Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Destination: Haiti," by Emily Schmall

(Article courtesy: CJR)

"It took chartered planes, buses, commercial flights, SUVs, motorbikes, helicopters, and some incredible luck to get in and out of Haiti—twice"

It was sweltering when the Blackhawk landed on the narrow airstrip of the USS Carl Vinson, a United States air carrier floating thirty miles from the shores of Port-au-Prince. It was Friday, January 15, three days after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake had rocked the Haitian capital, and I was among a small coterie of foreign journalists who secured a spot on a Navy helicopter. Three days earlier, I had been eating sushi in Mexico City, where I live and work as a freelance journalist, when I first read about the quake. Though I had never reported from Haiti, my first job out of college at The Miami Herald had piqued my interest in the country, and my instinct told me I should go.

In the na├»ve early hours after the disaster, I had booked a direct flight on Air France from Miami into Port-au-Prince. But by the next day, all commercial flights into Haiti were canceled. It was my first introduction into the logistical challenges of reporting from the site of a disaster—challenges that take on a particular pitch when you’re going in without a satellite phone or a big wad of cash.

Remainder of article can be found HERE.

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