Monday, January 18, 2010

The hurrier I go the behinder I get....

Greetings from the United Nations room at Santo Domingo airport. No we did not get our three flights today so the situation remains fluid.

I have spoken with my brother Jim quite a few times both to bounce ideas off of him and to commiserate with this situation. Sadly it is not unusual.

Haiti's people are being negatively impacted by a disconnect in the coordination of efforts. On one hand we have the United State's government and the other hand is the UN. Both entities from the top to the bottom are trying their best to be as efficient as possible.

We have three (UN sponsored) airliners that need to make the 30 minute flight from Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince. The US military is handling air traffic control and the acquisition of a landing slot is most difficult. We have had a number of false alarms today in which we were going to head out only to be called back.

I am doing what I can to help this situation. I have gotten to know everyone in the room; lots of good and committed folks. The UN staff are ready willing and anxious to start moving bodies and equiment into Haiti. I don't know who the US contact is I am sure someone on the US side of the equation is working the problem no one here seems to know that process. I have made contact with the USAID folks to try and make sure the UN and the US can work together. I have connected US AID and UN here so maybe they can get things going.

There are two rotary wing aircraft coming in tonight for the use of the UN and NGO people in Santo Domingo. The local UN coordinator is hopefully talking to the right US folks so that once these two helicopters are unload and assembled the initiation of transport shuttle flights can begin. Everyone wants that to happen but no one quite knows how to do that. We will get through it.

Some feel good stuff, at least it makes me feel good: The Dominicans continue to be gracious hosts as we all realize we are spending the night on the floor. JetBlue Airways is feeding us and providing logistical support. That's not a commercial plug it is the truth. Thanks to both from me.

One last thing: All of the above report is my own understanding of the situation. It may be totally incorrect at some level however the observed facts are just that. My opinions are my own of course.



  1. Great update, Bro. Hang in there. BTW, if you see a Cruiser with "60" on the hull, it's the grand lady NORMANDY...she's VINSON's escort.

    You probably already know, but the DOD response is under one umbrella, Joint Task Force - Haiti (aka JTF Haiti), Operation Unified Response (JTF is a temporary joint command structure...this one is probably of HA, or Humanitarian Assistance, variety).

    Here's a potentially useful excerpt from their webpage (go to

    "Countries, non-governmental agencies and other civilian agencies that want to deliver aid to Haiti via aircraft should contact the HFOCC (Haiti Flight Operations Coordination Center), located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida (USA) at the following commercial phone number: 1-850-283-5477."

    Finally, while the JTF command center will not likely move ashore in Haiti anytime soon, if at all, one arm of the JTF may be a designated Civil/Military Operations Center (CMOC), which will probably have a field presence. You may end up interfacing with that organization. If, at some point, additional info about how DOD operates would be useful, let me know and I'll try.

    Love you,

  2. Just want to thank you and all the other volunteers with you for what you are doing over there. Hopefully it will all begin coming together soon, and all your efforts will pay off in the end by getting the food and supplies to those that need it.
    Thank you so much for your tireless commitment to what must seem like an overwhelming task!


I welcome comments, questions or anything anyone wishes to post on the situation in Haiti.