A post of mine picked up by the Daily Dish:
I was on the ground in Haiti with the Marines in the 2004 peacekeeping operation. After what would have been a fairly mild tropical storm in the U.S., our peacekeeping op turned into a full-on relief and rescue effort near the town of Fond Verette. Because of deforestation the ravines in the mountains became swift-moving rivers of mud, swallowing up whole villages. Then, as now, news was slow to come in. What we thought initially was a few hundred dead turned out to be thousands within three days.
The only positive side at the time was that Port-au-Prince was spared.
We had staff estimates then on what the impact to the city would have been, and it was truly frightening. The abject poverty of the area, and the lack of resources to respond to something like this, cannot be underestimated. From that experience I can guess that we have only begun to realize the full extent of the damage. I suspect that the final toll will be in the hundreds of thousands. If the people in this country have any compassion for "the least of these," they will support quick and massive assistance to that beleaguered country.