course, there would be for more miracles today. This was it, more or less. And we were up there. We went to see the Save the Children's representatives. And there was quite a noise going on outside.

We went out, and the neighbors said, come quickly, come quickly. There's a baby in the rubble. We can hear the baby crying.

And, so, at this stage, we had decided we had better go over and have a look.

WATSON: And what did you find? PENFOLD: Well, we found was there was a hall, and there were a few people standing around. We made our way through the rubble. It took about 10 minutes to get down to where the area was. Most of the houses had collapsed down there.

And, sure enough, when we put our ear down to the hole, we could hear baby crying, a little baby. We asked around. They said they thought it was a 2-year-old baby girl. They weren't too sure. The neighbors weren't really sure at that stage. But, luckily, we had a fair -- our interpreter is a fairly small guy, but a guy with a big heart, a big heart.

And he jumped down that hole. And he worked for about 20 to 23 minutes pulling rubble out bit by bit by bit. My cameraman, Richard Moran (ph), also got down there as well and pulled the rubble out bit by bit. He had to work around a dead body. And then he came out and then there was amazing shot where he brought up the little baby. She is only about 18 months old.

He -- we're told her name was Winnie (ph). And, by then, her uncle had appeared. And -- but little Winnie, she was covered in dust, but she was uninjured. There were no cuts our bruises. It was amazing. Somehow, this tiny thing this had survived down there, what, for 68 hours.

WATSON: People will want to know what will happen to Winnie now?

PENFOLD: Well, what we did, we -- we got Winnie out. One by one, we carried her. Bit by bit, we passed her across all the rubble and brought her back out, and took her into the Save the Children Fund offices there.

We washed her down. We got her water. She seemed in amazingly good condition. She didn't cry once. There were no tears. There was no screaming. She just looked around and stared, almost in a daze.

And we washed her down. And then we got her uncle again and we put them together. Her uncle, sadly, has lost his wife, who was five months pregnant, and the mother and father of Winnie are apparently dead as well. But we put them together. And now they're taking them to a doctor for a checkup. But Winnie, to us, looks in fantastic condition.

WATSON: Well, thank you very much for sharing that with us.

Wolf, that's just one story, one example of what's going on in this devastated city.

Now, we're going to look behind me right now.

Thank you, Rob.

We have got a bulldozer coming past. And this has been digging through some of the rubble of a collapsed building just a little ways -- a block away. And, Wolf, just about an hour ago, we saw a body recovered from that collapsed building carried down the street by five men on their shoulders with a makeshift stretcher.

And one of my other colleagues, Joe Duran, he has been at the location where some of these bodies have been collected and dumped in what he has described as mass graves.

Stories of incredible survival and massive casualties in this devastated city, Wolf.

BLITZER: There are some reports, Ivan, that it's getting more tense as each day goes forward, looters, some violence. What have you seen?

WATSON: Well, we saw here an attempt at a food distribution. A small Haitian Christian charity, they tried to hand out food from the back of a pickup truck. The crowd gathered and started pushing and shoving.

In another location, one of our CNN teams was out with United Nations peacekeepers who were stationed here, and elements from the WFP, the World Food Program. They tried to distribute food, and the crowd got angry, and they actually had to retreat.

And we're getting hit -- we just had an aftershock just now, a small tremor, an aftershock. And the crowd behind me in this square seemingly not noticing it, Wolf. These are some of the realities of this chaotic situation here right now.

BLITZER: Are there still all sorts of wild rumors circulating and panic out of the blue sort of developing?

WATSON: Well, the situation is very fluid. You have put people -- pushed them to the edge right now, where they have lost loved ones. They have lost their homes. And they're really on the brink here, the thousands of people behind me here just living out in the open right now.

And, in some cases, we have seen some heartwarming moments, earlier today, hundreds of women going past in a procession, singing, clapping a religious song, dancing.

But, in other moments, we have heard accounts of looting. We have heard of people fighting over food. This is a very difficult and trying time. We're going to see the best and worst out of humanity here in Port-au-Prince.

BLITZER: We are going to be in close touch with you, Ivan. Thanks very much. Ivan Watson is on the scene for us. We are going to be going back to him. All of our correspondents are standing by. We will be speaking with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's at a makeshift hospital right now. Anderson Cooper is standing by, Gary Tuchman, Susan Candiotti. We have got a whole team of reporters on the scene. We are going to be checking in with all of them.

All are getting a different piece of what's going on. We're going to try to share this information with you, our viewers here in the United States and around the world. She was buried alive when the world came tumbling down around her in Haiti on Tuesday. Today, a woman in Port-au-Prince was rescued with barely a scratch on her and with a horrific story to tell.

CNN's Gary Tuchman was there when she was pulled to safety.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How do you feel right now? How are you doing?


WATSON: Everyone was worried about you.



TUCHMAN: You were up there for over two days.

MOISE: Uh-huh.

TUCHMAN: OK. What do you think about these heroes? These are guys from Iceland who rescued you, and women?

MOISE: (INAUDIBLE) I don't know.

TUCHMAN: They saved your life.

MOISE: (INAUDIBLE) when they came, that I really had faith that I would be rescued.

TUCHMAN: Faradhia, we're so happy you're alive. The whole world knows about you.

MOISE: The only thing I can say is thank you very much. (INAUDIBLE)

TUCHMAN: Thank you, Faradhia.


MOISE: And, when it happened, I was very trapped.

TUCHMAN: Did you know what -- did you know what happened?

MOISE: Well, I presumed it was an earthquake, but I would not be 100 percent sure, because it happened so fast. My God, this is something I heard of. It's -- I never thought how fast (INAUDIBLE)

TUCHMAN: Were you screaming and yelling for a long time?

MOISE: Well, you know what? I did not even have the time to scream, because, as I told you, I just...

(CROSSTALK) TUCHMAN: Afterwards. I mean, afterwards, while you were trapped, afterwards. Were you screaming while you were trapped?

MOISE: When that just happened, I was really under shock, because, when it happened, at first, I had one leg that was totally, you know (INAUDIBLE) and the other one was right under my other leg.

And I managed to have it back like to both to the same position. And ever since, I have been praying. And, to be honest, I even slept. I did not want to have that feeling where I could not breathe. And, luckily, I breathed all the time. And I even could smell fresh air.

TUCHMAN: Was there a time where you thought that...

MOISE: And that's -- no. (INAUDIBLE) said to myself, dear God gave all these possibilities to be on a place where I could lay down, turn on the side, both sides, even be able to get some sleep.

I communicate also with people that were in other places. And, unfortunately, many of them did not make it.


BLITZER: Fifty hours, she was buried alive, but she is alive right now.

Gary Tuchman -- Gary Tuchman on the scene for us.

Anderson Cooper is on the scene for us right now. Let's go to speak to -- let's speak with Anderson.

Anderson, I take it, what you have seen today, no one should ever see in a lifetime, but tell our viewers what you're saying on -- in Port- au-Prince and the environs there.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Well, Wolf, you know, there's been a lot of rumors in this city about what's happening with the bodies. As of late last night, we started to see bodies picked up by front-loaders, a bulldozer-like equipment, and then being dumped into dump trucks, and then carted off.

It wasn't really known where -- where those bodies were going. There were rumors some were being burned. What we found today was at least one series of mass graves far on the outskirts of the city of Port-au- Prince out near the mountains in a field.

We followed a dump truck and discovered what is just a mass grave in this field. There were three or four pits that were still open that were about half-filled. We saw probably as many as 50 or 60 bodies lying either in the pits, or some of them had just been dumped into piles out on the ground.

And, at first, when you looked at them, it was hard to tell what they were. They were wrapped up, some of them in cloth. Some of the bodies were still tied to doors that people had used as stretchers. There was even one body that was stuffed into an old refrigerator that someone had used to carry that body to where it was left.

And it's -- you know, in Sri Lanka, we saw this. We saw mass graves. And, often, in natural disasters, because the sheer -- the question of getting bodies buried in time, mass graves are a common thing. But, in Sri Lanka, there was organization, and they at least photographed the bodies, so loved ones might be able to identify them. Here, there's no such organization.

These people are simply being dumped into pits and covered over, and then more people piled on top of that. And for their loved ones, unless they saw that person die and saw the body for themselves, they may never know what actually happened. And we may never know exactly how many people died here -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So, there's no record, as far as you can tell, that's being kept, names, identification numbers, of individuals; people are simply disappearing?

COOPER: Absolutely.

I mean, I -- we were -- we were there long enough that another dump truck came while we were there. The driver -- one driver got out of the vehicle. Another person got behind the wheel, and they just dumped another load of -- of human remains, of another 25 to 30 people, we estimated, into this pit, and then literally drove off.

I mean, there -- there could be American citizens in there. There are certainly a lot of Haitians in there. There's no telling who these people are. And there's certainly no records that I could tell being kept of how many people are being buried in these mass graves.

BLITZER: How worried are the experts there, Anderson, that, yes, thousands have died in the earthquake, but now many more people potentially could die in the aftermath of disease that they're -- that they're getting because of a lack of medical equipment or antibiotics or other medicine?

COOPER: well, I mean, there's no doubt that people are dying today and died yesterday and died the day before that because of -- I mean, it's stupid deaths, I mean, deaths that didn't need to occur if there was -- if they had access to antibiotics, or if they had access to a doctor who could treat their wounds, or if they had access to a surgeon who could amputate a limb, so that gangrene didn't spread and course through their whole body.

So, you know, there are -- people are dying today because the -- you know, enough aid is not in the right place and there are not enough personnel to help those people. And there's a lot of stuff in the pipeline, and we have all been reporting on that. But it's -- you know, it's obviously incredibly frustrating for people here, and people are losing their lives.

You can break a leg here, Wolf, and have an open wound, and that can lead to an infection, and you can die of sepsis in a relatively short, short period of time, I'm told. So, you know, it's hard to believe that just something like a broken leg could end up killing you, but that's the situation here.

Without antibiotics, without proper treatment, people are dying of things that -- that no one in this day and age should be dying of.

BLITZER: We're going to be speaking with a physician who is on the scene right now. We're going to get into that.

But, Anderson, before I let you go, is there any semblance of a Haitian government there, police, other law enforcement authorities? Or has all of that simply collapsed?

COOPER: No, I don't think it's fair to say it's collapsed. Driving around a lot today in Port-au-Prince, I saw Haitian police out outside gas stations. You know, there are long lines for gas. People can be -- it would be very easy for people to start fighting over access to those gas pumps.

There were Haitian police, well-dressed in well-pressed uniforms standing with guns outside two gas stations that I saw. So, that, to me, is a sign of, all right, there is some sign of organization on the police force. They're there at key points.

Believe it or not, traffic lights are working, oddly enough. I mean, there's no electricity throughout much of the city, but, for some reason, at least in a lot of places I was on, the traffic lights seemed to be working, and people seemed to be kind of obeying those lights.

And, look, it's clearly some sort of Haitian government effort that -- that is collecting these bodies. I saw a bulldozer down this street. That's the first bulldozer I have actually seen working today. We're seeing a lot more search-and-rescue teams driving around.

And I saw a U.N. -- a group of Bolivian peacekeepers who, on their own, had just gone to a poor neighborhood, had two trucks with prepared food, a hot meal. And, in a very orderly way, they were handing out hot meals to -- to people who were in this makeshift encampment. So, you're seeing some organization, but there's no central organization, Wolf.

And that's probably the most important thing. No one really knows where the worst-affected areas are. There's not a sense of like, OK, the next team that arrives should go here. No one -- it doesn't seem like there's any one group. The U.N. has a coordinating body. The U.S. military is going to be coordinating a lot things from the airport.

But you -- you don't feel much of a Haitian government presence. Clearly, the onus is going to be on international forces and the United States.

BLITZER: Anderson is going to have a lot more coming up later tonight on "AC360." We are going to check back with you, Anderson, if we can. Thanks very much -- Anderson part of our excellent team on the ground in Haiti right now. We will speak with a physician who has just arrived in Haiti to get the latest on what is actually going on, the medical treatment. The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is getting ready to brief reporters over at the State Department. We will check in over there as well.

Much more of our breaking news coverage -- right after this.


BLITZER: Water, food and medicine are arriving, but getting it to the people is a problem, with the clogged airport, the damaged port, and the devastated roads.

Joining us now on the phone is Dr. David Gettle. He's a medical doctor with Samaritan's Purse, which is an international Christian relief agency. He was in Haiti within 24 hours after the earthquake. And he's among the medical professionals who need supplies, bringing supplies, trying to do a job.

What's it like, Dr. Gettle, based on your experience over these past several hours?

DR. DAVID GETTLE, MEDICAL RESPONSE LEADER, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: Well, what we're seeing is, as you said, there's just a (AUDIO GAP) need of supplies, everything from as simple as Betadine up to more specific as far as orthopedic surgery instruments and pins.

Currently, we're at a hospital operating out of the Baptist Haiti Mission. And it's a 100-bed hospital. And, this morning, the count was 300 patients. We don't talk in terms of bed counts here. We talked in term of bed and floor counts.

We have opened up other rooms outside of the hospital. And we're triaging patients to those areas that can last until we get more aid in here.

BLITZER: What is your most immediate requirement?

GETTLE: Right now, the most immediate requirement appears to be -- ours is physicians, which we have initiated and have brought in six already. So, that one hospital is staffed.

But simple things -- again, like I just said, we're running out of Betadine, and they have open wounds. I have -- people laying on the floors and beds that have obvious deformed fractures just looking at them, and they have been laying there now for two days.

Sutures, just everything that we think of rudimentary, they do not have it. We started tearing up some -- tearing up bed sheets to use for bandages or to hold the bandages on.

Water is an issue, as far as the water you can drink and the water that you can use to clean patients with. We have just brought in two water-filtration units. Each one will give us 10,000 gallons per day of usable, drinkable water. And those are headed up to that one hospital now.

As you can tell, the needs are great. And even though we're able to help this one hospital, there are many, many more. We have reports of a pediatric hospital in Petionville collapsing, and parents and concerned loved ones standing around waiting to find out if there -- if the patients in that hospital have been recovered or can be removed at this time.

BLITZER: Well, Dr. Gettle, good luck to you. We're counting on you. We're counting on so many others to save lives. This is a critical day right now, 72 hours or so after the earthquake.

There are still people, perhaps thousands of people, still alive who are in the rubble of those crushed buildings, but they're working desperately to save them. And they're working desperately to save lives.

Dr. David Gettle is with Samaritan's Purse.

Let's check in with Jack Cafferty.

Jack, this is such a heart-wrenching story for all of us.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Horrible stuff. If -- if it's permissible, CNN is doing one hell of a job covering this story, Anderson and Gupta and all of the people, Susan Candiotti, our production crews, the camera crews. It's great stuff.

In the hours and days following the earthquake in Haiti, technology is proving that the world is indeed smaller than it's ever been. For starters, the first pictures in the aftermath of the earthquake came from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

When there was no video yet and traditional media weren't able to broadcast, it was newer technologies that showed the world how bad things were in Haiti and how quickly help was needed. And it's not just about change in delivering information. Technology is a key factor in the relief -- in the relief aid and the flow of efforts to supply relief as well.

So far, it's estimated Americans have pledged more than $8 million via text message to the Red Cross alone, plus millions to other charities as well. The Red Cross mobilized giving efforts through social networking sites. And, so far, hundreds of thousands have donated $10 each via texts to the Red Cross. It's quick. It's easy, simple. The charge appears on the user's cell phone bill.

The text message donations for Haiti also dwarfed the amounts that were raised as recently as Hurricane Katrina and, before that, the Indian Ocean tsunami. Of course, it's only part of a larger flow of money being donated to Haiti, but it's significant, because the relief agencies are reaching young people, typically the hardest to track down and who might not have traditionally giving at all otherwise.

Some suggest now that texting has opened a whole new world for philanthropy. Here's the question then: How do you think technology has helped in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake?

Go to Give us your thoughts. That's where my blog is -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's an amazing new development over these past few years, the technology, Jack. It's -- it's -- you and I are old enough to remember how we used to cover these kinds of disasters. And now it's a whole new world out there. And it's only getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller. So, good question, Jack. Thank you.

CAFFERTY: It's an amazing time we live in.

BLITZER: Yes. All right.

We're going to go back to Port-au-Prince. CNN's Chris Lawrence, our Pentagon correspondent, he is on the scene. We're getting new pictures of aid that is just arriving, U.S. military forces on the way.

Stand by. Our continuing coverage will resume after this.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

We're here with the Haitian ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph. We're going to discuss.

But Chris Lawrence is our Pentagon correspondent. He is on the scene for us, Mr. Ambassador, right now at the airport.

Where are you exactly, Chris? It doesn't look like you're at the airport.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: No, Wolf, I'm here just outside the park near the presidential palace.

BLITZER: Tell our viewers what's going on, because I take it we have got new images, new pictures of aid finally arriving in Haiti?

LAWRENCE: That's right.

What our goal was, was to follow some of the aid as it comes off the plane, gets to the airport, and then tries to get out into some of the neighborhoods where the folks actually need it. And, so, we started at the airport following some of this food and things that the World Food Program was taking.

And, basically what we learned, and from everything that I saw, it's telling me that just getting the aid here by plane, boat, whatever is really just the first step. And there are some serious problems out there with trying to get that aid out to people without things degenerating into chaos.

Take a look and listen just a little bit at what happened as we started to follow these -- this truck around in trying -- as they tried to get it out to some of the people out there.


LAWRENCE: ... only able to last for about five minutes before it starts getting out of hand again.

The thing that I'm noticing, too, is like there's a lot of small kids in there that are getting jammed up against other people, or they're just getting pushed out of the way entirely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not good like that, OK? It's not good like that.


LAWRENCE: What is wrong with the -- what is wrong with the biscuits? Why don't people want to eat it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a bad thing. It's a bad case.

LAWRENCE: What's happening is, they're confusing the date that it was -- that it was packaged on, which was 2008, with the expiration date, which is November 2010.

I know it's hard to see, but he's basically yelling and telling people, do not accept these biscuits, because they're no good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are very concerned, but the biscuits are very good. They're OK, no.

LAWRENCE: But you can see everybody's following the truck, but there it goes. They're trying to even just hold onto the back of it, but it's pulling away.

A lot of people ended up with nothing. But I don't know if you can still see. They're running after the truck, trying to get it. But that truck is gone now.


LAWRENCE: Yes, Wolf, all of that because of a huge misunderstanding.

The World Food Program has these high-energy biscuits. They're vitamin-fortified, they're easy to digest. And they've been passing them out, trying to pass them out to people, but a few people in the crowd looked at the date that it was actually packaged on, which was 2008. They thought that was the expiration date, and they started throwing the biscuits on the ground yelling very loudly, yelling at everyone else in the crowd, "Don't take these biscuits, do not take them, they're bad, they're bad!"

And that just set people off. We were seeing people stepping on the biscuits, throwing them to the ground.

You combine that with the fact that everyone was pushing, pushing, pushing -- and we saw women getting pushed to the back, children getting pushed out of the way. And finally, the truck just couldn't take it anymore and the truck started speeding away. And as you saw right there, people were literally trying to hang on to the truck as it sped away and running down the street after it.

The World Food Program is telling me that yesterday they were able to feed about 2,000 people. Their goal today was about 8,000. Ultimately, to try to feed about 60,000 people every day. But just from what I saw, I think it really, really drives home the fact that just getting the food and any kind of aid to Haiti is one thing, but setting it up so it can be distributed without people getting hurt or even worse is going to be a major, major challenge -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, this is a huge problem. And the ambassador of Haiti in Washington, Raymond Joseph, Chris, is here with us. He's been raising these concerns now for the past few days.

This is a chance for you to tell our viewers, Mr. Ambassador -- and I want Chris to hear it, because I think you probably have a question you want to ask him -- is there a coordinating Haitian agency that can make sure that this aid -- and it's beginning to trickle in, but it's going to be coming in much bigger numbers over the next several days -- to make sure it's distributed in an orderly way and people don't start panicking?

RAYMOND JOSEPH, HAITIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Well, finally, they have set up the crisis unit.

BLITZER: Who has?

JOSEPH: The Haitian government has set up a crisis unit. It's not far from the airport. And this morning, assistant to the president, Mr. Gabrielle Deret (ph), I couldn't talk to him, but I heard him speaking to people and giving the instructions.

BLITZER: So will all of the aid from the U.N., the United States, all the other countries coming in, the private organizations, go through this central source?

JOSEPH: I wouldn't say that all of it would go through the central source, but at least now we have a government clearinghouse to discuss the distribution of the aid and provide security.

BLITZER: Does the government have the wherewithal, the law enforcement, the authority to do it?

JOSEPH: We do. We do have the law enforcement authority.

BLITZER: Do you need the 82nd Airborne of the U.S. to take charge of security?

JOSEPH: Well, I don't think they have to take charge of security. I think they can be there to support the security.

BLITZER: Because 2,000 U.S. Marines are on their way as well.

JOSEPH: I know. And we need them, but what I think would be the best thing is to put the national police up front.

They speak Creole, they understand the people better. And have the airborne and the U.S. soldiers as backup.

I saw something back in August when I went to Haiti. Don't forget, when the U.N. came to Haiti in 2004, there were only 2,500 policemen and policewomen for the whole country.

BLITZER: Now there's 9,000.

JOSEPH: Haitians, 10,000.

BLITZER: Ten thousand. There's almost 10 million people that live in Haiti. That's not a lot.

JOSEPH: Well, that's what I was going to say. The Haitians must be the most peaceful people in the world, because when you have nine million people and 2,500 police, it's almost a city of New York, with 8.5 million, where they have 45,000 police.

BLITZER: We're just learning that the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and the AID administrator, Rajiv Shah, they're going to Haiti tomorrow to see what's going on. I assume this is welcome news for you?

JOSEPH: Very welcome news.

BLITZER: What do you hope they will achieve?

JOSEPH: What I hope they achieve is that they finally settle the friction between the arriving groups of Americans who want to take control right away and the reticent Haitians who say, well, we can't really wish everything like that.

BLITZER: You mean, the friction between Haitians and Americans right now? And you're hoping that Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, can ease some of this friction?

JOSEPH: Right.

BLITZER: I wasn't familiar that there was that much friction.

JOSEPH: It's not a lot.

BLITZER: Hold on one second, because let me let Chris Lawrence weigh in on that.

Have you seen that kind of tension between Americans and Haitians over who's in charge, Chris?

LAWRENCE: Sort of the opposite. I've seen -- you know, I was talking to the U.S. ambassador to Haiti earlier this morning, and he was saying one of the problems was getting communication with the Haitian authorities. The communication was very bad between the two entities, and so what they were doing was setting up specific times, because people couldn't get a hold of each other to say to the Haitian authorities, OK, at 9:00 in the morning, that's when we are going to meet you here.

So if nobody even heard from each other, they would try to meet at that time. And that would involved not only the United States, but Brazil and some other countries that have a very large presence here, all trying to meet with the Haitian authorities to iron out some of these differences.

BLITZER: All right, Chris. I'm going to have you stand by.

Mr. Ambassador, don't leave. We have more to discuss.

CNN's Brian Todd is now aboard the U.S. aircraft the USS Carl Vinson. We're going to check in with him.

Tom Foreman is also over at the wall. The ambassador and I are going to go over, take a closer look at some of the logistical problems that are front and center right now.

Our coverage will continue after this.


BLITZER: Only moments ago, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, made this announcement...


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I also have decided, after consulting with President Obama and others in our government, that I will be traveling to Haiti tomorrow with USAID administrator Dr. Raj Shah. We will be meeting with President Preval and other members of the Haitian government, along with the members of the U.S. government team on the ground, including our civilian and military leaders.


BLITZER: The secretary of state making that announcement.

Mr. Ambassador, Raymond Joseph, is still here. Tom Foreman is here. We're going to go through some of the logistical challenges facing the international community and the Haitian government, but you're happy that she's going?

JOSEPH: Definitely, I'm happy. I think her presence there will help smooth operations between the Haitian officials, some who are reticent in relinquishing some power, and the U.S. officials or U.S. military that wants to...


BLITZER: She's supposed to be in Australia and New Zealand these days, but she canceled that trip because of this crisis, for good reason.

All right, Tom. With the ambassador's help, walk us through some of these challenges. TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We want to show you, first of all, if we can a unique view that we've been compiling here for a couple of days of the damage and the focus of the damage here. We haven't seen anything like this before, and it's important to look at.

This is Port-au-Prince. And we've seen the airport out here, downtown down in this area. And as I bring this up, I'll show you a grid we've created showing the most damage in the city. It's indicated by the deeper the red color and the height of this box sitting above it.

So, Mr. Ambassador, you can see...

BLITZER: I take it that's closer to the epicenter of the earthquake?

FOREMAN: Absolutely. Well, the epicenter is over here, but this is also closest to the biggest buildings in town.

Correct? Explain this to us, Mr. Ambassador.

JOSEPH: This down here is real downtown Port-au-Prince, and Jean- Jacques Dessalines, the major artery north and south, goes through that section here. And as you can see, that's where it's the most heavily traveled.

BLITZER: This red area over here near the port?

JOSEPH: Near the port, but it's the most heavily traveled as you go from the northern part of the city to reach the southern part. And the southern part is where you have four departments. So if this is not cleared, we will have trouble, but I think it's been cleared.

FOREMAN: We'll get to the roads in just a moment. Let me ask you another question about population, because a business area, obviously you can have a lot of people there at that time of day, you can have a lot of people hurt. But also out here, in more residential areas, you may have more people.

If you look at this map and you look at the destruction, can you look at this and say the hot spots of people needing help would be here or here? Where would you look?

JOSEPH: Well, I would look over here, because this is the area where people live. Most people live in this part. Down here is where most business takes place. Some people live there, too, but that's mostly a business area.

BLITZER: It's more of a downtown area.

JOSEPH: Downtown area.

FOREMAN: Let's look at something else that you just gave a hint at a minute ago.

Yesterday, when you were here, we talked about the key roads here, and you said these are the roads that really need to be opened. We'll go over them very briefly. This is Truman over here. This is Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the main road you were talking about. This is Delma (ph) this way, John Brown (ph) down here, and Hili Solasi (ph) up here.

Out of all these roads, Mr. Ambassador -- we went through the satellite images and looked at them -- the only one that's actually clear that we can so is Truman, right along the coast here. It may be broken up, but it's now clear.

But now I want you to look at this. We went through and marked every place where it was blocked on these roads, and this is what we have. The red ones mean it looks completely impassable. The yellow ones look like there is blockage.

What are we to make of this? I'll zoom in while you're talking and show, in a moment, the before and after of some of this damage. What do you do? I counted this. There are more than three dozen blockages on Jean-Jacques Dessalines. What do you do about it?

JOSEPH: What it means is, if you're going to go with any produce, or anything from north to south, you have to go by the sea, through Truman Boulevard. And the airport being here, you cannot use this Jean-Jacques Dessalines, which usually is the most traveled for -- what do they call it -- the tap-taps. The tap-taps is the little buses, very colorful buses.

They cannot use that. So you have to use Truman.

FOREMAN: And if we can, Wolf, I did want to take one moment here before we wrap this up to just show you something here very quickly.

If I turn off the roads and the blockage, and I just turn on the satellite image to show you the damage along this, look at this road beforehand, and then as I slide the satellite image in, it will take me just a moment here to get this turned on properly. As I slide it in, you will see -- we're having a little trouble getting it to react here.

There we go. One more time. No, we can't get it to come back in here.

BLITZER: All right. You know what, Tom? We're going to fix that and get back to you.

FOREMAN: There we go, Wolf. We'll get back to it here in a moment and show you, but you can see the very specific damage in that area as we move down, and you can see why it's so much trouble as we move into this.

When we talk about these roads being covered, look at the damage along this road. It is absolutely mind-blowing, how cluttered this road is with debris.

This road over here, look at this. It is almost impossible, Wolf, to imagine how anybody is going to get anything through that part of the city for sometime. So, wherever the aid goes, it cannot go through there.

BLITZER: That's why they need this earth-moving equipment. They need to get it off the ships and get it on the ground as quickly as possible to save lives.

All right, Tom. Thanks very much.

Mr. Ambassador, as usual, you've been a big help to us. Stand by.

We're going to get an exclusive look at the U.S. relief efforts under way. We'll also going to be speaking with people inside Haiti right now. This is a heartbreaking story that is unfolding. Today is a critical day, 72 hours after this earthquake.


BLITZER: In Haiti, the death, the devastation and the disease are all huge problems. So is the possibility of looting and violence. There's also a real fear because of what happened at the Port-au- Prince prison.

CNN's Anderson Cooper has more.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the prison in downtown Port-au-Prince, the inmates have escaped. The rubble is all that remains.

(on camera): We heard the prison was destroyed. We didn't realize we'd find the door wide open.

(voice-over): Inside prisoners' possessions are strewn about. Signs of overcrowding are everywhere. This jail was meant to hold some 1,200 inmates, but at the time of the quake there were more than 4,500.

(on camera): We've been told that there were three dead bodies here. It urns out there's actually four. Four men. Looks like they were crushed by falling debris. There's actually dried blood all here on the floor.

We just saw a young man, a little boy who was looking for his brother, looking at the bodies. But a lot of these people may never be identified. I mean, they're already swollen beyond recognition, and it's not clear how soon these men will be collected and buried. A lot of people, I think, in Port-au-Prince will simply just disappear. Their bodies will never be identified. Their families will never know what really happened to them.

(voice-over): People take whatever supplies they can find. Businesses closed, there's still money to be made.

(on camera): You can see the walls of the prison are still intact. So it's not as if the entire prison collapsed and the prisoners were able to escape. We're not exactly sure what happened here, but a U.N. source tells us they believe the prisoners actually rioted after the earthquake, took over the facility from the guards, and then were able to escape from a variety of different routes.

We found this rope, which has been tied around a post. It -- and then thrown over the side of this prison wall. It goes down about 30 or 40 feet. Clearly, inmates were using this rope to try to escape, and all along these walls there's bloody hand prints, streaks of blood.

(voice-over): With Haiti's police stretched thin, there's little hope of rounding up all the inmates any time soon. This man is the prison warden.

(on camera): How big a concern is it that all these prisoners are now out there?

(voice-over): "When you have criminals, bandits, assassins who terrorize the population," he says, "and we have all these types here, it's a big problem for the country."

Another big problem for this problem-prone country, the last thing they need to deal with in these difficult days.


BLITZER: Anderson Cooper, we're going to be checking back with him in Haiti. That's coming up.

Also, CNN's Mary Snow is taking a look at a very sensitive issue right now. So many people are heart-sickened by what's going on with the kids in Haiti, the orphans especially. Adoption, is that a serious option for many Americans who might want to adopt someone in Haiti? She's taking a closer look.

Our coverage of the breaking news will resume after this.


BLITZER: Now approaching almost exactly 72 hours since the earthquake, a 7.0 struck Haiti, you're looking at pictures of the devastation that's occurred. These shots taken from a helicopter flying over the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Seventy-two hours is critical, because the assumption is that a lot of people can survive in the rubble for 72 hours, sometimes a bit longer. That's why it's so urgent right now to get heavy equipment to remove some of that rubble and save lives. Lots of lives at stake right now.

At the hub of the United States relief effort in Haiti is the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Today, CNN's foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, got an exclusive look at the epicenter of the relief operation. It's gone 24/7 with a palpable sense of urgency.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUSAN REICHLE, USAID: This is the home of the response management team of USAID that is set up every single time that there is a disaster. And they work 24 hours a day on shifts, and the people here -- for example, there are your food experts. They're getting the food into the country as soon as possible.

We have health experts, we have information experts. We have all the different sectoral experts that we need in order to resolve problems and get the commodities in, as well as search and rescue teams in.


REICHLE: He's trying to find out, where are the search and rescue teams right now? How do we get the search and rescue teams to the most vital areas within Port-au-Prince? He's a pivotal person right now, because, as we know, the first 72 hours are absolutely pivotal to get those teams in.

We're at about hour 60 right now. The clock is running. So what you see here is really a battle rhythm of, how do we save lives as quickly as possible and get those people and resources in there?

DOUGHERTY: Food people are over here?

REICHLE: Yes. Here we go.

DOUGHERTY: OK. Let's go over here.

REICHLE: She is talking to her colleagues in the State Department specifically about the staging area and getting the food operations, the food commodities in country. There will be a barge that arrives this weekend which will feed two million Haitians for up to six months, so getting that barge into country and getting it through the distribution network.

DOUGHERTY: These people are using e-mail.

REICHLE: OK. So how do they actually communicate?


REICHLE: This is a very important point, because we have to use all means of communication. One of the things that this team is doing is text-messaging constantly with our team members on the ground, because, as you know, the cell phones are down, phone communications are very, very difficult.

Right now I'm walking into the Haiti Interagency Task Force Center, where right now the administrator is connected to all senior policy- level makers in the government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody today has to be getting our routes going, getting that airport going, and starting to work on developing alternative routes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to think big, go big and go fast. (END VIDEOTAPE)

DOUGHERTY: USAID teams are now using satellite imagery to targets rescue operations, and there are 24 international and U.S. search and rescue teams on the ground. USAID also is focusing now on getting food, water and shelter into the survivors. And the scale, as you just heard, is enormous. They're planning to provide food for two million Haitians lasting up to six months -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Six months.


BLITZER: And the secretary of state, as we've been reporting, on the way to Haiti tomorrow to see what's going on, to get a better assessment.

All right, Jill. Thanks very much.

Let's check in with Jack Cafferty right now for "The Cafferty File."

Jack, it's a story that is not going to end anytime soon.

CAFFERTY: Yes. This is fascinating stuff, too, the way when it's necessary, people can mobilize and knuckle down and do the right thing.

The question this hour is: How has technology helped in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake? Jill's piece was addressing part of the answer to that question just a minute ago.

This is from Ikhan. "The heartwarming response to the disaster from around the world in such a short time is proof that technology does make a difference. The very first glimpses of the tragedy were through cell phones. One can text a contribution, use the Internet, or even a phone, to be able to help and keep abreast of developments."

"Rescue efforts have vastly improved because of technology. It saves lives in a manner that was unthinkable just a decade ago."

Matthew in California writes, "Technology has made it so that younger people are now donating. I'm 17. I donated through texting. I would never have donated any other way because I don't know how. But I do know how to text."

Chris says, "Amazing how much the ability to text donations has affected my peer group. As a middle class 30-year-old, I've barely seen any mention of donations for an international emergency in the past among my friends. This time around, nearly all of my friends have donated."

"Furthermore, I was able to raise $50 around the pool table the other night just mentioning the text possibility. Within minutes, five people, both friends and strangers, sent $10. An amazing advancement." Dawn writes, "Yes, technology has been huge in this tragedy, but so is CNN. I'm absolutely in awe of the job you all are doing. If this gives you a big head, so be it. You deserve it."

Thank you very much, Dawn, for the kind words.

Lynn in Missouri writes, "It's amazing. It's impressive. The outpouring of generosity very heartwarming in light of our own unemployment and financial woes. It makes me feel very proud of us."

And Nanette in Minnesota writes, "It certainly brings the urgency right in to my living room. I'm lying on my couch recuperating from hip surgery and feeling more fortunate by the hour that I had anesthesia for it."

"Feeling pretty humbled by it all. I challenge by Facebook friends to donate to the Red Cross on their cell phones today. If we have the technology, we ought to make the most of it."

If you want to read more about this -- interesting e-mails we got on this subject -- you'll find it at my blog at -- Wolf.