Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I haven't posted in a while or at least it seems as if it has been days.

We got all of the folks out of the UN center here at SDQ the last planeload went at 4 AM. I got a few hours of sleep on the floor.

This morning has been spent working the 75 ton food shipment. Things are difficult to arrange what with aircraft dispatch times, flight plans, landing permits, trucking unions, customs, border notifications, convoy security and about 20 dozen other things. Right now it looks really good that this aid will get there in the next 24 hours or so.

Reports are still coming in on the PaP airport situation and it has not improved.

The firefighters at the airport here took us out to their station so we could shower. What a great feeling.

In the middle of this whole organizing of flights and aid shipment my Blackberry died. Could not get it working and Verizon does not do a great job of support outside the continent. I got back on the air this morning using a prepaid phone and forwarding my number there. Whatever it takes.

I am being pressured by some entities to get up into Haiti. It's tempting to go however I want to see if a continual pipeline of aid can be established that will normalize the movement of the millions of pounds of stuff that has to be moved north in the next few months. A few days planning that out will pay tremendous benefits throughout the entirety of this emergency. So maybe Port-au-Prince in a couple of days.

Getting from SDQ to PaP is much easier starting this evening. There is a Russian Mil helicopter seconded to the UN flying and a 19 seat UN jet. So credentialed folks will not be spending hours or days sitting here.

The Dominican government approached us today about moving operations out of SDQ. The flight line is full all around the clock now and handling space, cargo movement and passenger handling is at maximum capacity. We will go look at an alternate airport that the government wants us to use; it will be essentially all UN and NGO flights with a half dozen daily tourist charters that come in. We'll see how that looks.

So busy busy with the good work. I remain very concerned that the PaP airport is not supporting a higher level of traffic. I haven't had any time to look into the media reports or read the UN information there is probably a good reason. The folks here are accepting that PaP is not available to cargo or large passenger aircraft and we are working around that fact.

Some of the SAR crews are repatriating out today. A bunch of exhausted folks. I was told today that the international SAR effort recovered 90 living souls; that's a lot of lives saved.

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