Monday, January 18, 2010

Some progress

I am still here at the UN center at SDQ airport.

Lots of things have been going right over the last four hours. We got landing slots at PaP; most of the filed rescue and recovery experts have moved out. There will be additional flights at midnight 2 and 3:45 local time and the center should be empty.

We have a situation in that there is some hard limit on the number of landing cycles at PaP. I spent a lot of time this evening on the phone with them, at the request of and with the authority of, the UN situation management office. We have 75 tons of food waiting less than four hours away by air and the earliest landing slot we can get from PaP control is 1:40 AM January 22.

We are probably going to get that food shipped here in to SDQ. The Dominicans are agreeable in terms of this facility and someone has donated warehouse space and materials handling equipment. All that is left is to organize six trucks or so to tag on to a food convoy tomorrow afternoon. That is a basic meal for 600,000 folks or so. I am working through the night to get all of that arranged and so far things look good.

I don't want to seem to be busting on the US but after the last 20 hours or so I have to say something has to change at the PaP airport. I can't think of any aid that is more important than 600,000 meals. 72 hours is a long time to wait. The folks at Haiti Flight Operations Command Center are doing the best the can; I just think that anything other than essential subsistence aid should flow to alternate sites.

As this post indicates I am not in Haiti nor, at this time, does it appear that I will get there soon. My satcom equipment has been used by some of the SAR times a bit but mostly what I am doing is talking on the phone and emailing with people to get logistics flowing. I have been asked to stay on with the UN doing this work for a while. As much as I want the joy of putting the food in the mouth of a hungry child I think I have to give this a little more time. The UN site coordinator and I have put together a process to handle 200 tons a day and get it to the hungry.

1 comment:

  1. Why aren't we airlifting stuff? I mean, we kept Berlin going and that was better than half a century ago - dropping food with parachutes in Haiti could not be THAT difficult in comparison, could it? I keep hearing about the backlog of aid getting in etc. and this makes no sense to me.


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