Today I went with Stephan and Simon to the Caribbean Supermarket site. This is the supermarket that collapsed on hundreds of people on Tuesday, and dozens more have been trapped since then. [Ed: see this excellent Toronto Star piece, excepted below, for more on the situation at the market].
Our crew had been shooting there yesterday, where they had the opportunity to follow the rescue units under and inside the rubble. Today they went back, as there is (was?) still hope for people still being alive (see video, above). Today, access was very difficult for the crew as the big networks are on it and the rescue team put every camera at a distance.
With the sun beating as hard as it could on our heads, we sat all day waiting for something to happen, expecting a surprise, some happy news. They need it here.
It is hard to imagine that there might dozens of people still alive under this pile of concrete slabs. It is a long shot but people still hope. There was relatives of the “survivors to be” waiting there, there was hope in their tired eyes.
The U.N soldiers only let selected media and agencies in. There is a big metal door that is kept close. Stephan kept sending me back to our camp to reload and bring back fresh batteries and every time I had to cross the irritated and edgy crowds kept outside of the door. These are people still hoping that their missing folks are part of the survivors. I felt bad having access and not them.
I am now back at Red Cross camp to send this blog and a bit of poor footage I could get from behind the “media line” (a yellow rope ran across). As NBC already left, Stephan and Simon stayed, they will sit there with their camera ready until someone comes out of there alive. Maybe we’ll be able to upload some footage later tonight.
From The Star:
“Is anything I tell you going to be of any help to anyone inside?” the Haitian engineer asks while standing beside tractors inside the locked gate of the Caribbean Supermarket compound.
The four-storey mall – the largest of its kind in Haiti – caved into itself when the tiny island nation got shook to its core, trapping an untold number of people inside its thick concrete.
“We’ve hit really hard with an iron bar so that people can hit back to communicate their position,” said Roy of the rescue efforts by his own group along with teams from Venezuela, Iceland and the U.S. “Only the people who could actually express themselves got saved.”
Roy knows there are more people inside.
So does the crowd standing on the steep and filthy sidewalk opposite the market.