Cablegate: Tfha01: Embassy Port Au Prince Earthquake Sitrep As of 1600,
DE RUEHPU #0066/01 0192208
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 192206Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0231
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 000066
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR ASEC CASC KFLO MARR PREL PINR AMGT HA PGOV AID
SUBJECT: TFHA01: EMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE EARTHQUAKE SITREP as of 1600,
1. (SBU) Summary: Despite hardships in devastated
neighborhoods, residents appear to be calm and civil, though
isolated reports of roving armed gangs continue. A survey of
regional police stations shows that most are operational, though
many are damaged. A survey of regional prisons reveals that most
prisons were damaged and that a majority of the prisoners have
escaped. The private sector, including the banking industry, is
organizing and attempting to reinvigorate the economy. Some gas
stations are open, but with long lines. Street vendors are
becoming more visible and are now selling fresh fruits and
vegetables. Most arterial streets are passable, though secondary
streets remain blocked. Parliament is meeting at the Police
Academy. In their first meeting, members of Parliament unanimously
opposed the President's decision to form emergency commissions.
The legal mandate of Parliament, and its effectiveness, remains in
question. Twenty-four bodies have been recovered from the old
Parliament building, 22 staff and two senators.
2. (SBU) Poloff visited severely damaged neighborhoods,
accessible only on foot, where 90-100 percent of the homes were
destroyed. Residents were residing in made-shift camps in
available open areas, and they had not yet received any
humanitarian supplies from relief organization. Nonetheless, the
residents were civil, calm, polite, solemn and seemed to be
well-organized while they were searching for belongings in the
ruins of their homes. However, isolated reports continue of roving
armed gangs engaged in looting and robbery. After dark, when the
work ends, the sounds of groups chanting and singing religious
songs continues until the early hours of the morning. The odor of
rotting cadavers is now permeating the air all over the city.
STATUS OF PNH COMMISSARIATS
3. (SBU) A NAS team reported on its survey of certain PNH
police stations on January 17:
???? DCPJ buildings: Functional with damage. The Government
is using this building as its primary meeting place.
???? Delmas 33: Collapsed and debris removed as of 17
January. No PNH was present. It is reported that a tent has been
requested to reopen the commissariat. The small juvenile detention
facility behind the commissariat appears intact, but should be
surveyed by a technical evaluation team.
???? CIMO building: Damaged, but PNH is working out of that
portion of the area that is secure
???? Cafeteria (downtown): Collapsed. PNH have been seen
working traffic control in the area as well as working with
search/rescue crews. Also, PNH vehicle 1-415 crushed in the debris
???? Vehicle Workshop: Not functional.
???? Circulation (traffic): Some damage but building is
functional. PNH are working.
???? Delmas 3: No damage observed. PNH working.
???? Cite Soleil Main Commissariat: Damage to the rear wall
(collapsed). Minor damage to the interior, but non-structural. PNH
present and working. Out of all the commissariats visited, this
commissariat had the most PNH present who were actively and
effectively working and assisting citizens. Detainees were still
in cells. The situation was calm and no incidents observed. Razor
wire must be installed to secure the flank of the station. The
Commander somehow managed to acquire a lite-all unit and fuel,
giving excellent perimeter lighting to the commissariat and the
citizens - many of whom are camped outside the station.
???? Cite Soleil Wharf: Minor damage (driveway and one
column), but functional. Ready to be put in use.
???? IG Building (under construction): Damaged and will not
be ready anytime soon.
???? Portal Leogane: No damage observed. PNH working.
???? Tabarre (BIM): Some structural damage. PNH working.
PNH also were working at a park nearby where thousands of refugees
have now gathered. PNH were actively working with the people.
???? Cazeau: No damage observed. PNH present and working.
???? Police Academy: Most buildings in good shape. The
Haitian Parliament used the Academy for its session on January 18.
4. (SBU) The following is a recap of a Poloff survey of other
commissariats on January 15:
???? Petionville: Operational with PNH present and working.
Jail facilities intact.
???? Canape Vert: Damaged but operational. PNH present and
working, but few in number.
???? Pacot: Damaged but operational. PNH present and
working, but few in number.
PRISON SITUATION ON January 15:
5. (SBU) Embassy NAS Director met GOH Director of Prisons on
January 18. He acknowledged that most prisoners escaped when
guards abandoned their posts. He also said that a formal request
for USG assistance to the corrections sector will be forthcoming.
6. (SBU) Post has received the following survey of prisons in
???? National Prison: Four inmates died within the prison
the rest escaped. We were not able to confirm this information as
prison officials did not permit him to enter.
???? Carrefour: 150 inmates escaped from a population of
The 121 inmates who remain in the prison are without water or
electricity. There is enough food for a few days.
???? Petionville: Although there were no escapes, the
destroyed their cells and are currently in the yard. They refuse
to return to their cells and have been sleeping in the yard.
???? Arcahais: All 249 inmates escaped.
???? Delmas 33: 211 youths escaped while three decided to
stay put. Eighty-one adult inmates in the new building built by
MINUSTAH as a temporary measure to relieve the population pressures
at the Gonaives Commissariat also escaped. These adults freed the
youths at the time of the escape. The previously existing prison
shows signs of cracking, but the new building appears to have
maintained its structural integrity.
???? Jacmel: 80 inmates escaped. An assessment of the
facility will be completed in the next few days.
???? St. Marc: None of the inmates escaped. An assessment
the facility will be completed in the next few days.
PRIVATE SECTOR AIMS TO RESUME BUSINESS
7. (SBU) On January 17, members of Haiti's private sector
began discussions on how to contribute to relief efforts, resume
business operations and begin rebuilding the Haitian economy.
Charles Castel, Governor of Haiti's Central Bank (BRH) told EmbOff
on January 16 that priorities in addressing Haiti's current "broken
economy" include ensuring the safety of the banking system and
empowering small debtors "to get the people in all strata of
society back on their feet." Georges Sassine, President of the
Haitian Association of Industry (ADIH), said that SONAPI, one of
Haiti's major national industrial parks, is largely intact.
Garment factories aim to recommence apparel production on January
25 and export to the U.S. through the Dominican Republic. Business
leaders will also be meeting with Ambassador Merten January 19.
8. (SBU) BRH and the Professional Association of Banks (APB)
announced in a radio statement on January 16 that they were meeting
and working for a gradual reopening of all banks in a professional
manner and a secure environment. BRH opened for the morning of
January 18, only for special operations, such as the purchase of
fuel and pharmaceuticals. Most banks that are able to open plan to
re-open on January 21.
9. (SBU) Some gas stations were dispensing gas, but the lines
10. (SBU) Poloff observed that the number of roadside merchants
is increasing, selling a variety of local fruits and vegetables
along with the usual staples of pasta, rice and some bread.
However, the number of vendors is about half the usual amount. The
fruits were fresh and of excellent quality, indicating that the
transport of such items into Port-au-Prince is working. Bottled
water is also available for sale on the street. Vendors are
hampered by the lack of fuel for transport vehicles and by streets
that are still blocked by collapsed buildings and walls. While
most of the arterial streets are passable (if only by one lane),
most secondary streets remain blocked.
11. (SBU) A radio talk show host blasted President Pr????val on
Signal FM on January 18 for hesitating to authorize the U.S.
military to deploy. Citizens also complained about Pr????val
the police not to shoot the looters who are themselves shooting at
police and are attacking stores, supermarkets and residents
downtown and in the Port-au-Prince suburbs. Hundreds of calls from
angry citizens poured into the studio of Radio Signal FM to
denounce the government.
12. (SBU) According to USAID contractor David Payne:
???? Parliament requested security for the destroyed
Parliament site to prevent the looting of safes and wallets (from
???? Parliament is preparing to use the Police Academy as a
meeting site, which is suitable for immediate needs. Security at
that location is excellent. Parliament requested a small space in
the old U.S. Embassy for parliamentary leadership.
???? Twenty-four bodies have been recovered from the
Parliament building, including 22 staff and two members of
Parliament. Senator Michelet's body was remitted to his family.
It is reported that Senator Wilbert also perished (unconfirmed).
One survivor was extricated and sent to a field hospital. There
were no known MPs in the building.
???? Speaker Kelly Bastien has been transported to Miami for
medical treatment. According to public radio reports, Bastien was
originally transferred to a hospital in Santiago, DR where he was
successfully treated for a broken leg and a broken ankle, but then
blood appeared in his urine.
???? Armed looters are loitering in the area of the
building. While working in the vicinity, Payne was stopped in his
vehicle at gunpoint and robbed on January 13. His vehicle was also
damaged by the attackers.
13. (SBU) Parliament has been meeting at the Police Academy,
including the morning of January 19. Payne reported that security
at the Academy is excellent. Radio reports indicated that
parliamentarians unanimously opposed the President's decision to
form emergency commissions in their first meeting after the
collapse of the legislative building. There has been a debate as
to whether the current legal mandate for Parliament has expired.
Despite an electoral law that allows parliamentarians to stay in
function until May 2010, others point out that this violates the
14. (SBU) Comment: Following the earthquake, Parliament's
relevance has been diminished significantly. Its relevance and
credibility is being further undermined its by opposition to the
formation of emergency commissions, which is viewed as a petty
political maneuver and typical of parliamentary game playing.