Update

This report has been written Friday, 15th of January, 2pm.
The situation in Haiti seems to worsen more and more as time goes by. Whilst writing this I am listening to one of the very few national radio stations that are still working, Radio “Signal FM”. This station has cancelled its whole programme in order to give a full-time coverage on the post-earthquake events around Port-au-Prince. As information sources remain very scarce at this stage, it is difficult for the local journalists to give a fully elaborated picture of the recent situation. After having consulted various international media this morning, I got the impression that same applies for them.
At Signal FM various politician remaining in the capital are giving statements on the current developments in Port-au-Prince. They all seem very worried on how aid and relief mesasures may go on there. In between the interviews, several citizen are permitted to issue calls for help, considering specific locations where people are still missed and/or give signs that they are alive under huge bunches of stones and such. I am very concerned about the fact that they might be dead when rescue teams finally will arrive. Up to now, the greater international organisations, such as UN, MSF, CARE and other are not able to draw a precise picture of their working ground. Reports state that at least 50000 people have died, 300000 had lost their homes and about 10% of the capital had been totally destroyed. In my view these a rather conservative estimations, driven by the interest not to cause further panic and influenced by the fact that the real impact of this catastrophy can still not be enumerated. This noon I spoke to the regional director of FAES, the parastatal development institution I was considered to work with (before the quake happened) in collaboration with the German Development Service DED. He had gone to the capital together with almost all the FAES staff, as they all have their families there.
He was lucky to have found his family without any victims and has brought them to Hinche this morning. During our conversation he could give my some further eyewitness information. Amongst other things he mentioned that official numbers (of victims, wounded etc.) might be absolutely underestimated. He had a lot of difficulties to reach his relatives. I took almost two days due to blocked roads all over the city, huge crowds on the streets desperately looking for water, food, technical equipment to rescue others and medical equipment to care about wounded and sick people. He mentioned that there were no means to get food, water and people were using the streets as toilets. An immense humanitarian emergency will rise due to diseases being able to grow on this fertile ground. Considering the security in the city, he was very worried about possible riots. As I mentioned earlier there are already lots of rumours, in the radio as well people were telling about armed gangs, partly coming from the famous shantytowns Cite Soleil and Bel Air, profiting from an environment where absolutely no authority is in function to care about public life and security. This coincides with a situation in which the presidential palace collapsed as well as the juridical centre of the country. Further all ministries but that of culture are destroyed. Several ministers, senators, deputies and other government staff are among the victims, President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive have survived but seem not capable to cope with the tasks they are confronted with. The Headquarters of MINUSTAH, the 11000 people UN mission to stabilize Haiti has collapsed and became a grave for alomost the whole leading panel, including the mission’s head Hedi Annabi. Major prisons in town were destroyed by the earthquake, criminals were able to get out and are trolling around in Port-au-Prince now.
As we do not have lots of fuel and gasoline here, in Port-au-Prince there seem nothing to be left at all. Electricity network is out of function since about 72 hours and out of the major telecommunication companies only one is working in the capital, another one from time to time (here in Hinche the lack of communication is even higher). The international airport in the capital is used as a substitute headquarters for governmental and international aid operations. At least it remains working as an airport, too: The first relief airplanes could land with the help of US soldiers (as the tower was seriously damaged) and apparently there had been some evacuation of expatriates.
Just sum it up in a few words, the heart of the country simply stopped to beat.

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