Haiti Update

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Aid is trickling into Haiti, but the country continues to struggle with the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake. Stephanie Bunker, spokesperson for the UN's Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, checks in with the latest on the relief efforts. And Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness with Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and president of Children's Health Fund, and author of the book Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now, talks about the health implications of the disaster.


Stephanie Bunker and Irwin Redlener

Comments [23]

Amy from Astoria

I have since tweeted the following, not sure of the spelling of Charles's name, his mother's name, or the spelling of the address:

US citizen and mother of Charles Darvey of NY, is trapped under her house at 300 Avenue Mavramboise (?), P-a-P, Carrefour #haitiquake

Jan. 14 2010 05:35 PM
Amy from Astoria

Did anyone get the address of Charles's mother? I could not understand it. Someone should put this on the CNN site, as well as twitter with the tags #haiti #haitiquake and other relevant tags.

Jan. 14 2010 05:26 PM
Pablo Mayrgundter from Jersey City

I work at Google. We put up a site crisis response site on our home page:

and added a MISSING PERSONS/HELP form last night, linked from that page. Look for:

"Haiti Situation Tracking Form (provided by Google)".

We're planning to share the information we get with other aid organizations with the same methods we used for previous disasters, and will be improving the tools and information we have there as soon as possible.

Jan. 14 2010 11:42 AM
Leo in NYC from Staten Island

Regarding the man whose mother was trapped: If someone still has his contact info -- the NYPD and the Fire Department both sent teams to Haiti. It might be easier to communicate with them through New York than to try to go through the Red Cross or a Senator's office.

Hoping desperately for a good outcome. Good luck.

Jan. 14 2010 11:37 AM
arlene from nj

Please, we can't even rebuild New Orleans and the gulf region affecte by Katrina and the US is going to undertake the rebuilding of an impoverished country? Laughable. Given our massive debt load, US citizens will revolt at such a concept...I can just picture the protests and rallies sponsored by the limbaugh and pat robertson followers.

Jan. 14 2010 11:36 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

Oh my God. I hope someone follows up on that guys mother. Brian perhaps you could spare an intern for the morning.

Jan. 14 2010 11:30 AM

How is it that Haiti shares the same island as DR and is just an utter failure as a society and state? Is it all at the hands of corrupt rulers?

Jan. 14 2010 11:27 AM
nelly Sidoti

send cruise ships to Haiti, easy enough to turn them into hospitals, they have large amounts of clean water. The soil and water is all contaminated in Haiti, so placing injured people on cruise hospitals could offer the most benefit.

Jan. 14 2010 11:27 AM
Emm from NJ

People should try texting or look for businesses or orgs that might have a blog that they are using to help transmit information. That's what happened when all the telecom infrastructure in New Orleans was blown out after Katrina.

Jan. 14 2010 11:27 AM
hjs from 11211

lets not talk about corruption and guns without thinking about how many times the USA has invaded over the pass 200 years. we have kept them poor.
also thanks to the haitian slave revolt we got the louisianan territory for real cheap.

ALSO we should stop USA farmers from flooding the market will cheap american grown food. let them also rebuild their agriculture industy

Jan. 14 2010 11:25 AM
Moshe Feder from Flushing, NY

Please tell Brian that he's laboring under a misapprehension about straws and water purification. Although I don't know for sure that they're ready to be distributed on a massive basis, the straws in question -- called "lifestraws" -- are not "packaged with tiny sips of water," they are special plastic straws with water purification technology built in. They can be used to drink safely from contaminated water sources and are reusable. That means they can provide drinkable water indefinitely without having to physically deliver tons of water.

You can find more about them here:

Jan. 14 2010 11:24 AM
emmet from brooklyn

did one of the callers suggest making Haiti the 50 somethingt state. ehem . no thanks.

Jan. 14 2010 11:22 AM

talk about reversing the deforestation. people cut the trees for firewood which worsens the mud slides.

Jan. 14 2010 11:21 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

Shipping bulk water is extremely heavy and inefficient when covering millions of people. Your guests are correct to to say that water purification systems as well as groundwater pumps will be needed ASAP.

The caller is wrong to say that actually SAVING lives is not more important than corruption at this point. After the human tragedy has been dealt with, then the U.S. and the rest of the Americas will need to help develop institutions and basic infrastructure, physical and human capital, among others.

Jan. 14 2010 11:21 AM
Betty Anne from UES

I have been disgusted for years with the US's blind eye toward Haiti. Haiti needs reforested and the US needs to lead this charge.

Jan. 14 2010 11:20 AM
Susan Burger from Upper West Side

Catherine -- excellent practical measures! And I have to disagree with Patrick. Many lives can be saved by immediate and simple practical measures to reduce contamination during such events. I've seen this up close and personal in many areas of the world that have mortality rates as high or higher than Haiti.

Jan. 14 2010 11:19 AM
ramatu from Brooklyn

I think people are looking at a really outdated view of Haiti. There has been significant improvement in the political culture there. How condescending and imperialist! Broken culture? Really?

Jan. 14 2010 11:19 AM
hjs from 11211

yes, comparing haiti to new orleans-katrina, will be a great example of how good government can work. bush during katrina, showed how the GOP style will always fail

Jan. 14 2010 11:18 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

One thing that came up in Katrina was the potential health hazards resulting from the deceased people. I hate to sound morbid, but I hope we remember that the living carry more disease than the dead. Let's not go back to miasmist thinking. Efficient rescue saves the most people.

Jan. 14 2010 11:16 AM
Catherine from long island

re: water -

I just got back from El Salvador, where there are not water purification systems. What they are teaching people to do is to take water and put it in clear glass or plastic bottles and put it in strong sun for a certain amount of time (not sure for how long - 24 hours or more?). It doesn't get rid of particulate contamination, but it does kill bacterial contamination, and it's something someone can do without outside resources.

Jan. 14 2010 11:14 AM
Susan Burger from Upper West Side

I just finished making links between my current professional organization and contacts from my prior profession in international nutrition concerning the vital importance of preserving breastfeeding during such horrific conditions. My USAID contact in Environmental Health was quite appreciative for the links I provided for concrete steps to preserve breastfeeding and avoid unnecessary use of formula. The relative risks of infant death from formula use compared to breastfeeding when there is no piped water and no latrines increase from a 2.5 to 5-fold increase. I hope you will mention this on the show because well meaning people often will think formula is helpful in such circumstances and try to send it in emergencies.

Jan. 14 2010 11:14 AM

mute that woman's channel when she is not speaking. the sound of her keyboard is annoying.

Jan. 14 2010 11:13 AM
Patrick from Ironbound/Newark

This is a great opportunity for the Democrats to make themselves look good; send in the military, rack up those votes in 2010. Let's admit it, there's very little that can be done but clean up the mess for months and months.

Jan. 14 2010 11:02 AM

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