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Haiti: Getting the Word Out

Those of us outside of Haiti can only imagine the stark reality of daily life in the earthquake's aftermath – but amidst attempts to find loved ones, efforts to administer to the wounded and the overwhelming task of getting relief to those who most need it – bloggers in and around Port-au-Prince are finding the time to communicate with the outside world, which is desperate for news from those closest to the disaster.

The Livesay [Haiti] Weblog has been really committed to updating its posts, with Troy, the head of the family, tweeting regularly and posting images to his flickr photostream. Troy, an American doing missionary work in Haiti, does not hide his admiration for the tenacity of the Haitian people:

The amount of the current suffering caused by the earthquake cannot possibly be known right now … the numbers cannot be estimated. But, if the way they deal with day to day hardship is any indication – the people of Haiti will rise.

His wife, Tara, also offers handy information:

Diesel is going to go fast and will be needed for any sort of communication.

Coming down if you are not willing to risk and get in and clean out horrific wounds would just tax an already taxed place. Medical professionals should contact organizations with the ability to coordinate efforts and try to get here. It won't help to have more non-medical people to feed and house. Hope that does not sound harsh – but it is truth.

Heart wrenching testimonies and photographs were also coming from how can they hear:

On my way out, I saw our dresser moving, the kitchen cabinets shake and spit out all sorts of cans, and the house moving as if it was made out of jello. I had never seen anything like that. But I only realized it was an earthquake when I finally got outside and saw people running in all directions. Some crying. Some rushing. Others wailing. Wailing as if life was pulled from within them.

The blog also offers information on how best to help in the midst of an untenable situation, which, judging by the blog's most recent post, is worsening:

Things are starting to get a little scary. We realize that the destruction in Jacmel is more than we first thought. I just found out that there are still hundreds of people here in Jacmel trapped under the rubble. You can smell the dead people in the downtown area where much damage occurred.

The other question is the issue of water. Will it run out soon? Will we be able to have access anywhere to clean safe water? I don’t know.

Pwoje Espwa – Hope in Haiti also blogs about their experiences:

The local general hospital is already filled with people who were hurt in the capitol. There are doctors and nurses but nothing else. No medicine, no sheets, no bandages, no food for them. Some are languishing on the floor. Keep them and us in your prayers.

The blog's most recent update talks about the fact that “EdH (Electricite d'Haiti) will start rolling out rations of electricity as the fuel supply is dwindling”:

The plan is to provide electricity at night for security and a few hours during the day. Only one gas station is open at this time and folks are predicting super high prices.

Met a man on the street this morning who comes from Jacmel which was hit hard by the earthquake. He was talking to himself in Kreyole, French, Spanish with a sprinkling of English. He spoke to me but I could not make out what he was saying. He abruptly turned away and walked into the darkness. Witnessing the massive destruction and loss of life can make anyone lose it.

Blesh Family in Haiti Weblog also posts information:

The situation is quite bad. Most of the major markets for food are crumbled. The banking system is down. There is only partial internet and cell phone service.

To make it clear from someone on the ground here…I have not kept up with the news and who is doing what but I’ll tell you that Haiti is a mess. The infrastructure is in shambles.

Still, partial Internet access in the context of such widespread devastation is nothing short of a small miracle – and Multilink Haiti, one of the country's Internet Service Providers, has taken the initiative and started tweeting, providing much-needed information and re-tweeting pleas to help find missing loved ones.

One of the most dedicated users of Twitter is hotelier Richard Morse, whose coverage of the situation has been stellar.

Changing Perspectives, while located in neighbouring DR, posts a report from a missionary located near Jeremie in Haiti:

Our phones are still out and not working and there is no way for people to get to Port to check on their families even if they wanted to. We have no boats coming to Jeremie and we hear that the road to Cayes across the mountains is ruined in several places and no vehicles can pass. This means that families can not get to Port to find out where their families are. This is very, very hard on everyone.

In a later post, she gives news about an apparently under-utilised hospital in the north of the island:

Hopital Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Hospital) is full-service hospital, fully staffed, volunteer teams both on site and standing by, ready to go. We can take up to *200 injured patients* immediately! We have operating rooms and beds. We have discharged other patients whose condition is less serious. We have cleared a soccer field for helicopter landing.

Real Hope For Haiti Rescue Center, meanwhile, is also trying to help with medical aid and writes:

I do not pretend to understand the suffering that is happening right now in this country. I know we all feel like we had had enough over the years. The staff has come in to work. They are praying for their loves ones in town. They are hoping for news and believing that they will soon here from them. Mothers and father are weeping for their lost children. Children are crying for their lost parents.

The reality is even when the outside world begins [to arrive], what can be done?

Still, the outside world wants to know.

For more information on the earthquake in Haiti, please go to our Special Coverage Page.

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