The Marines have Landed!
This image is an overview of the harbor and downtown area of Port au Prince. You can't tell much from this image, but as we zoom in, things begin to come into focus. As with all the other images I've captured of Haiti, click on the image to see the full-size version. All these images have come from Google Earth.
There are many changes to this area. At the bottom of the image, you can see that one of the damaged buildings has been fenced off, and clean-up work has begun. At the far left, about halfway down the left-hand side, there's a compound and a building that is an arc with two posts, one at each end. You can see a number of tents in what is probably an embassy compound. Immediately above that area, there's what was once a parking lot that's been turned into a tent city. At least one part of the area is being used as a tent hospital, with several military ambulance vehicles parked nearby. The clean-up work on the buildings to the top of the image has begun, but the rubble of only one building seems to have been removed. Don't be fooled by the limited amount of traffic - other areas show heavy traffic coming into the city, and moderate traffic leaving it. The building in the lower right corner of the image shows that the clean-up of some buildings and areas has just begun.
The Marines have come to Port au Prince. Here is one of the encampments where they stay when they're not working 16-18 hours a day.
With much of the harbor area still damaged, the only sure way to get supplies to shore is by using landing craft (inset). There aren't many places where these craft can land inside the city of Port au Prince. This image shows one such area, just above the main pier.
Compare the following images with the ones from the 21st, posted here.
The warehouse area in this photo, and the streets surrounding them, are jammed with people. Most of these people are those that have lost their homes entirely, or whose homes are so damaged it's not safe for them to return.
This soccer field has been turned into a squatter's camp, filled with refugees from destroyed or damaged homes.
The soccer field in the center-left portion of this image hosts a modular, deployable, inflatable European field hospital. You can see several tent cities in other parts of the image. This scene, mostly without the hospital, can be seen in many parts of the city.
This is the US Embassy in Port au Prince (not in the overview photo). Note the number of tents inside the compound. I don't know if these are living quarters for Embassy staff that lost their homes, staff being recalled and housed in tents to be available whenever they're needed, or tents for visitors. The area to the left of the image shows a crowd of people, and the street in front of the embassy is crowded with vehicles.
The National Palace (Haitian National Government) area is still surrounded by tent camps of earthquake victims, and little has been done in the four days since the previous imagery to clean up the debris in the area. Estimates of five to ten years for Port au Prince to fully recover are probably conservative.
Port au Prince isn't the only area where the Marines are landing. This minor port facility provides room for another landing craft to bring desperately needed supplies to people in Carrefour.
This image shows a tanker offloading petroleum products (gas, oil, diesel, etc.) to an area that also serves one of Haiti's oil-powered electric generating plants. Restoring electricity to Port au Prince will help restore a sense of recovery to the city.
Those of us in the United States have every right to be proud of our nation's military and their response to the Haiti earthquake disaster. Here is the USNS Comfort, one of two hospital ships in the US Navy.
The USNS Comfort isn't the only ship providing assistance to Port au Prince. This photo, centered on the USNS Comfort, also shows two US Navy LSDs (Landing Ship, Dock - where those landing craft come from), and a US Frigate. There are several ships from other navies, as well that are helping out. The sole ship providing assistance (as of Jan 25) to Jacmel, to the south, is a Canadian Destroyer.
As always, I'm not the only person reporting on this. There are dozens of others. One of them, my good friend Chuck Simmins has several posts on Haiti at his North Shore Journal weblog. If you want to know what our military leadership is saying about Haiti, visit the US Southern Command weblog. The US Southern Command has responsibility for all US military forces and operations in Central and South America.