EARTHQUAKE -- January 14, 2010 at 4:55 PM ET
Salvation Army Disaster Chief: Bodies 'Piled Up Like Cordwood'
We spoke this afternoon with Bob Poff, the Salvation Army's divisional director of disaster services in Haiti, via Skype. Poff's apartment was destroyed and he and his wife lost most of their belongings. Quake victims have been pouring into their compound, looking for help, but they don't have much to offer:
It's gotten a little frustrating. We're out of water. We're almost out of food. We don't have any medical supplies. The most critical issues have been water, medical attention, food and shelter in that order. We're turning people away who have been seeking medical help.
People are sleeping on the ground at night. During the day, they've been sitting out in the sun. We're desperate for some shelter arrangements. We know there's help on the way and we're grateful for that. But we're also anxious that for some people it might be too late for that help.
Describe the scene where you are.
Starting this morning, we started seeing bodies being piled up. They've been brought outside our compound - 50 or 100 bodies. They've since been moved but it's a pretty sobering moment to look through our broken wall and see one body after another piled up like cordwood.
What can people do to help? Send cash or supplies?
Cash is king but we don't think there's that much product available in country. Ships are lining up to come into port with relief supplies. Everyone should just make sure to contact their local Salvation Army or favorite organization to find out what they are best able to handle in terms of cash or supplies.
We're not terribly worried about warehousing supplies. They're going to go out as soon as they come in. In the long term, we have millions of people who are going to need household, furniture, clothing, school supplies. This is going to be a very long-term process. we have to start over in so many ways.
Poff said Salvation Army workers were excited that their first planeload of supplies is scheduled to arrive this afternoon. We'll have more on the massive need for humanitarian aid in Haiti on Thursday's NewsHour.