Haiti's massive earthquake devastated that small nation, ripping apart families and leaving many children alone in its wake. With no infrastructure in place to help the most vulnerable of the quake’s victims, John Walsh traveled to the battered nation to assess the situation and see what aid he could provide.
John flew to Port-au-Prince with his close friend, Florida entrepreneur Hank Asher, his son, Callahan Walsh, and several others hoping to make a difference. They landed Sunday, Jan. 24 and were instantly blown away by how dire things were.
"I was at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing, the only crew allowed at Ground Zero and in the boats in the Ninth Ward in Katrina, and I’ve never seen devastation like this,” John said. “This country has literally collapsed."
"It was tough," Callahan said. "You smell the death as soon as you get off the airplane. Within 15 minutes of landing, I had medical gloves on and was moving bodies."
It was immediately clear to John that the work was cut out for all those assisting on the ground. UNICEF is stretched thin, with just seven people responsible for all of the children – many of whom are wandering the streets and sleeping under makeshift tents alone at night.
After the floods caused by Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was given the job of reuniting children with the families. But in Haiti, John quickly realized, there’s no such organized effort – and one is badly needed.
Near the capital's collapsed presidential palace, John met with University of Miami's Dr. Barth Green, who’s constructed two makeshift triage centers. Each holds about 200 patients and is providing greatly-needed medical aid to patients whose limbs were crushed or skin badly burned.
But the need won't end when the cameras disappear, so John is calling on all Americans to do as much as they can to help Haiti recover from this disaster, and to rebuild. He's hoping to return to the country soon to help with that effort, and to make sure Haitian children are reunited with their families.
John Walsh and the AMW crew filming in front of Haiti's ruined presidential palace.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Hank Asher, Director of Neurological Surgery at University of Miami Dr. Barth A. Green and John Walsh, at the makeshift triage Dr. Green has set up in Haiti.
During his visit to Haiti, John Walsh met with a business owner whose establishment was destroyed by vandals in the earthquake's aftermath, despite the number of heavily-armed forces in Port-au-Prince.
UN troops are doing the best they can to distribute aid to earthquake survivors, and face an enormous challenge.
Displaced Haitians wait their turn to get a portion of rice near downtown Port-au-Prince.