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Cablegate: Tfha01: Embassy Port Au Prince Earthquake Sitrep As of 1800

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPU #0050/01 0160251
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160250Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0210
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
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000050

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
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 1800
Day 4

PREVAL ANNOUNCES GOH PRIORITIES

1. (SBU) On January 14 at 3:00 PM the Ambassador attended
first UN donor coordination meeting at MINUSTAH's log base with
President Preval, Prime Minister Bellerive, the new Special
Representative of the Secretary General Edmond Mulet, Kim Bolduc of
UNDP, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, and the Ambassadors of Brazil
and the EU. Preval presented the following GOH priorities:

???? Re-establish telephone communications;

???? Clear the streets of debris and bodies;

???? Provide food and water to the population;

???? Bury cadavers;

???? Treat the injured;

???? Coordination.

2. (SBU) The Prime Minister in the same meeting reiterated
the importance of avoiding duplication of efforts while pushing for
regulation of logistics at the airport to ensure 1) the landing of
planes and the unloading and distribution of food and supplies, and
2) the rapid delivery to supplies to citizens and food security.
GOH will identify site for camps, hospitals, and distribution
points. Due to public health risks, the GOH is prepared to cease
search efforts for survivors and cadavers when the appropriate time
arrives, in line with international norms. GOH has also decided to
cut electricity, as the entire distribution system was heavily
damaged, before attempting to restore electrical power. The ports
will be re-organized before allowing the unloading of merchandise
or fuel.

POLICE OPERATIONS SERIOUSLY HAMPERED

3. (SBU) During the morning of Janaury 15, Poloff visited
three police stations in Port-au-Prince and interviewed the officer
in charge. Stations visited were located in Pacot, Canape Vert and
Petionville. In each case the situation was the same: few officers
showing up for duty; no or limited communications; no fuel for
vehicles or generators; and no water. Poloff also passed by the
former Delmas 33 police station and jail, which was completely
destroyed.

4. (SBU) According to officers in charge of each station,
only about 30-40 percent of officers assigned to each post have
shown up for duty. The reasons are that officers were killed when
their homes collapsed, or they are taking care of the needs of
their families (some of whom died or were injured). Of the
officers who have appeared for duty, many of those have been
working for two or three days straight. Some officers are working
in civilian clothes because their uniforms were left in their
destroyed homes. Other officers live far from the districts in
which they work and are unable to find transportation because many
routes are blocked and they cannot obtain fuel for their personal
vehicles (the few gas stations that are open have lines of vehicles
blocks long). The commandant of the Petionville station took the
initiative of walking across the street to a public radio station
and broadcasted a message to all police officers to report to the
closest police station for duty.

5. (SBU) Each station observed by Poloff was filled with
parked police vehicles, most without fuel. In Canape Vert, for
example, only about 25 percent of the vehicles are operable.


6. (SBU) Another problem is the lack of communications that
is dependent, for the most part, on radios (mobile phone service is
still unpredictable and unreliable). Because the stations do not
have electricity, they cannot keep their radios charged. The
Petionville station had electricity during Poloff's visit only
because a nearby hotel donated two hours' worth of fuel. The
stations are receiving their direction from the Director Centrale
Police Administrative (DCPA), which is being housed within the DCPJ
headquarters near the airport.

7. (SBU) The first priority for each station is getting
their officers into the field but, for the reasons mentioned above,
that task is problematic. The next priority is dealing with
increased occurrence of looting and violence that is spreading in
their districts, mostly by gangs of roving criminals who are gone
by the time the police are able to respond. Another task is
providing order at gas stations, where there are long lines and
short tempers.

8. (SBU) As reported earlier, the main prison in central
Port-au-Prince was damaged in the quake and almost all of the
prisoners escaped. Police officers from the Petionville station
recaptured two of them, who are being held in the station's jail.
The Petionville commandant also stated that on Wednesday the
inmates of the women's prison at that location began to riot and
attempt escape, but that effort was eventually controlled.

9. (SBU) The Petionville station is also plagued by citizens
who are depositing the corpses of victims on the property. Those
corpses are being buried in mass graves.

10. (SBU) A NAS contractor who drove by several PNH facilities
in the afternoon reported: the PNH vehicle repair facility in
downtown Port-au-Prince has been destroyed; and the CIMO (riot
control) HQ near the Palace is intact and operational.

SECURITY SITUATION

11. (SBU) The PNH reports increased frequency of looting,
carjacking and armed attacks by roving gangs. However, compared to
period before the quake, when police could be seen at most major
intersections and zipping through town on their motorcycles, they
are now rarely in sight and are noticeably absent in public.

12. (SBU) One armed gang attacked the vacant ruins of the Nader
Apartments in Juvenat, former home for several embassy staff
members, at approximately 1:00 PM. The building was being guarded
by an unarmed Embassy guard and by an armed private security guard.
After the attackers broke through the surrounding security wall,
the unarmed Embassy guard fled and the armed security guard
surrendered.

13. (SBU) The embassy NAS office reports that it is in the
process of providing solar panels and batteries to police stations
for charging radio batteries (probably by tomorrow). It will also
distribute 10 cases (50 each) of white smoke grenades for crowd
control, and 50 shotguns with ammunition. All of the above is
being provided from INL inventories. NAS is reviewing and
finalizing another list of supplies to be provided in the near
future.

EVACUATION OF AMCITS CONTINUES


14. (SBU) On 15 January the embassy's ACS office evacuated 159
Amcits: 86 on an Air Force flight to Florida, and 83 on a USCG
flight to Santo Domingo. In addition, 14 injured Amcits were
evacuated by medivac. According to the embassy's ACS chief,
approximately 90 percent of those evacuated so far are
Haitian-Americans; 10 percent are missionaries or visitors.

15. (SBU) According to the Consulate, the number of Amcits
seeking evacuation is steadily increasing. The ability to handle
these numbers is limited by 1) availability of aircraft due to
airport congestion; 2) ability of limited embassy staff to process
the evacuees; and 3) the chaotic and unsecure environment in front
of the Port-au-Prince airport (which has recently improved as a
result of security provided by Diplomatic Security and the U.S.
military).

OFDA COORDINATING SAR EFFORTS

16. (SBU) The UN has divided Port-au-Prince into 20 SAR sectors,
of which five are assigned to teams from the U.S. (to include teams
from Fairfax County, VA and Los Angeles, CA). The other sectors are
being handled by the UN and SAR teams from other countries.
Normally, rescue efforts in an earthquake situation convert to
recovery efforts after 72 hours (at 4:50 PM today). However, SAR
teams report they are still finding survivors and they are
optimistic that more will be found. At the present time, U.S. SAR
teams are working at 4 sites to rescue 10 possible survivors.

US MILITARY PROVIDING RELIEF EFFORTS

17. (SBU) Lead elements of the 82nd Airborne Division arrived
today, with approximately 150 troops on the ground. More aircraft
are expected to arrive tonight with troops and equipment.

18. (SBU) USCG helicopters ferried water provided by AID and
OFTA to two locations in Port-au-Prince, which was then distributed
by with the assistance of U.S. soldiers and NGO personnel.

19. (SBU) The Carrier Carl S. Vinson is on station in
Port-au-Prince harbor, and will be providing helicopter lift
support for water and humanitarian supplies.

HAITI STABILIZATION INITIATIVE JOINING IN QUAKE RESPONSE EFFORTS

20. The U.S. Embassy, through the Martissant Haiti Stabilization
Initiative (HSI), will initiate a series of quick impact soil
conservation and disaster mitigation projects in three at-risk
ravines above Martissant, one of Port-au-Prince's poorer and
violence affected neighborhoods. The projects, which could begin
as early as January 18, are being implemented by the International
Organization for Migration and will provide up to 660 short-term
jobs and much-needed income for poor families in the wake of the
earthquake. Apart from short-term jobs and necessary disaster
mitigation, these projects promote community development, drawing
workers from as many of the numerous neighborhoods comprising
Martissant as possible.

GOVERNMENT OF HAITI DEVELOPMENTS


21. According to Senator Youri Latortue and D????put???? Steven
Benoit,
Parliament will hold an emergency meeting at 10:00 AM tomorrow at
the National Laboratory of Public Health on Delmas 33 to make
recommendations to Pr????sident Pr????val concerning a State of
Emergency.

22. Senator Michelet Louis of Artibonite died in the collapse of
the Parliament building. His body has already been sent to his
Department. Senator Wilbert of the Central Plateau also died in
the collapse. Senator Michel Cl????ri???? suffered a broken arm.

23. Emergency Commissions already formed within the GOH: PNH
Director General Mario Andresol will be the lead for Security,
former General Herard Abraham will lead fuel distribution,
Architects Patrick Delatour and Daniel Elie for building structure
evaluation and demolition, Dr. Claude Surena for health matters,
and Dr. Michel Chancy for food distribution.

GENERAL SITUATION

24. (SBU) After nightfall, living in Port-au-Prince is an eerie
and surreal experience. The city is mostly dark, with very few
vehicles on the streets. The odor of decaying corpses is beginning
to permeate the air. The night is filled with a constant cacophony
of sounds: mostly chanting and the singing of hymns, but
interspersed with screams of grief, prayers shouted from
loudspeakers and barking dogs. After an aftershock occurs, the
background noise increases in a wave of screams rising from the
city. With dawn, the singing and screams begin to diminish and are
gradually replaced with the sounds of crowing roosters and the
labor of clearing debris.

25. (SBU) TeleCo seems to be making progress toward restoring
service in some areas. Our political section's LES reported that
his phone now has a dial tone, though his attempts to make a call
were unsuccessful.

26. (SBU) Almost all major arterial streets are clear, though
the majority of secondary streets remain obstructed. The usual
vehicle traffic is reduced by approximately 80 percent, which is
most likely due to limited fuel availability. Pedestrian traffic
has not diminished. The usual hordes of street venders on all
thoroughfares is reduced by approximately one-half, but this is in
fact encouraging - normal life is struggling to return. However,
these venders are not hesitant to take advantage of the situation -
a small "sachet" of water (about 6 ounces) that normally sells for
two gourdes (USD 5 cents) now sells for 10 gourdes (USD 24 cents).
Other prices are said to have quadrupled.

27. (SBU) A report from a NAS contractor who toured the downtown
Port-au-Price area indicates that much of the area from the Palace
to the waterfront is severely damaged and will probably have to be
razed. Remarkably, however, the old Embassy appears to be
undamaged.

28. (SBU) Union School, the American-accredited school in Haiti,
has been damaged, but it is still standing. Luckily, the quake took
place after school hours, however there were some staff members and
a few children still on the premises. Everyone came out alive.
There have been casualties of the staff however outside of school.

29. (SBU) Gradually, the city's public water system (CAMEP) is

beginning to recover. Poloff witnessed residents filling water
containers at a public hydrant in Petionville and residents in
lower Canape Vert report that their water service has been
restored.
MERTEN

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