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Effort to Get Help to Haiti; Stories of Survival Against the Odds; Haitian Field Hospitals Struggle to Fill Void
Aired January 18, 2010 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, time now for your top of the hour reset. I'm Tony Harris in the CNN NEWSROOM.
It is noon in Port-au-Prince where there is a race to get food to the desperate in Haiti. Still in Haiti, the rubble gives up more survivors. One man says he survived on peanut butter and jelly while trapped in a supermarket. And a survivor's journey through the streets in the hour after the quake strikes. He documents the tragedy on his cell phone camera.
Let's do this, let's get started.
Now to a piece of powerful video from the exact moment the killer earthquake struck Haiti. It is a CNN exclusive. Keep listening after the picture goes black.
Boy, it only took 15 seconds for structures to start crumbling. We are told everyone -- wow -- oh boy. Again, it took just 15 seconds for structures like this one to start crumbling. And we should point out here that we're told everyone in this particular house survived.
And here you are looking at -- look at desperate Haitians taking whatever they can find to survive. The lack of food, water and other essential supplies threatens to push the earthquake-ravaged nation further into chaos. The crowds here will begin to scatter when Haitian police pull up and just start opening fire.
All right. There are reports of people killed. Aid officials fear all-out lawlessness if lifesaving supplies don't get through to survivors. The deliveries are being hampered, as you know, by the sheer scale of the devastation.
The situation in the earthquake zone remains fluid. CNN's Jason Carroll now from Port-au-Prince.
And Jason, you're there. You're seeing it firsthand. Talk to us about the efforts to get help to people who clearly desperately need it.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's a logistical nightmare. And in some ways, for some of the people here on the ground, because you've got so many relief organizations who are trying to fly into the airport. Then the airport gets clogged. The air traffic control tower is down. The U.S. military has taken that over to try to smooth the flow of resources trying to get into Port- au-Prince. So, the relief organizations are really doing all that they can.
And I want to bring someone in right now to sort of help us explain this. This is Laura Blank. She's with World Vision, a Christian relief organization.
Basically, what everyone's trying to figure out is, there's so much aid that's coming in from folks like -- such as yourself. Tell us about some of the challenges you face in trying to get the aid to the people out there who need it.
LAURA BLANK, WORLD VISION: Well, one of the biggest problems right now, actually, is fuel. Yesterday, we found out in the OCHA cluster meeting -- that's the organization of the U.N. that helps all of the NGOs come together every day and coordinate each sector -- water, health and food. They told us they're estimating about two to three days left of fuel in Port-au-Prince.
So once we're out of fuel, our trucks can't get anywhere. We started trucking in gasoline from our team in the Dominican Republic, but that was yesterday. So you can see when you go around the city long lines of fuel waiting at the gas stations everywhere. That's a big concern.
CARROLL: Yes. And so -- and that's just one of the areas that some of the folks have been telling us about. But explain, if you will, how it's sort of broken down for your organization.
So let's say you want to distribute food...
HARRIS: Oh, shoot. We just lost Jason and Laura. We'll try to get that back.
And Jason was about to ask some very important questions about where the aid is right now and how difficult a bottleneck is there.
Is he still lost to us?
Still gone. All right. We'll try to get Jason back a little later in the program.
Later tonight, we will invite to you join us for a special two- hour edition of "LARRY KING LIVE." You can find out how you can help at that time. Larry has lined up a powerhouse list of celebrities, leaders and activists to tell you how you can take action and be a part of this global outreach effort.
It is, again, a special two-hour edition of "LARRY KING LIVE," tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Now, amid all the devastation in Haiti, there are survival stories, how rescuers risked their lives to pull people from the ruins almost a week after the quake hit.
We're back in a moment.
HARRIS: All right. We're talking now about stories of survival against the odds. They are certainly emerging from the rubble of the Haiti earthquake, people found alive after days buried beneath collapsed buildings.
CNN's Ivan Watson was there as some of these amazing rescues played out.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the eerie light of a supermarket storage room, an international team of rescue workers, waiting for a miracle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, guys. Take a breath nice and easy.
WATSON: Rescue teams from Florida and Turkey have been struggling to reach people buried in a supermarket.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get them right over here.
WATSON: And at 10:23 on Sunday night, after more than five days trapped in the dark, a survivor emerges. A Haitian man, 30 years old, rescuers are withholding his name.
As he comes into the light, he looks around and smiles. Then a wave, and a sign of jubilation. He whispers thank you to his rescuers. Because against all odds, this man escaped what should have been his tomb.
What's one of the first things he told you guys?
LT. FRANK MAINAIDE, SOUTH FLORIDA URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE: I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly.
WATSON: I guess he was in the snack aisle or something.
MAINAIDE: Well, it is a grocery store so whatever aisle he was, he had peanut butter and jelly. That's probably why he survived.
WATSON: Moments later, a second survivor, this 40-year-old Haitian woman, also a customer of the supermarket.
MAINAIDE: Health-wise, remarkably they look pretty good. I don't know if they had access to water. We did give them water once we made contact with them, and they drank those water bottles, as you can assume, very quickly, and they were remarkably in very good condition, considering they've been in there for five days.
WATSON: Managers say there may have been up to 150 people in the five-story Caribbean supermarket when the building collapsed. Saturday night and Sunday morning, rescuers succeed in digging three other survivors out from under the rubble, including a 50-year-old American woman named Marey Ditmaire (ph). But the rescue operations are dangerous work. Rescuers quickly evacuated when the walls of their tunnel suddenly shifted.
Sunday night's rescue offers a devastated city a much-needed moment of hope. Captain Joseph Zahralban takes a minute to embrace the manager of the supermarket, but their celebration is short lived. As long as there is a chance of more survivors, he says they cannot afford to rest.
CAPT. JOE ZAHRALBAN, SOUTH FLORIDA URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE: We're going to go back in. We're going to do more searches, and the commitment I've made to Samir (ph) is we're going to do this until we no longer find survivors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully we can find more and more people. Hopefully.
HARRIS: All right. That was CNN's Ivan Watson.
Quickly now, let's get you back to Port-au-Prince and CNN's Jason Carroll.
And Jason, good, you still have Laura Blank with you from World Vision.
I'm really interested in where the aid, the World Vision aid, is being housed right now. I want to know where the bottlenecks are and what the plan A, B, C, D, and E, if necessary. is to get around the bottlenecks and get the aid out to the people who really need it.
CARROLL: A lot of questions there, so let me just, sort of, like, start setting the tone in terms of where we're trying to go with here in terms of aid.
So let's talk about, first of all, the bottleneck. A lot of folks trying to get international aid into Port-au-Prince.
Tell me about the special challenges you face just getting the aid here.
BLANK: Well, one of the biggest challenges for us right now is the lack of fuel. You can see long lines everywhere, at every gas station you go to in the city, traffic jams, hour-long waits, people bringing even small containers to get any kind of gasoline they can.
Yesterday, we were told that there was an estimate of two to three days left of fuel in the city, and that was yesterday. We've actually had to ask our staff from the Dominican Republic to bring in gasoline for us, sometimes on a daily basis.
CARROLL: And how is that being done? You caravan that in, I would assume.
BLANK: Exactly. We bring it in on big trucks. And we have a tanker at the office where we can fill up our trucks. But without fuel, we obviously can't get anywhere to begin the distribution.
CARROLL: And just explain for us, and in just some basic terms, how an organization such as yourself, with so many challenges out there on the streets, how do you begin then to set up the office and distribute and get it to where you need it to go?
BLANK: Well, I think one of the things that benefits us is that World Vision has been in Port-au-Prince and in Haiti for more than 30 years. So we have an infrastructure, we have several hundred staff. We know the local governments and we know who to talk to, and I think that's a big benefit.
Then to begin the assessment and make sure we're not duplicating efforts, there are two things that we do. One is that all of the non- governmental organizations that are working here are meeting on a daily basis to discuss all of the sectors. Those are things like water and health.
CARROLL: And that's every morning.
And Tony, what they're basically doing, as Laura will tell you about this, but they meet every morning with a U.N. organization called OCHA.
And they're the ones who are basically coordinating all of these relief organizations to make sure you guys aren't duplicating in terms of how you're distributing the aid. Yes?
BLANK: Exactly. Everyone is responsible, and some different groups are often in charge of a certain sector.
So, one group may be in charge of water, and then we are representatives who work with them. Another may be in charge of health.
So, each morning we're talking about an update, getting new facts and trying to figure out how we can best work together. But the other thing we do is we don't go into a camp unannounced. We go in days before. We talk to them and we say, has anyone else already been here, just to make sure someone else isn't already planning a distribution, and that way we can start to work with the people, find out their needs and then get to them quickly.
CARROLL: And another example, you know, this makeshift camp that's sort of behind us here, Tony, where we are, Laura was telling me before that when what they do is when they get to some of these camps, sometimes there's a de facto leader there, someone who's an elder or a pastor.
So, sometimes what you do is you approach those sort of tent or camp leaders, talk to them about some of the special needs that men or women might have as well before you head in there. Right? BLANK: Exactly. A lot of times these people are finding and creating camps in their neighborhoods. So, just like you know your neighbors, they know theirs. And their family and friends, they may come together. It may be a pastor or another leader.
So, when we go in, we want the people in the camps to feel empowered to help us with the distribution. So, they often help us coordinate as we're doing the food distribution or water, help us to organize, help us to register the families so we can start building some consistency with them. We really rely on the camps to help us with a little bit structure.
CARROLL: OK. Finally, I just wanted to wrap it up here, but I also want to make sure that in terms of that challenge you're facing in terms of getting fuel and gas, are you worried that you're not going to be able to get what you need in order to keep doing what you're doing?
BLANK: Yes, it's very worrisome, because we've requested that the Haitian government help us to try to work on some work-arounds to bring more fuel into the country. We're also going to continue to rely on our staff in the Dominican Republic.
We do have our camps that we're working with that are fairly close to the office, but we certainly can't walk these supplies there. So we feed gas to be able to do the relief work.
HARRIS: Jason, don't let her go. Don't let her go. I've got a question.
From the grid work that they're doing, can Laura tell us, from the airport south, from the port sort of east, are they five miles into that grid? Are they 10 miles into that grid? How far are they into Port-au-Prince in terms of aid and supplies?
CARROLL: OK. Well, I can tell you straight off the bat -- he was asking where are you in terms of aid and supplies, where are you sort of housed and what specific parts of the city are you responsible for.
BLANK: We are housed not too far from here. Actually, it's a neighborhood called Petionville. There are two neighborhoods that we're focusing on, Petionville and Canapay Ver (ph). They're neighborhoods that we've worked in for a long time anyway, so we know a lot of the local staff and the people there.
CARROLL: So, just to give a point of reference, north, south, east of Port-au-Prince?
BLANK: It's slightly north, in the northern part of Port-au- Prince.
CARROLL: OK. BLANK: And that's where we're going to focus our operations. We've got three distributions scheduled today. We've been distributing since Saturday.
OK. So I hope that was able to answer some of your questions there, Tony.
HARRIS: Yes, that helps.
CARROLL: And you understand sort of how the city is broken into sections, how OCHA is doing this so these various relief organizations aren't stepping on each other and getting too much aid to one spot and not enough to another. But still, obviously a lot of challenges in terms of getting fuel. And for some organizations, not World Vision, but for others, just in terms of getting here, still a challenge in some ways.
HARRIS: Right. Terrific.
My thanks to Laura, if you would, for me, Jason. And thank you, as well.
Jason Carroll in Port-au-Prince.
Thank you both.
Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek is from -- he is actually in Haiti right now. He talked about some of his security concerns surrounding the aid, the recovery, the rescue mission that's going on in Haiti right now. He talked about some of the security concerns on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KENDRICK MEEK (D), FLORIDA: If we don't get water, if we don't get shelter, if we don't get security right behind me, it's going to end up being a situation. I know because we've seen it before here in Haiti, and now it's exacerbated by the fact that folks don't have homes and they can't get out to provide for themselves.
So, right now, they need some serious, serious assistance. And I know that the 82nd Airborne is grouping themselves to be able to provide that security. But you have the U.N. here, you have the 82nd, and so it's important that they come together to be able to make sure that they bring about not only security, but also humanitarian -- meeting humanitarian needs of thousands of people that are living on the streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: U.S. doctors at the center of aid efforts trying to make do as best they can. A look at the challenges straight ahead.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HARRIS: Let's do this -- very quickly now, let's get to our top stories.
We have new video just into CNN out of Kabul, Afghanistan. Let's take this video full here and give it a listen.
Whoa! Video of Taliban fighters launching a wave of bold attacks, obviously, in Kabul today.
The video you're looking at now from an Iranian press TV crew which caught that moment there, the moment of one of the explosions. The reporter -- I'm not sure if this is the reporter or if this is a member of that reporter's crew. And I think maybe we could -- is this the explosion about to take place again?
Let's take a look.
So the reporter was filing a piece to camera at that moment. A huge ball of fire, as you can see here, erupted, just, what, a few feet behind them. We understand the correspondent was injured in the blast. No word on the crew. The reporter injured and taken to an area hospital.
In Massachusetts today, Senate hopefuls Martha Coakley and Scott Brown are giving it one final push. Both are hoping to fill the seat left vacant by the late Ted Kennedy. Tomorrow's election extremely critical because it decides whether Democrats will be able to stop a Republican filibuster over health care.
And today is the federal holiday marking the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Live pictures now from the King Center.
Services were held at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. President and Mrs. Obama are honoring King by participating in a community service event today.
We will get another check of our top stories for you in 20 minutes.
Field hospitals are desperately trying to fill the void for badly needed medical care in Haiti, but they are facing some very difficult challenges right now, as we heard earlier on CNN's NEWSROOM with Kyra Phillips.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth is there. She's joining us from a hospital in Port-au- Prince.
Elizabeth, I was listening to your reports. And it's frustrating for doctors as they're saving people, but they're not always able to keep them alive.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Exactly, Kyra.
They're so frustrated. These people come out of the rubble, and the problem is within a couple of days their wounds develop gangrene unless they get the treatment that they need.
I'm at an extremely rudimentary hospital where they're forced to deliver very basic care. These doctors and nurses work so hard. They're sleeping on the floor with the patients.
And the question that's on their lips now is they want to know where is that American government hospital? When will it be built so that they can take patients to it?
COHEN: They're desperately looking for a place to get this young man to have surgery. Because he needs much more than what they can do here. So we lend the Dr. Prust (ph) our satellite phone so that he could try to call some people. He's calling anyone he can think of to get to a more sophisticated hospital.
If you don't get him to a better hospital tonight, what's going to happen to him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. He would die.
DR. JENNIFER FURIN, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Families are obviously going to be upset. They've been sitting here with their loved ones who they were so excited to see alive, only now to watch them die a slow, painful death from their rotting flesh because the infections are out of control and they need surgery. I've been here since Thursday. No one except the Israeli Hospital has taken any of our patients.
COHEN: I'm just amazed at what's here. This is like another world compared to the other hospital. Imaging department. I mean, imaging. My god, they have machines here. They have actual operating rooms and it's just amazing.
What's the machine?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a (INAUDIBLE) machine.
COHEN: It's a ventilator?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ventilator and monitor. Ventilator, monitor, suction and oxygen.
COHEN: I mean, they don't have this at the little hospital that I came from.
So the Israelis have set up a field hospital. Have the Americans? Has the American government set up a field hospital?
FURIN: Currently, not yet.
COHEN: The Israelis came from the other side of the world.
FURIN: It's a frustrating thing that I really can't explain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes you almost embarrassed to be an American.
FURIN: The situation is beyond desperate at this point. The disaster was the quake. But this is the disaster that's following in its wake.
These patients were so thankful to have lived through the quake. And now they're slowly dying in these hospitals. We're desperate.
COHEN: Now, I've been texting back and forth with the spokesman for this American hospital that's supposed to be up. They've been saying for days that it will be up anytime. And the last text I have from them says we hope to have the hospital on the road soon. In other words, they hope to have the hospital up and operating soon -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Wow. What about the supplies there where you are now? Do they have enough to get by at the moment? What's the need?
COHEN: No, Kyra, they have a lot of supplies. But they don't have everything they need, and they don't always have the right supplies.
For example, doctors here tell me that for about 200 patients they have two blood pressure cuffs. So they were sort of excited when they found three boxes. These are blood pressure cuffs. We've all seen them before.
Then you'll notice that there's no pump. You know, the thing they pump to get the blood pressure. There's no pump. These are completely useless to them.
They also were sent this. This is a kit to do open heart surgery. They're not doing open heart surgery at this hospital. No way.
So this is useless to them. Plus, it expired last year. So they don't quite have what they need. They're also missing oxygen, which is huge.
PHILLIPS: Wow. Well, that's definitely great information to know as people are sending supplies, Elizabeth. You need to double- check everything to make sure that needs are met properly. You don't want to waste any time, money, energy into things like that, that's for sure, when they can use other things.
Elizabeth Cohen, great job for us. Thank you so much.
HARRIS: And once again, back at the International Desk, because this is quite literally where all of the action is right now. Want to give you a quick update on the story we brought you as breaking news last hour.
Three Americans wounded in Haiti. I'll just read it to you.
A military official in Port-au-Prince is now reporting that three Americans were injured and treated in an incident near the airport. We have no idea at this point how these people were injured, what actually happened. No further details were immediately available. We can tell that the injuries are not considered life-threatening.
We will continue to follow this story and all the news coming out of Port-au-Prince.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: Haitians now in survival mode. Many are taking whatever they can find as they struggle to endure another day without food, water and other essential supplies.
Aid officials fear all-out lawlessness if lifesaving supplies don't get through to survivors. Deliveries to Port-au-Prince are being hampered by the sheer scale of the devastation.
Getting food and other supplies to those most in need takes lots of time and extreme coordination.
Our Brian Todd went on a delivery mission with a flight crew from the USS Carl Vinson.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The call comes shortly after 1:00 p.m. Helicopters squadron HS 15 has to get to Port-au-Prince now. We're with the four crew members as they quickly lift off from the deck of the aircraft carrier Vinson. We shuttle 10 miles into Port-au-Prince to get the mission orders.
The airport's a swarm of choppers, cargo planes and personnel scrambling to get supplies on to these birds. Dozens of boxes of MREs are piled into this small rescue helicopter that's not made for this kind of flight. It's a tight fit for everyone, but we're airborne minutes later. We peer down into one devastated neighborhood after another in the capital, then find our landing zone. The chief crewman relays the tension of these moments.
PETTY OFCR. KENNY ROWE, U.S. NAVY: Some people might try to start stealing other supplies from other people and then that could turn into a riot.
TODD: Not this time. Hundreds of people are ringing the landing zone, but members of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division have secured the perimeter and help off load. It's all on the ground in minutes, but the pilot knows this is just a tiny slice of what's needed.
LT. NATE SCHILLING, U.S. NAVY: Definitely our heart goes out to them. You definitely can see the need in their faces. I think as an air crew, we sympathize with their plight and want to do everything we can to help them.
TODD: We drop off one more load at a diplomatic compound. Then it's back to the carrier. In less than two hours, one chopper crew has dispersed hundreds of meals directly to victims.
TODD (on camera): These crews are exhausted. They're trying to pace themselves and they're flying in shifts. But they also know that this relief effort is not where it needs to be and that their operations are likely only going to accelerate from here.
Brian Todd, CNN, aboard the USS Vinson, off the coast of Haiti.
HARRIS: Certainly aid is getting into Haiti. But once it's there, tons of food and water and medicine have to be moved from point a to point b and that is the real challenge. Roads are blocked, there is little heavy machinery and there are all kinds of security concerns. Bettina Luescher is a spokeswoman for the U.N. World Food Bank Program in New York.
Bettina, thanks for your time.
Let me start with this. That logistical problem that we're describing here, maybe you can come up with a better visual picture for us of just how difficult it is to get supplies once they're all on the ground, once they're at the airport, from point a, being the airport, to point b, c, d, and e.
BETTINA LUESCHER, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Well, that's, of course, the really hard dilemma that we are facing, that the infrastructure after the earthquake has been so severely damaged. And the roads are clogged with people. The roads are often destroyed. The roads have to be repaired.
But we have some good news also. The World Food Program, together with the U.S. military, with all of the U.N. partners and NGOs, we've really scaled up our operations. WFP has used its own rations and U.S. military rations to feed, by now we have delivered 250,000 ready to eat rations. So we're massively scaling up. Three quarter of that in the capital, a quarter outside of the capital. And we are massively scaling this up. We think that within the next week we're going to be able to deliver 10 million ready to eat rations around the affected are. So help is on the way. It's a massive effort. But we are cranking it up as quickly as we can. HARRIS: Bettina, how are you able to get aid to areas outside of the capital, that you just mentioned? I would circle back to the areas east of -- in the city, in Port-au-Prince. How are you able to get -- get relief, materials to those who are east, say, of the port? How are you doing that? Because we keep hearing that roads are blocked and damaged and it's making it impossible to get supplies through.
LUESCHER: With trucks. We're using trucks. That's one of the methods of how we are getting the food to the people. And basically the strategy is to flat four hubs with distribution points, with food, that's being in coordination with the Haitian government so that then we can spread out the food to the various people.
It's very important that those kind of food distributions are going in an orderly way. That's why we have to rely on security from the peacekeepers and they are helping us. As of today, they are also among the ones today that will help get our food out to various areas. It's very important that the hungry women and children get the food first. We have to make sure that those are taken care of, that they're not being run over by some guys.
HARRIS: OK. Forgive me here. I want to have you do a little bit of work for us and so that you can maybe help us with our mapping of this effort here. You mentioned four hubs. Where are the hubs?
LUESCHER: It's spread out in various places of Port-au-Prince. And then it goes out to the other areas. And we're working on setting up even more distribution centers in close cooperation with the Haitian government, which, of course, you know, has been severely weakened.
This is such a crucial aid operation where really the whole world has to come together. And that's why it's so important that our folks on the ground are closely coordinating with the various partners to make sure that the food reaches the people who really need it.
HARRIS: OK. And I'm going to push you on this. If you don't know, it's OK. We're just trying to figure out where the hubs are as we try to better illustrate for folks. Do you know where the hubs are?
LUESCHER: We are going to have some in -- I have to -- hang on one sec. It's probably Karfur (ph), Garsere (ph) and other ones. I have to give you the exact location.
HARRIS: OK. Can you get -- you can get back to us.
LUESCHER: You can -- we can give the exact locations to you so your guys can see it. And I know that we are in close contact with your folks on the ground.
LUESCHER: And you have been coming with us. So we thank you also for raising so much awareness about this difficult situation. If the folks on the television sets want to make a donation, wfp.org/haiti and you can help because the needs are huge. We've made an appeal for over $279 million to the world. What we need right now from the various governments all over the world is, we've asked for 100 million ready to eat rations. It's very important that the militaries of the world bring the stuff in also so we can get it out on the ground.
HARRIS: Are you happy right now with the coordination? My understanding of kind of the flow chart that is handling the organization of this effort is that the U.N. is at the top of the flow chart here and the other organizations are coming together on a conference call, in many cases, sort of meeting together to plot out a strategy to work the various areas of the grid, I guess a couple of times a day?
LUESCHER: Yes, they're in constant contact. They're joined logistic centers. We are providing the coordination together with the various others, U.N. agencies and NGOs, partners and together with the Haitian government. So we do our logistical part, then there is coordination going on. What you try to do in a situation like this is, that all of the actors are working together. Everybody knows what the other one is doing. Everybody is doing something slightly different. It's tough. It's not always pretty, but it's working. The aid is coming in. We're cranking up as fast as we can.
HARRIS: We need to hear that it's working. Bettina, appreciate your time. Thank you.
LUESCHER: Thank you.
HARRIS: We're going to take a quick break and come back. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
HARRIS: We are getting some new pictures here into CNN of former President Bill Clinton. I understand arriving in Port-au-Prince. Do we have -- there we go. On the ground. The former president in Port- au-Prince, Haiti, right now. As you know, the former president is the U.N.'s special envoy to Haiti. Is he expected to meet with Haiti's president, Rene Preval. Is that Chelsea with -- OK. All right. Chelsea Clinton with her dad, as well. You'll recall that over the weekend, President Clinton and former President Bush met with President Obama to establish the Clinton/Bush Haiti fund. If you're interested in making a donation, it is clintonbushhaitifund.org.
Let's get you caught up on our top stories now.
We have new video just in to CNN out of Kabul, Afghanistan. It is scary. It is dramatic. Taliban fighters launched this attack as part of a wave of really bold attacks on Kabul today. An Iranian press television crew caught that moment. One of the explosions as it hit. I think we've got it queued up once again. You can see the reporter hurt here. But the reporter was actually filing a piece, as you saw there, to camera when there was the explosion. The huge fireball erupted just a few feet from where they were filing this report. You're going to see it again here in just a second. Again, the correspondent was taken to the hospital and is being treated for his injuries from that blast.
New warnings reveal the about the Christmas Day bomb plot against the U.S.-bound jetliner. "The New York Times" says U.S. intelligence intercepted a message in November about a man named Omar Farouk. Those are the two first names of the jetliner suspect. More intercepts the next month mentioned the date of the attack, December 25th.
The Associated Press reports President Obama will appear today in a new television ad for Massachusetts Senate Candidate Martha Coakley. The Democrat is trying to win Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat, but she is facing a surprisingly strong challenge from Republican Scott Brown. The special election is tomorrow.
The moment the earth shook in Haiti all capture by one of -- one reporter's camera crew. We're back in a moment.
HARRIS: All right. We just got some new images in of President Obama. On two, I'm sorry. On President Obama and the first lady participating here today in a community service event to mark the MLK holiday. This is in Washington, D.C. This is the SOME organization, SOME, in Washington. Let's see here. It describes itself as the only interfaith community-based organization in the District of Columbia that offers a comprehensive, holistic approach to caring for the homeless and extremely poor citizens of the city. The District of Columbia, the president and the first lady participating in MLK community services events. And one of the first daughters, as well.
Getting back to our top story now, Haiti. Christine Webb, a reporter for CNN affiliate Central Florida News 13, was in Haiti when the quake hit. She was on a personal trip with the Orlando-based outreach group New Missions. She spoke with CNN's Larry King and brought along some incredible video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE WEBB, QUAKE SURVIVOR: I was actually at the New Missions compound on the Leogone plain when the earthquake hit. We were actually inside the eating area when just the earth kind of just started to shake. The roof -- I looked up and the roof was moving. And just quickly grabbed the girl that I was with, we ran out and the force just shook us hundreds of feet to the ground and I actually saw the earth split into two.
LARRY KING, CNN'S "LARRY KING LIVE": Wow. You were with what group?
WEBB: I was with New Missions group. They've been serving Haiti since -- for 27 years. They actually have -- they're based in Haiti, but they also have an office here in Orlando, Florida.
KING: Did you have trouble getting out? WEBB: Yes. We did have a lot of trouble getting out. But thanks to a huge collaborative effort from many churches, parents, politicians, we were able to make it out OK with a very dramatic rescue.
KING: Were any of your party injured?
WEBB: Luckily, Larry, no. And that is a true blessing in all of this because just hours before, we were actually inside a school. A school that I had actually gotten to take a tour of the area. And just hours before, all of us had been at this school delivering shoe boxes to all these little children. And just hours later, that school was no more. So we could have all been in there, all the children could have been in there. So we were really lucky.
KING: Last thing you'd expect in a tropical island nation is an earthquake, right?
WEBB: Last thing that we ever expected. I think the last time Haiti had an earthquake was 200 years ago. We never ever thought anything was going to happen like this. And when it was actually happening, none of us really knew what was going on. I mean, it was almost like a wave. You actually saw like the earth kind of move like a wave. It was nothing I had ever experienced and we were -- we were all in shock and very scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: All right, join us tonight for a special two hour "Larry King Live." Find out how you can help a powerhouse list. Celebrities, leaders and activists will join Larry to show you how you can take action and be a part of the global outreach. A very special two-hour "Larry King Live." That's tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Overhauling the nation's health care system. One of these two people could be a deciding factor in whether it comes to pass. We're back in a moment.
HARRIS: The stakes are high in Massachusetts. Tomorrow, voters hit the polls to decide who will fill the seat of the late Ted Kennedy. And for the first time in decades, it looks like Democrats could lose this seat. If that happens, they lose the ability to stave off a Republican filibuster over health care. Here's what some voters are saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need health care. We need help for people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would be devastating for Massachusetts to lose a Democratic vote in the Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope he does this. I'm confident that he will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you like about Brown as opposed to Coakley?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think his honesty and integrity. I don't think he's tap dancing. He's telling us the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Wow. CNN's senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash joining us from Washington.
Dana, got some real drama here it appears. How did Demes get themselves into this situation?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a combination, Tony, of what's going on nationally and there are specifics to this race. First of all, nationally.
BASH: The mood is such. And we certainly know this by talking, at least I do, by talking to members of Congress who go home to their districts all the time that there's frustration. That it's been a year since Barack Obama has been president. The economy has not gotten better for many people. It has gotten worse. Job loss is worse. And then they see Washington spending a lot of money and certainly spent a lot of money last year to bail out Wall Street and they seem to be doing pretty well. So that is one factor in this overall very bad situation for Democrats in Massachusetts.
And the other is specific to this race. The Democrats I have been talking to up there and here have -- many of them have daggers out for the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley. They say that she's just simply not been a very good candidate. That she seems aloof. She's made some gaffes and that is not helped her. And on the other side, Scott Brown, the Republican, seems to have really tapped into that voter anxiety and frustration and is really been hammering it home on the issue of health care, which seems to be kind of the vessel for all of that.
HARRIS: Well that segues me perfectly to -- let me ask you about health care and the implications of this vote on health care.
BASH: Wow. I mean, the options simply are not good for Democrats if Scott Brown actually does take that seat because, of course, there was not one vote to spare. Sixty votes needed and used to pass health care in the Senate the first time, of course. The process right now is such that Democrats in the House and Senate, they're trying to meld the bills, but it would have to go back through the Senate to get to the president's desk.
And they have been talking very quietly, but they certainly have already been talking about plan b, the what if scenarios. What if a Republican takes that seat and they only have 59 votes. And again, no options are very good. The most viable I'm told, and this has actually been floated from the White House, Tony, is to try to push through the Senate bill in the House. But there are big problems with that, namely there are differences and many House Democrats say we don't like a lot of what's in the Senate. So it's not an easy situation, the what ifs.
HARRIS: To say the least.
All right, Dana, appreciate it. Thank you.
We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, CNN's Anderson Cooper with new information on the relief effort in Haiti.
HARRIS: And let's go, let's go, let's go. Very quickly we want to get you back to Port-au-Prince right now and CNN's Anderson Cooper with some breaking news.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE), I can tell you right now in downtown Port-au-Prince, in sort of the market area where there's a number of old shops that had food supplies and supplies. There is widespread looting now in downtown. I'm literally in the middle of a -- of what can only be described as a frenzy of looting. Several hundred people have broken into a supply store. They've climbed in through the damaged roof. And they are just taking candles, actually, taking boxes of candles.
There are a number of store owners who are on the street with machine guns and pistols and two Haitian police officers who they have given machine guns to who occasionally fire into the air to try to steer the crowd. Literally the crowd will run off for perhaps a minute and then as soon as the police officer turns his or her back, they run back into the store, climb back onto the roof and it continues.
And I'm told by a store owner by the name of Tony Bennett (ph), who owns two stores here and he's standing right next to me trying to guard these stores, that this is happening just around the corner, as well. He says it's happening in many parts of this district in Port- au-Prince. But I've only seen what's happening on this street.
You know, what's interesting is, this is not food that, you know, that hungry people are trying to take. This is -- this is -- these are candles that some of them will use because their homes don't have electricity, but often, a lot of this is for profit. People are actually stealing this will then sell it later and then they'll use that money to -- for their families. It's just one of those opportunities in the wake of this disaster that people try to take advantage of.
HARRIS: And, Anderson, this is a situation that we have long feared. We have been concerned that, as it continues to take for many people too long for the supplies, for the aid to get to them, that eventually we would begin to see scenes like this. Is this the first scene of this scale that you have seen?
COOPER: It is. You know, I should say, I've not (ph) been down to this market are really since the day after the earthquake. I actually came down here to try to find a little girl who I saw being rescued six days ago. Then we heard shooting about a block away.
We, of course, ran straight towards the shooting and found two Haitian police officers firing into the air and a scene which I just haven't seen before. I mean I've seen it in Haiti in other years, in past situations, and I've been in plenty of riots. But what is frightening about this for the store owners is that this can quickly become something else. This can quickly escalate as word spreads in a neighborhood that items are available, more people will come. Larger crowds will come. And I can tell you already the crowd in the 20 minutes that I've been here is much larger than it was initially, despite the fact that now police have fire into the air (INAUDIBLE) now 20 times over the course of the last half hour.
I talked to the store owner, Tony Bennett, who actually went to the University of Miami, an American citizen, who told me here, the Haitian police, there's no one you can really call at this point. I mean he has two Haitian police officers here. He says he gave them their weapons. He is providing them with water. I, you know, I didn't ask him. I'm guessing maybe he's, you know, paying for them to be here for the day. But there's not a Haitian police force that one can just sort of call and dial 911 for.
I asked him, what are you going to do? He said, look, you know, he understands these people are hungry and that they're trying to survive the best they can. He doesn't want to hurt anybody. He's not going to shoot anybody. But he does want to just try to protect his property as best he can. So really all he can do right now is just fire into the air and hope that the looters go somewhere else.
HARRIS: And, Anderson, I just want to remind everyone watching us that you're not looking at video now. Obviously this is video from Saturday. But you're not looking at video from Anderson's location right now.
But, Anderson, once again, is this a situation that the buildings that we're talking about are not necessarily housing food or water. You mentioned earlier that the people are taking candles and I understand that to keep them warm at night.
ANDERSON: Well, yes. And people will take whatever they can get. I mean, frankly, there is -- there is food in some buildings in this area. There are there's a whole lot this is a very this is a commercial district.