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Cablegate: Tfha01: Embassy Port Au Prince Earthquake Sitrep As of 1200,

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPU #0048/01 0151748
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151746Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0207
INFO HAITI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000048

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR ASEC CASC KFLO MARR PREL PINR AMGT HA PGOV AID
EAID
SUBJECT: TFHA01: EMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE EARTHQUAKE SITREP as of 1200,
Day 4

REF: PORT AU PRINCE 40

EMBASSY OUTSIDE COMMUNICATIONS AND ASSETS LIMITED

--------------------------------------------- ----

1. (SBU) Aftershocks continue, but since 6:00am January 14, some
Embassy personnel have been able to sporadically send and receive
phone calls and text messages on mobile phones. All land lines are
still down. Trilogy International, parent company of ComCel/Voila,
Haiti's largest cellphone service provider, reported to PolOff that
at midnight on January 13 phone service was restored to a level
that was considered to be capable of supporting reliable commercial
traffic. The Voila network is now operating at 70 percent
capacity, with international in-bound and out-bound calling.

2. (SBU) Most remaining Embassy personnel, plus 112 AmCits spent
the night of January 13 at the Embassy with limited food and water
supply. The Management section is working with RSO to relocate the
85 American Embassy staff currently at Post to three neighborhoods
where residences remain structurally stable. Less than half of
Embassy residences are inhabitable, many requiring repairs to
plumbing and generators, which is indicative of the severity of
destruction in even the most affluent suburbs of Port-au-Prince.
Almost the entire Motor Pool fleet is consumed with transporting
evacuees to the airport.

MORE HAITIAN-AMERICANS AMONG EVACUEES

-------------------------------------

3. (SBU) ConOffs report that while the first wave of AmCits
seeking American Citizen Services (ACS) was comprised mostly of
natural-born AmCits, including visiting business travelers and
missionary groups; today, more Haitian-Americans and Legal
Permanent Residents (LPRs) were seeking Embassy assistance. Most
of these Haitian-Americans were visiting Haiti and have homes
established in the U.S. We have not yet seen a large movement of
resident Haitians deciding to leave for the U.S.

GOH RESPONSE INCREMENTALLY INCREASING

-------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The Ambassador met with Prime Minister Bellerive (as well
as the Ministers of Interior and Commerce) at the airport at
10:00am on January 14. Prime Minister Bellerive was effusive in
his thanks for the work the United States military is doing to get
the airport up and running after the earthquake. He was very
pleased to see the steady stream of assistance flights that are
efficiently arriving, delivering assistance and taking off to free
tarmac space for other assistance flights. The Ambassador asked
that the GOH establish a mechanism of regular communication and
coordination with donors, and Bellerive invited the Ambassador
and/or his representatives to participate in a daily coordination
meeting with other donors and GOH ministers at 08:00am. The Prime
Minister also invited the Ambassador to a meeting of all donors at
3:00pm January 14 to discuss GOH priorities and coordination of
donor efforts.

5. RSO reports that up until this point, they have had no official
contact with the Haitian National Police (HNP) despite many
attempts. RSO staff have visited the local commissariat and have
been able to request spot support and security assistance for helo
medevacs but have been unable to coordinate anything other than
minimal time and location. RSO has just begun to allow the use of
privately owned vehicles (POVs) with advance notification and
approval of itineraries and routes, as many roads are still
blocked.


6. (SBU) On January 13, only a handful of Haitian National Police
(HNP) trucks with officers in plain clothes were on patrol, and on
January 14, EmbOffs reported seeing for the first time HNP
motorcycles out on the streets, HNP officers conducting traffic,
more HNP vehicles patrolling throughout Port-au-Prince and the
suburbs.

ATTEMPTS TO IMPROVE SERVICES, PORTS, BANKS

----------------------------

7. (SBU) Private ports may become available as temporary medical
sites. Gregory Mevs of Terminal Varreaux informed Post that one
berth at his port is functioning with roll-on and roll-off, and
vessels up to about 3,500 tons are able to dock there. Petroleum
products cannot be delivered without repairs. At least on the
jetties of the National Port Authority (APN) is under water and no
vessels can berth. Terminal Varreaux has a 10,000 sq feet
warehouse available for a field hospital and an enclosed yard of
390,000 sq feet near the port. Thirteen buildings were damaged and
or destroyed at SHODECOSA, a private industrial part located across
the street from the port. The APN has been criticized historically
for its poor operation, for having among the highest port fees in
the world, and for trying to maintain a monopoly, having recently
announced they would not allow anyone other than itself to run
container operations at the port.

9. (SBU) The President of UNIBANK, the largest bank in Haiti,
told a contact that he was hopeful they could get their bank
servers back up and running and reopen for service on Monday. As
far as the Embassy can determine, this would be the first port to
re-open.

10. (SBU) The U.S. Coast Guard Liaison (CGLO), who spent the
night of the earthquake organizing on-site triage for the injured
in Carrefour, the epicenter of the earthquake, reports that afloat
assets are undamaged, but maintenance depots and many other
buildings were down. The clinic and barracks remain intact. There
were no serious injuries or deaths among Coast Guard staff,
contrary to reports that half the Coast Guard were killed.

STREET ACTIVITY MINIMAL BUT RISING

------------------------------------

11. (SBU) The main form of public transportation, converted
pick-up trucks known as "tap taps," are operating at about only 10%
of their normal rate. Embassy personnel have been unimpeded in
moving throughout the city. Arterials are open but congested. Many
secondary streets are still impassable. Trucks, loaded mostly with
plantains, are bringing goods to some main street markets, which
are slowly beginning to reappear. Very large numbers of people are
still wandering the streets. Long lines and crowds are forming at
gas stations, although many are closed. A gallon of gasoline now
sells for 500 Haitian gourds (HTG), approximately USD 12.50, on the
black market. Many damaged vehicles remain abandoned in the middle
of the road, some with drivers and passengers still inside. An
increasing number of bodies, many uncovered, line the streets and
are beginning to decay.

12. (SBU) Scavenging from destroyed buildings is increasing, but
looting (defined as forcibly breaking into secured buildings does
not seem to be occurring. Looters dragged a USAID contractor from
his vehicle at gunpoint on January 13 as he was leaving the
Parliament, after spending hours digging out bodies, including two
dead Senators, Michele Louis and Jacque Wilbert. Thieves shot his
vehicle and pulled him out; he gave them his cash, then got back
into his car, and left the scene. EmbOff also heard reports of
scavenging on the night of January 13 at the Digicel building on
John Brown Avenue.


FIRST REPORTS OF DAMAGE OUTSIDE THE CAPITAL

-------------------------------------------

13. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports
significant damage in Petit Goave, a village 80 kilometers
southwest of Port-au-Prince. The earthquake destroyed the catholic
church, several schools, hotels, and many houses. Several dozens
are presumed to be trapped under rubble, including the vice-mayor.
MERTEN

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