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THE SITUATION ROOM
Chaos in Haiti; Getting Orphans Out of Haiti
Aired January 22, 2010 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She says, in 10 years working construction, she never imagined doing this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She doesn't like doing what she is doing. And she is a woman, but she has to do it to help people. But it is against her faith, the way she's digging those bodies to put them in the ground. She does not like it.
TODD (on camera): And just with another movement of a pile of rubble, another leg popped out right there. They are saying they are doing this for sanitary reasons, to get the bodies under the ground. The end result is, that person there, their relatives may never know that they are here. Looks like they are about to vanish without a trace -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Oh, my God. Brian Todd on the scene for us in Haiti with that incredible, incredible story.
And, to our viewers, you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, more bodies in the street, as you just saw. A CNN crew comes across a man gunned down over five bags of rice.
As Haitians struggle to stay alive, there are new concerns about a total breakdown of order. Can the U.S. bring security to Haiti?
The tragic plight of Haiti's youngest victims. Some are already finding new lives in America. Others are praying for a way out. CNN's Soledad O'Brien is with a group of kids on a desperate journey.
And key members of CNN's team will be part of tonight's global telethon, Hope For Haiti Now. We will get a preview from our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the ground in Port-au-Prince.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Relief supplies are making it into Haiti, but there is a logjam at the airport which is keeping vital material backed up. To get supplies into the hands of those who urgently need them, CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, took matters into his own hands.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's like, everywhere I go -- I was just walking through the airport even, outside the airport -- people are saying, we need supplies. How do we get them?
We know they're in there. How do we get them out here? That's -- people just keep asking me that same question over and over again.
All right. So, now we're going to go into the airport here and see if the next step of this works or not. Well, just take a look out here at all the people that are waiting. And I can tell you that a lot of people are waiting because they're simply hoping that some of these supplies make it outside the airport and to them.
OK, we're now in the airport. It took about five minutes to get in here. We're in the airport. To give you an idea, I mean, obviously, the airport, itself, is still very, very desolate inside, but we're going to get to the airstrip. That's where we're hearing so many of these supplies are.
I don't know if you can hear me or not, but when we talk about all these supplies sitting here, just take a look, I mean, boxes and boxes of supplies, all kinds of different formula in there. There's antibiotics, pain medications. There's all sorts of different things.
I'm just wondering if I can get some antibiotics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will walk you over there.
GUPTA: Should we check in here first?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's what we will do, and walk around to the other...
GUPTA: They seem very much like they want to help. We're going in to see if we can get some antibiotics, at least, to try and take care of these kids. And we will find out.
There is a lot of supplies here, though. We're able to basically walk into a couple of these tents, tell people what we needed, and get lots of supplies here, lots of antibiotics, lots of pain medications, all sorts of things to try and treat so many of the injuries that we have seen. These are medications that people haven't had up until now. It took us about 15 minutes. We got a bunch of it. And we're going to try to distribute this to the hospital.
Basically, just went into the airport and just tried to take as many of the things that we thought you guys would need, based on what the twins were telling us.
So, some of this, probably broad-spectrum antibiotics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good.
GUPTA: Lots of different pain medications. All that screaming this morning, hopefully, you can... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will take care of that.
GUPTA: Hopefully, it can help. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: You're welcome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
GUPTA: So, we came here today and we were able to pick up some of those supplies ourselves. We just asked them, and they gave them to us, right.
COL. BEN MCMULLEN, U.S. AIR FORCE: Right.
GUPTA: We want to take them to that hospital and give it to them, because kids, adults, as well, need this stuff today. Does that surprise you, what I have just described to you?
MCMULLEN: There is stuff here waiting to be taken out. That's a true statement. Is it a lot? I can't speak to it.
I will tell you, the reason you probably got it is because everybody on this field, specifically the U.S. government side, is dedicated to getting as much stuff outside as I -- as they can. Does it totally surprise me that some are doing without? No, it doesn't, not -- not totally.
Do I hope it gets better? Without a doubt. We're doing our part to get things out there, and certainly get things into the airport. And it is -- it's a shame, because you would hope that everything could get out there within seconds. But that kind of infrastructure just isn't in place.
BLITZER: And Dr. Gupta is joining us.
Sanjay, when you see these problems, it must be so frustrating, knowing that, if they could just move these things a little bit more quickly, lives would be saved.
GUPTA: Yes. And when it comes to medical relief in particular, time really is of the essence here, Wolf. And you have lots of supplies there that certainly could have been used over these last nearly two weeks now.
It was a little bit heartbreaking, in fact, to see some of those medications sort of just sitting there. And from what I understand, some of them had been sitting there for some time. The other part of it is, Wolf, you notice they are just sitting out there on the airstrip. It is very hot out there. Some of these medications have an ideal temperature they are to be stored at, and what some of the people there told me is that because of those conditions out there, it may have made some of those medications less effective as well.
So, two things. They really need to get out of there and get it to people who need it the most as quickly as possible.
BLITZER: I have been getting a lot of e-mail from doctors and nurses all over the country, indeed from all over the world. They have been saying to me, you know, we would really love to go and help the people in Haiti.
Here is the question. It's actually a two-part question. Do you need more doctors and nurses right now? And if you do, what should these folks do?
GUPTA: Well, one thing I will tell you is I think, from a personnel standpoint, they are starting to get up to speed in terms of the numbers of doctors and nurses. A lot of the hospitals that we have visited are becoming more well-equipped in terms of manpower.
I'm not saying it is enough. One piece of advice I would probably give sort of predicting how things are going to play out is that if you have a hard time getting in now, keep in mind that two, three, four weeks from now, there's still going to be a significant demand.
My experience in these sort of situations, Wolf, is there is this huge sort of outburst of compassion and activity, people showing up right now, but two, three, four weeks from now, a lot of those levels sort of taper off. That might be the time for people to come in and really make an impact and keep the momentum going in terms of getting these people care.
BLITZER: Because it is so emotional and so difficult, so frustrating, I assume the burnout capability for a lot of these doctors and nurses can be rather high, and they are going to need relief in the weeks and months to come.
GUPTA: There is no question, Wolf. The frustration level alone from what you and I were just talking about in terms of knowing how to take care of somebody, knowing the medications to prescribe, knowing the procedures to perform, yet not being able to do those things, is extremely frustrating.
But just the overall impact that is so clear on the people here in Haiti is also very difficult to watch and to observe I think for all these doctors and nurses. So, you are absolutely right. And if they do take a break, they are going to need reinforcements. And this is going to be something -- the need is going to be there for some time to come, Wolf.
BLITZER: I know you are getting ready for the telethon later tonight.
Give our viewers here in the United States and around the world a sense of what you and everybody else, including a lot of celebrities, are trying to achieve.
GUPTA: Well, you know, I think that a lot of us really describing what has happened here in Haiti during the earthquake and certainly in the nearly two weeks afterward and really recognizing that when it comes to natural disasters, that they each have their own personality.
And as a result, we have a lot of information, a lot of knowledge now about what exactly is needed now and what is needed going forward. And I think when it comes to the types of stories that I have been covering in particular, medical stories, the urgent, more nature for that need right now, medical relief is measured in minutes and hours, Wolf, as you and I have talked about.
It is different than other types of aid. So, I think we cannot overstress just how important that is and how very simple things, small amounts of money, simple medications, simple interventions can make a huge difference. And they really can truly save lives, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Sanjay -- Sanjay Gupta reporting for us, doing great work, as our viewers know.
Amid the enormous disaster that has struck Haiti, there are small tragedies that seem to make things even so much worse. One of our teams came across such a moment of horror as it was happening.
This warning: This is a very graphic story that you or your children may find disturbing.
Here is CNN's Karl Penhaul.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As we drove up to this busy crossroads just beyond the Port-au-Prince Airport, we spot two Haitian police officers detaining two young men.
Then, a single shot rang out.
(on camera): As we were stopping the truck, more shots rang out and we clearly saw the two detainees falling to the ground.
(voice-over): This is where we begin rolling our camera.
(on camera): As we got here to the spot, it became apparent that the incident was somehow connected to bags of rice.
(voice-over): Both men lie bleeding, both shot in the back by the police. We saw one officer firing shots while his captive was on the ground. Twenty-year-old Gentile Cherie is gasping for breath. He is dying.
The other young man is unable to stand. He's stunned, but speaking. He says they didn't steal the rice. They were not looting.
"The cops jumped on us. It was a gift. It was a gift," he says again and again. Five bags of rice are scattered nearby.
"A truck stopped, and we jumped on, and the driver gave us the rice as a gift, but the cops shot us," he says.
This patrolman was one of three involved. He won't answer. Minutes after, this police area commissioner arrives. I ask him if the police have a shoot-to-kill order for suspected looters.
"Nobody can do this in any country. Even if somebody was stealing a bag of rice, nobody has a right to do this," he says. He promises to investigate and says he's calling an ambulance. We wait. No ambulance arrives.
Passing United Nations peacekeepers stop a truck and load the wounded man aboard. A small crowd carries another wounded man who says he was waiting for the bus when he took a stray bullet in the side. He tells us he's a Christian minister who was going home after applying for a job as a policeman.
We asked around in the small shops. Witnesses told us nobody was looting. This story owner says the rice bags fell from the truck and passersby simply picked them up.
Two-and-a-half-hours after the shooting, and Gentile Cherie's body was still on the sidewalk.
PENHAUL: Nearby, his mother had come to grieve.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, Port-au-Prince.
BLITZER: And CNN has sent a crew to the Haitian government compound at the airport to ask about this incident and several other similar incidents reported by the news media.
If and when we get a response, we will, of course, share that with you. What a disturbing story that is.
We are less than two hours away from the tonight's Hope For Haiti all-star telethon with George Clooney, Wyclef Jean, and CNN's own Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. You will see it here on CNN, 8:00 p.m. Eastern. That is coming up in less than two hours from now.
Fran Townsend, the homeland security adviser to President Obama, she's here. She has got new information on what is going on, some of the bottlenecks in Haiti, also this new development in London right now -- there is a terror warning that's been upgraded. We will tell you why.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Let's check in with Jack Cafferty for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, Air America has crashed. The liberal talk radio network is going out of business.
The network that once boasted hosts like Al Franken and Rachel Maddow launched in 2004 during the Bush administration and was meant as a liberal alternative to right-wing commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
But Air America struggled right from the start, with several management shakeups, a bankruptcy, followed by a $4 million sale.
The network described itself as the only full-time progressive voice in the mainstream broadcast media world when it launched, saying that it offered dissenting views on things like the Iraq war, when such positions were called -- you may recall this -- un-American.
But nearly six years later and one year after the inauguration of Democratic President Barack Obama, Air America says it will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, ending programming for good on Monday. The network cites the very difficult economic environment, pointing to a steep decline in radio ad revenues.
Conservatives suggest that the passing of Air America is a reminder that the country is center-right. After all, tough economy or not, Limbaugh still draws 10 to 20 million listeners every week.
Meanwhile, a recent Gallup Poll shows that conservatives finished 2009 as the number-one ideological group in the country for the first time in five years. Forty percent of Americans say they're conservatives -- 36 percent say they're moderates. Only 21 percent say they're liberals.
So, here's the question: What does it mean that the country's only liberal radio network is going belly-up, pointing its little antennas at the sky?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile. You can post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jack, thank you.
Security is certainly one of the big issues coming up in Haiti. And the United States may wind up playing a crucial role.
Let's bring in our national security contributor Fran Townsend. She who the homeland security adviser to President Bush.
How big of a deal is this for the U.S. to actually get involved and maintain law and order?
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Wolf, one of the things USAID has not done yet is call upon their capability using the law enforcement deployment teams. That capability really is allowing us to go to local and state law enforcement, many of whom have Creole speakers, and through a contract through DHS, call them to duty to deployment to Haiti. And as we saw in that last piece, Wolf, it is really very disturbing.
They need the help. Haitian police themselves have been victims of this earthquake. And they could use the support.
BLITZER: So, in other words, if you go to Miami or Los Angeles or New York or here in Washington, D.C., there are Creole-speaking law enforcement officers who could be brought in to this operation to help out?
In fact, last evening, I had a conversation with Lee Baca, the sheriff in Los Angeles, and he said he has already identified Creole speakers that they could deploy, if DHS triggered their contract on behalf of USAID.
BLITZER: All right, let's move on to what is happening in Britain right now. As you know, the government there has elevated the threat level to severe, if you will, saying that some sort of terror attack is very, very likely, although not necessarily imminent. Big deal? Little deal? What is going on here?
TOWNSEND: Well, it is pretty interesting, Wolf. Britain has the same capability as we do. They call it their Joint Terrorism Analysis Center. That is their version of the National Counterterrorism Center.
They pull together all the analysis on terrorism and it supports the U.K.'s Security Committee. The Security Committee is chaired by the home minister. He is the individual who made the announcement today that they were raising the level.
The reason this is significant, Wolf, is the Security Committee chaired by the home minister would have met, would have discussed the intelligence provided by their analysis, and they are not ones to raise it lightly.
And so one has to believe that there was some specific intelligence, although they have been very clear it is not imminent, but there has to be intelligence that would have supported this decision, because we know from our British colleagues, they don't raise it lightly.
BLITZER: Yes. So, they would not do this unless there was some good intelligence. We don't know what that intelligence is. But they are worried, obviously.
BLITZER: All right, Fran, thanks very much. Fran, don't go away. We have more to discuss later. We are going to check in with Lisa Sylvester. She has got some other top stories she's working on right now -- much more of our coverage after this.
BLITZER: When we come back, Soledad O'Brien, she has a heart- wrenching story about orphans in Haiti and what needs to be done.
BLITZER: They are among the vulnerable of Haiti's earthquake, thousands and thousands of orphans whose plight is now more desperate than ever.
CNN's special correspondent Soledad O'Brien has just returned from Port-au-Prince, where she tracked the efforts to get some of orphans out of Haiti.
Let's go to Soledad right now.
Soledad, what is going on? What is the latest there?
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, frankly, things are very dire for these orphans. For those in the best of circumstances, they have access to supplies. They have access to food. They risk being robbed. We have had lots of reports of that.
For those who are in the worst of circumstances, with access to absolutely nothing, well, they literally risk dying. So, it is no surprise then that the orphans who have connections, who have adoptions already in progress going on in the U.S. or other countries are making every effort to get out of the country. But the actual journey there can be very confusing and very difficult.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): For nine days after the earthquake, 135 children at the orphanage Maison Des Enfants de Dieu sweltered in the Haitian heat.
Low on food and formula, running out of hope. Until their caretakers had enough. They loaded the babies into a van and wrote on their arms "FHG," for his glory, the Christian group that sponsors them and had come to the rescue.
O'BRIEN: I squeezed on to the bus with the toddlers and older kids, and the entire orphanage heads for the U.S. embassy in pursuit of visas, their ticket out of this disaster. The situation for Haitian orphans is desperate. The State Department is allowing children with adoptions in process to get temporary visas so they can leave. But officials will not accept children if they can't verify all their paperwork is in order. And children who still have a biological parent living in Haiti can only leave with that parent's permission.
It's hot on the bus, at least 90 degrees, and the children are sick, overcome by the heat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to jeopardize the children but I want to do what's right for them.
O'BRIEN: We're almost there, just a few blocks away when the bus gets turned back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just got a phone call from some guys at the embassy, they said not to bring the kids right now.
O'BRIEN: A State Department spokesperson says, we don't turn people away. We ask people to come back at times.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The children do not want to go back to the orphanage. They want to go to America.
O'BRIEN: The embassy says they want to avoid kids being taken out of the country illegally. For these orphans, this is where the trip ends. Stuck in Haiti for now.
But we get word that 22 children from other orphanages are having more luck. The U.S. agencies handling their adoptions get visas. Their paperwork is complete. And, just like that, these children say goodbye to Haitian soil.
On the other end, parents, a new country -- life in the U.S. begins to unfold, a world away from an earthquake.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: All right. Soledad, you see those pictures. You see parents now with these kids together. It has to be -- it has to be, I'm sure, as a mother, as anyone, some thrilling moments.
O'BRIEN: Yes, you know it was really nice to see the parents there. I actually had a chance to sort of come off the plane early. And -- and they were saying, "Soledad, Soledad, tell us." I've been e- mailing and -- and Tweeting my pictures and -- so, you know, so people could follow our journey every step of the way with their kids. So that was really fun to do and to have -- you know, the parents were so, so excited.
But I've got to tell you, it was just a hellacious trip, that bus ride where we -- we turned -- you know, they turned the bus around before they got to the embassy. The kids were throwing up. It was hot -- 90 degrees, 95. I mean it was hot. And people were really worried the babies weren't going to make it. I mean, they -- you know, they're sick. They're not healthy already. And it was really, really pretty scary.
BLITZER: And they're embarking on a whole new life, many of them, in the United States -- Soledad, hold on a second.
I want to bring in -- back Fran Townsend, our national security contributor, and our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty -- Jill, you've been speaking with the adoption agencies.
What are they saying to you, because so many people see these cute, adorable little kids, you know, the orphans, and they say, I want to -- I want to adopt them?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, number one, the State Department is moving ahead with, number one, the children who were already in the pipeline almost adopted, paperwork complete, they are getting out and they have visas. Those have been speed up.
Then there's a second category and those are the kids who were kind of in the beginning process. They have identified parents. So they are waiving the paperwork for them. They get humanitarian parole and they're getting out.
But the one thing I think that really hit me the most is they're saying, you know, a lot of these poorer kids that you see on the streets alone may not necessarily be orphans.. So there are a lot of people who say, boy, I would really love to adopt them. But the -- the agencies that I've been talking to are saying they should stop new adoptions, speed up the process of getting the ones who are already in, in train and then -- and then move on from there.
But these children may have families who are desperate to find them.
O'BRIEN: And I would say, Wolf...
BLITZER: Yes, go ahead, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: ...that, actually, probably, we've been told, a third of those orphans -- I mean the -- the term orphan in Haiti is not the way we think of orphan here. We saw parents visiting their children. They had dropped them off at the orphanage because they couldn't take care of them. There was a father who was there with his daughter who was devastated because she couldn't get on the bus to leave. And he said, you know, there's nothing I want more than that child to get to the United States, because their idea of orphan is there's an orphanage who will take care of their child.
So it's a very different definition than we think of, of orphan, of someone who has nobody else in the world.
But I've got to tell you, it's a really complicated issue because the question becomes some of these kids are really sick or some of these kids are just not going to make it or the conditions are really bad and really scary. And the question becomes, is there a middle ground between adoption and sort of doing something on the order of, you know, we talked about it before, the Pedro Pan -- getting the kids help, getting them to a place that's safe.
Some of these orphanages, one where I reported the other day, that evening after my report, 20 gunmen came over the wall and tried to rob them. You know, now they're terrified.
So there's got to be a middle ground between leaving them and adopting them out, which takes years. There's got to be somewhere in between. And I'd be curious if government officials sort of have ideas about that.
BLITZER: Yes, well, I'm going to bring Fran in, because you know a lot about this. When I spoke to the U.S. ambassador in Port-au- Prince, the American ambassador to Haiti the other day, he said it's not that simple, because there's the issue of sex trade and there's a lot of other security concerns that are playing out there right now.
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: That's right, Wolf. I -- Soledad is absolutely right, what you -- what you hope to be able to find is some middle ground. But you have to be careful, if you bring these children out too quickly and don't have placements for them that have been adequately vetted, you certainly don't want to be in a position of putting them in harm's way inside the United States, with people who will either abuse them or neglect them.
So you've got to make sure that you've got adequate, safe and secure environments for them here, if you're bringing them here.
On the other hand, back to Jill's point, you need to have some resolution about what their status is.
If they have parents, will the parents agree to temporarily have them to come to the United States for treatment?
And those are the sorts of issues you want to get resolved before you start moving them around. And I think that was what the U.S. ambassador -- those are the kinds of concerns he was articulating.
BLITZER: But they are trying, Jill...
O'BRIEN: And -- and...
BLITZER: Hold on a second, Soledad -- Jill, at the State Department, they're trying to ease up the paperwork, right?
DOUGHERTY: Oh, absolutely. Yes. I mean they're working 24/7 to do that right now. But, you know, it's complicated. You have to find the children. You have to make sure, you know, that you can get the paperwork. Luckily, they said, even though the paperwork, in some cases, is lost on the ground in Haiti, if they've gone through adoption agencies officially, they have the same paperwork in the United States.
DOUGHERTY: so they know these children. BLITZER: Go ahead, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: You know, keep in mind that this -- these kids you're seeing, these 25 babies who are in this shot, in the back of a truck, they're in the best case scenario, because they're connected to American adoption agency. There are other adoption agencies and other -- orphanages, excuse me -- that don't do adoptions. They have nothing.
When we went to visit them -- and they're up these staircases in the slums, they literally have not eaten for days. And I was traveling with a woman who was handing out food to them and then sat there while they ate it.
So I understand the paperwork thing. I have four kids. I totally get it. But, on the other hand, I sort of feel while everyone is working out the logistics and -- and the bureaucracy, literally, children are dying. I don't say that to be hyperbolic. They are literally dying.
I was at one of these orphanages and they had this baby and they were trying to put an I.V. in her hand. And she's so dehydrated, they couldn't find the -- you know, they couldn't find a vein. And I was pinning her down the same way I pin my kids down when the doctor has to give them the flu shot. And the doctor basically said, you know, we basically have two hours to get this in, because in two hours, this kid dies. You know, and all of a sudden, it's like oh my god, I'm pinning this baby down and the clock is ticking.
And, you know, that is one story of whatever hundred thousand kids there are who are, potentially, orphaned. I -- I understand, no one would want a child to go to a bad home, whether it's in Haiti, to the United States, in any country in the world. But there's got to be someone who's saying and thinking about it quickly, an airlift, something -- something, because right now, for a lot of kids -- of these kids, there is literally nothing. There's nothing.
BLITZER: All right. Now, I want all of you to stand by, because we have another guest I want to bring in who knows something about what's going on right now, Dr. Barth Green.
He's a professor at the University of Miami Medical School.
He's also the co-founder of the Project Medishare for Haiti and he's been working diligently to deal with this.
On this whole issue of orphans, give -- give us a thought, doctor, because you're there on the scene.
DR. BARTH GREEN, PROJECT MEDISHARE FOR HAITI: You know, we've been moving orphans back to the United States. I spent the night, a couple of nights ago, with Homeland Security.
But the fact is, that it is a major problem. Sunday night, John Walsh is coming down here. He's going to hire 1,000 Haitian social workers and he's going to try a massive effort to do exactly what needs to be done -- identify the orphans, see which ones are truly orphans and be able to sort out all the issues that are causing so much pain for the people in America and around the world who want to do the right thing.
But we brought up about 60 sick orphans last night. Our pediatricians met them and we've processed them. We're working in that -- with that group of Catholic Charities.
But it is an issue. There is no doubt that if an orphan is let loose in the community, they could become a servant. There's not enough food for the kids and the families, the first five kids, not to mention the orphan. And they're not put in a very good position.
What I told President Preval and his wife Elizabeth this week is let these children go. Let us heal their bodies, let us educate them and they'll come back to Haiti and rebuild their country. And that day, President Preval signed a decree easing the restrictions on moving orphans. And he -- he's really a wonderful man.
So I think all this is getting better and better.
BLITZER: What about the so-called needless deaths or the stupid deaths we've been hearing about, Dr. Green, the people who are dying because the basic medicine is not there, whether it's an antibiotic or an I.V. or whatever?
Is that -- are you still seeing that?
GREEN: No. I have to tell you, we were there the morning after the earthquake and we flew in here with a good -- with a -- with good spirit and very little equipment. Every nation in the world now has loaded tons and tons of supplies and equipment. There are thousands of international doctors on the ground. There's dozens of portable field hospitals. We've opened up a several hundred bed hospital at the airport.
We're working with the United Nations, the World Health Organization, all the different NGOs, the U.S. Army and government. So we're really getting our act together.
And I can tell you, the first group of patients who have been crushed under the weight of their -- their buildings -- we say, Haiti, Haiti, the land of mountains, they came down on these people, they're now being...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We try to make a decision whether we keep someone alive or not. And sometimes...
BLITZER: Unfortunately, I just heard that. I've got a little mix-up in the -- in the communications.
But Dr. Green, you make an excellent point and we're grateful to you and to all the men and women who are working with you in Haiti for what you're doing.
Dr. Barth Green of the University of Miami Medical School and the Project Medishare for Haiti.
Also, I want to thank Soledad O'Brien, Frances Fragos Townsend and Jill Dougherty.
Ivan Watson is standing by in Port-au-Prince right now. He's got new information.
We'll go back there in just a moment.
BLITZER: CNN news teams are getting a look at the damage outside of Port-au-Prince and we're learning what happened on the day the earthquake struck.
CNN's Ivan Watson is back in the capital -- Ivan, tell us what you're seeing on this day.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we just returned from the -- a beach -- a beautiful beach called Petit Paradis. And that means in English, "Little Paradise." It's a fitting name because it's absolutely stunning and lovely. But the village there is desperately poor. These people were barely getting by before the earthquake. Now their homes destroyed and we saw them actually mobbing a nun who was trying to distribute bags of rice with boxes of Pop-Tarts in them, to the point that she drove away and they chased her vehicle.
Now, on top of that, this village -- this area also suffered because of a local tsunami. Local fishermen describe that at the time the earthquake hit, the earth shook, the water receded there and then a massive wave swept in. And it devastated several houses along the waterfront there. And it also, according to our count, carried away at least seven locals, killing them. And that's in addition to the damage of falling houses in that area, Wolf.
A final point that we saw there, they had not received any formal aid, aside from that nun who tried to distribute -- distribute some rice. In the neighboring town, they hadn't seen any help. And American missionaries are telling us -- and she was rather disappointed by the lack of food, water, medicine to this community since the earthquake -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Ivan, you've been there almost from the beginning.
Is there a moment that stands out in your mind right now, something that will stay with you forever?
I'm sure there are probably a lot of images that will always stay with you, but is there something that is really, really pounding away right now that you want to share with our viewers?
WATSON: Every day Haiti and the scale of this catastrophe never ceases to astound me, Wolf. I -- I did not expect to see this kind of damage more than an hour-and-a-half drive from the capital city and to see people this desperate. An encouraging sign today that made me excited was the sight of U.S. Navy amphibious ships pulling in just down that beach, the promise of aid to come in the days to come. Nothing on the ground just yet.
But, you know, as if these people haven't suffered enough, a tsunami on top of that, that carried away these -- these fishermen and people washing their laundry by the beach, little girls?
It is just awful -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Ivan Watson on the scene for us.
Ivan, thanks very much for everything that you and all of our colleagues are doing in Haiti right now.
We'll check in with Lisa Sylvester and some of the other top stories unfolding right now, when we come back.
BLITZER: We're going back to Haiti in just a few moments.
But Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
What else is going on -- Lisa?
SYLVESTER: Oh, not good news on the stock market front. Stocks slumped a third straight day on concerns over earnings reports and President Obama's proposed tougher bank regulations. There's also concern over whether Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's term will be renewed. The Dow fell 270 points. That's the biggest drop since October 30th. And it's the worst since it began its recovery last March.
Vice President Joe Biden flew to Iraq today. Biden plans to meet with Iraqi leaders concerning the country's upcoming March 7th elections. But a major dispute is brewing over whether hundreds of candidates should be blacklisted over suspected links to Saddam Hussein's regime. The blacklist has raised tensions between the Shiite majority and Sunnis. Biden also will meet with U.S. Troops. And this is his fourth visit to Iraq as vice president.
Well, that U.S. Airways jet that Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger -- remember?
He landed it on the Hudson River a year ago, saving the lives of all on board. It's is up for auction. The Hudson River hero, though, is not included. A spokeswoman for the insurer holding the New York auction sale says, unfortunately, though, that this plane -- actually, it will likely end up as scrap metal. Sad to say -- to hear that, isn't it -- Wolf?
BLITZER: You know, it was such an amazing moment. I was working. We were covering that live. And I remember when we first saw that picture of the plane, a live picture and we knew people were inside. I just assumed it was going to sink and I would have to report to the world that all these people were dead. And, you know, you can't imagine how exciting it was when we learned -- we saw them going out on the wings and all of a sudden they were OK. It was just a great moment.
SYLVESTER: Yes. It was so surreal, because the plane didn't sink right away. And it was just hovering there. It was just -- it was on the river. And to think what Captain "Sully" Sullenberger, what he did, landing this on the Hudson River, pretty amazing stuff.
Actually, you know what?
We've got a shot of it right there.
SYLVESTER: Which is just unbelievable. And there -- you know, we were just talking about it. There it is...
BLITZER: It was a great moment.
SYLVESTER: ...the people standing there.
BLITZER: A great moment and he's a real, real hero.
SYLVESTER: Yes, he is.
BLITZER: And I want to thank him for all of that.
All right, Lisa.
Thanks to -- thanks for those top stories.
We're going back to Haiti in just a few moments to see what else is going on. Remember, a little bit more than an hour from now, the telethon that we'll be seeing here on CNN. We'll update you on what's going to happen, after this.
CAFFERTY: Let's check in with Jack for The Cafferty File -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: The question this hour is wasn't it -- what does it mean, he tried to say -- that the country's only liberal radio network, Air America, is going out of business?
Marc writes from St. Louis: "I'm from Missouri, which is Rush Limbaugh's home state. While everybody doesn't agree with him, he does speak for many who believe the extreme liberals have hijacked the Democratic Party. Air America was simply a mirror image of those extreme views. However, in the free market system, you're only as good as the number of listeners you have and Air America didn't have many. Now we see the mainstream media, which supports the Democrats at every opportunity, are going the same route. Newspapers are folding or getting ready to and traditional media is losing -- TV media -- losing viewers in droves. Yet Fox viewers increase every year."
Tom in Florida: "It's of little impact, since it preached to the choir. I'm more left of center and find neither the far right's programs, like "Hannity" or "Limbaugh," nor the far left's Air America, satisfying. Both sides are lopsided and headache-inducing."
Liz writes: "It means liberals and moderates can decide on issues on their own by reading, listening to others and assimilating the facts. They don't need someone to tell them what or how to think, like many conservatives."
Sue in Los Angeles: "Just like "The New York Times" and "Newsweek," there's no need, no market for a far left paper, magazine or radio network. The mainstream media are full of enough biased liberal coverage."
Jeane writes: "Guess we know who works for a living and who lessons to the radio for a living."
Diana writes: "I listened to Air America and I found it boring. I've listened to Rush Limbaugh, I find him boring and offensive. My motto is, if you can't change your mind, are you still -- are you sure you still have one, which is why I like to hear differing opinions respectfully presented with no yelling or interrupting. National Public Radio is the best example of that that I can find."
And Eric writes: "It means that unlike conservatives, liberals cannot be herded like sheep."
A little snarky there, Eric.
if you want to read more about this, go to my blog at CNN.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Will do.
Jack, thank you.
Christiane Amanpour is now in Port-au-Prince for us.
We're going to check in with Christiane after this.
BLITZER: Politics and theater collide in a new production bringing German audiences to their feet.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen shows us "Obama: The Musical".
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama's 2008 campaign message resonated around the world.
PLEITGEN: And now hope, as the Obama musical story is bringing German audiences to their feet.
PLEITGEN: And the cast in awe.
JIMMY WILSON, ACTOR: I'm so proud to represent President Barack Obama. I'm proud to be an American.
PLEITGEN: The musical tells the story of Mr. Obama's road to the presidency and more.
PLEITGEN: The early days, taking on tough guys as a community organizer in Chicago.
PLEITGEN: Falling in love with Michelle.
PLEITGEN: And facing off with political rivals like John McCain and Sarah Palin.
PLEITGEN: And if you think it's strange to find a musical about the American president in Germany, the cast says think again.
TRACEY PLESTER, ACTRESS: They really, really appreciate a good musical. And as soon as I heard the music, I knew that they were going to like it.
WILSON: But they're also a big fan of President Obama.
PLEITGEN: As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama managed to draw a crowd of more than 200,000 to a speech in Central Berlin.
PLEITGEN: And the musical's makers are trying to latch onto that success.
RANDALL HUTCHINS, AUTHOR AND COMPOSER: It was a phenomenal time for America and the world. And it was something that I felt like needed to be captured.
PLEITGEN: And after a successful opening night in Germany, the organizers say, who knows, maybe someday "Obama: The Musical" could make it to America?
Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Frankfurt, Germany.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
In Haiti right now, aid workers said thousands -- even hundreds of thousands of people are leaving the capital. They're traveling by bus, by ferry, even on foot. We're told they're trying to find cleaner, safer shelter -- perhaps in tent cities being promised by the government.
A new ray of hope that survivors will still be found. Today, elderly woman was pulled from the rubble alive, 10 days after the earthquake. And we've just received word that a 22-year-old man was rescued by an Israeli search and rescue team.
Donations to Haiti relief have now topped $355 million in the United States alone. And just about an hour from now, CNN will air a global telethon, Hope for Haiti Now, including our own Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. They're live from Haiti. You won't want to miss that. That's coming up.