Harlan Talks About Her Haiti Experience

Published On: Dec 12 2012 09:33:59 AM EST
Updated On: Feb 11 2010 07:58:13 AM EST

Local 4's Carmen Harlan, photojournalist Cesar Gonzalez and producer Ro Coppola share their thoughts are home after a few days in the earthquake stricken Haiti.

Harlan and her crew took relief supplies for earthquake victims and met some of Harlan?s relatives who live there.

"It was like nothing I have ever experienced before. When you see someone outside of their home. It's hard to imagine as an American what that kind of a struggle was like," Harlan said. "To lose your home and not know what your life will be like in the future."

"That's what they are dealing with. What their life is like today," said Harlan.

Harlan talked about the devastation with wonder.

"I am so glad I went," said Harlan. "I learned that we are stronger than we thought we were."

She said having experienced Haiti over the past few days has taught her a lot.

"I understand how far we can be pushed and that we will survive. We do come out the other side" said Harlan.

Harlan said it was quite an experience to meet her family in Haiti and learn a lot more about the devastation caused by the earthquake.

Harlan and the crew has landed in Port-au-Prince!

Other Local 4 Duo Travels To Haiti

Monday, Local 4's Dr. Frank McGeorge and NightCam's Tim Pamplin returned after traveling to Haiti to bring supplies and relief to the devastated country.

The brave duo left last Tuesday and traveled with a local missionary group called Christian Faith Ministries of Garden City. They were also armed with supplies and guts.

Missionary Flights International out of Fort Pierce helped the group get to Haiti.

Dr. McGeorge brought hundreds of pounds of medical supplies that were donated by Henry Ford Hospital, where he works as an emergency room doctor, and Pamplin documented for Local 4 viewers everything he saw and experienced.

In addition, Dr. McGeorge treated several Haitians who were in need of medical care.

Dr. McGeorge and Pamplin have returned. They will be sharing highlights from their trip after some much-needed rest.

Update: 1/23/10

Because current conditions in Haiti do not allow Dr. McGeorge and Tim Pamplin to file blogs directly, Local 4 News and ClickOnDetroit.com are relaying their latest reports and messages.

On Friday, their first priority was locating fresh supplies of water. They found that relief deliveries are heavily guarded at the Port-au-Prince airport. Rev. John Hearn of Garden City had to make a strong case to military personnel before he could take water from the site to those in need at his orphanage in a hard hit area.

As a third world nation, Haiti has always been challenged to supply clean drinking water to its people. Pumping stations in Port-au-Prince are all damaged and no fresh water is being supplied. That makes clean water a priority.

Some aid workers are teaching survivors how to purify the water so they can draw from wells or collect from rainfall. These efforts are doubly important. On one hand, they can help the residents obtain their own safe water for a ready supply. On top of that, if less drinking water has to be flown in on relief flights, those flights can bring in more food, medical supplies and other critical items.

On the medical front, Dr. McGeorge spent much of Friday treating a wide range of injuries and health problems. Many children who inhaled dust in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake need attention for respiratory problems. Other Haitians are getting treatment for broken bones and infections. The number of people coming in for treatment is decreasing slightly, but the need for medical care is still great in Port-au-Prince.

Update: 1/22/10

It has been an unbelievable scene. So much worse that we anticipated. But, it has also been very uplifitng to see the Haitian spirit amid such devastation. It's been incredible. We have continued to feel some tremors.

Update: 1/20/10Per: WDIV News Operations Manager Jeff Liebman @ 5:15 p.m. Just a few minutes ago (5:15pm ET) I received a call from our team in Haiti. They have arrived at the mission and described the conditions along the way as worse than anticipated.

We are attempting to establish a video connection with them, and put McGeorge live on the air sometime during our early newscasts.

We still have to work out a few issues involving our IRIDIUM satellite phone, which is blocked at the moment, but we?re working to get that resolved.

Per: WDIV News Operations Manager Jeff Liebman @ noon Just got an update from team en-route to Haiti. Their plane just lifted off from the tarmac with all of our gear on-board. They have about a 1-hour flight time to Nassau, Bahamas where they will have to re-fuel and await clearance by the U.S. military to land in Port-au-Prince. They don?t yet have an exact clearance time from the Bahamas airport, however they anticipate around 2pm ET arriving in Port-au-Prince.

1st Blog Post From Team: 1/19/10

Tim Pamplin: 4:00 p.m.

Logistics: We have been hearing a lot about the logistical headache within Haiti. USAF is now airdropping life-sustaining supplies - something they said was too dangerous for people on the ground. The need outweighed those concerns.

Dr. McGeorge and I are now at DTW waiting for a flight to Orlando. The plan is to get a car, you saw the supplies we have -- better be a big car. We then drive two hours to an airstrip on the Atlantic coast.

We have been advised by our ministerial liaison that we are to be at the airfield at 6 a.m.. There is a small concern -- our 700 pounds of kit. I fear the plane that we are going to fly into Port-au-Prince maybe a Cessna, or something similar. If that's the case, some very difficult decisions shall have to be made.

Dr. Frank McGeorge: 3:42 p.m.

It's almost 4 p.m. We should have been well on our way to Haiti by now. Thanks to fog at City airport we were delayed and diverted to Delta, which was very helpful in getting us out of Detroit, and on the first leg to Haiti.

Our equipment is heavy and bulky, so my biggest concern right now is getting it from the airport we land at to the next plane taking off from another airstrip.

Tim Pamplin and I are becoming fast friends; I will probably come back saying "Cheerio" as he does.

Running through all the checklists in my mind I am as prepared for this as I can be. Several of my physician friends have already warned of the infectious diseases we are likely to encounter.

Reports from the ground suggest there are already patients there waiting in need, we should be there tomorrow. I plan to get as much information out as possible through tweets, blogs, video at Henry Ford's website and obviously WDIV. Wish us luck, we are prepared but nothing can completely prepare you for a disaster like this.

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