Eric is now safely in Port-au-Prince (PaP) with Haitian colleagues. The GPS equipment is temporarily being held at the airport. Here in the DR we’ve made arrangements to travel to the border by car tomorrow morning. The plan is to meet some of our Haitian colleagues in Jimani (the border town) at noon and then continue-on to PaP. Today the goal is to ensure we have enough provisions for ~5 days.
Update (6:00 pm): Today was dedicated to finding provisions for at least our first 5 days in Haiti. After talking with several people who have just returned from Haiti, we have decided to take with us as much food and water as possible. Santo Domingo has become a major staging area for people who are not connected with the major aid organizations, but are trying to get into Haiti to help. As a result, the DR is providing free water for anyone who can bring to those in need.
Our group also had the privilege of being interviewed by the main television station in the DR. We spent an hour discussing seismic hazards in the region and explaining how our work will help people better understand the dangers associated with living in an earthquake prone area.
This from Eric:
I finally made it to Port au Prince on January 28 at 3:30 am flying jump seat on a 727 flown by Amerijet, with the GPS gear in cargo. This was made possible thanks to Purdue AvTech (Mike Suckow and Brent Bowen) who put us in contact with Aerosevice in Miami, then thanks to superb help from Steven Daun and Mike Visconti at Aeroservice. A big thank you as well to captain Jim, copilot Eric, and the flight engineer on the Amerijet 727 for a superb night flight into PAP. Abel Nazaire (Haiti Civil Protection) came to meet me, later joined by Dieuseul Anglade (Director of the Bureau of Mines and Energy) and Robert Momplaisir (Beta Engineering). After a breakfast at Roberte’s place (her family and neighbors are still camping in their yard) we cleared the GPS equipment out of customs (whole morning, as usual) then secured it at the Bureau of Mines. Their lab at Delmas 31 is still standing, their HQ further up in town totally destroyed. Luckily everyone left at 4:30 and the earthquake occurred at 5, so no one was hurt. I then met Claude Prepetit, my main collaborator in Haiti. We discussed the latest scientific information about the earthquake, in particular the InSAR data (ALOS) and a preliminary slip model that I calculated before leaving. We then discussed the logistics of the field work with the BME colleagues, reserved for cars, and budgeted the expedition. I reached Voila (cell phone company) headquarters in Petionville at the end of the day and meet with Gerard Laborde, Bernard Fils-Aime.
Very warm welcome and interesting discussions. They give me a local (Voila) phone – thank you Voila! We are considering locating some of continuous GPS at their field facilities, which would also give us access to remote communication. The plan today is to pick up the rest of the GPS crew at the Haiti/DR border.