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 naïve 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.