Though help is trickling into Haiti, the situation is still grim and in some ways getting worse one week after a devastating earthquake. Bodies are being dumped, uncounted and unidentified, into mass graves. The aid that has made it to the capital has been difficult to distribute and the security situation is beginning to deteriorate as thousands of people stream out of the capital city of Port-au-Prince in search of subsistence. But the depressing situation hasn’t stopped some New Yorkers on the ground there from racing against time to save as many lives as possible, and, in the process, sapping us of any self-satisfaction we felt for texting a $10 donation to the Red Cross while watching football this weekend.
One group of veteran New York rescuers searching through the rubble in the hopes of finding more survivors has experienced horrors like this before on 9/11. But in some ways, they say, the situation in Haiti is even worse. “At least in 9/11, you had a place to go to get away from the hole,” one firefighter in the 80-person search-and-rescue team told the Times. “This is like 9/11 on the whole island of Manhattan. There’s nothing left. How are they going to come back after this? This place needs to be leveled. None of this is saveable.” Despite such hopelessness, the team has managed to save four people from the rubble.
Meanwhile, a team of New York and New Jersey doctors are working overtime to keep the “endless stream” of wounded survivors alive. Sadly, many of the operations they’re performing are amputations. “The number of amputations are massive. On any given day we take between 20 and 30 limbs,” one New Jersey doctor, Jean-Paul Bonnet, tells the Post. Another doctor is returning to New York today to organize reinforcements to staff more operating rooms. “If we don’t do it within two to three weeks everyone around here will be dead. Time is critical,” he says.