MTV News is sending a team of reporters to Haiti to chronicle the recovery effort in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake. We will be following their journey to Haiti through e-mails, tweets, BBMs and video in the lead-up to Friday night’s “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” telethon, which will air on MTV and dozens of other networks at 8 p.m. ET.
Reporter Suchin Pak, production manager Adam Stewart and producer Sean Lee arrived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on Wednesday and will depart for a naval vessel off the coast of Haiti on Thursday.
Suchin Pak, 9:15 p.m., Wednesday (January 20), ?Guantanamo Bay: “We get up in a few hours to catch the helicopter into Haiti. Today I was able to see how the base at Guantanamo Bay — which is best known for less optimistic missions — is coordinating a massive effort to get supplies to Haiti. Thousands of cases of water bottles, MREs (meals ready-to-eat), water canisters and helicopter cargo nets bound for air-drop were being loaded onto giant aircraft.
“What is normally a nearly-empty base has become a major hub for humanitarian efforts to Haiti, with aircraft landing and taking off on the runway 24 hours a day. This place is alive with action. Military from all over the country are arriving by the hour and there is a sense of urgency and camaraderie in the air. Our guide, Joshua Nistas, a 26-year-old Naval petty officer who has been stationed here since August, is amazed and proud of how quickly they’ve sprung into action, calling this his most inspiring mission to date.
“But the reality is clear: As body bags are also being loaded on to the planes, the loss of life will be far greater than any of us imagined just a week ago. Josh has been told to prepare for aftershocks, and this base will be a part of the aid efforts for as long as it takes. How all this aid will be distributed is overwhelming, and on Thursday we’ll be able to see this from the air and ground.”
Sean Lee also tweeted updates from the ground in Guantanamo on Wednesday, reporting that, “A bunch of naval officers have been temporarily forced to camp out at Gitmo on their way to Haiti because there’s now so many boots moving in.” He also reported on one of Nistas’ good friends, who “left his very prego girlfriend on a dime to go to Haiti when the quake hit. As president Obama said of America, ‘That’s what we do.’” Lee also reported that the giant pallets of MREs that keep popping up in news reports contain 480 meals per pallet.
Head here to learn more about what you can do to help with earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti, and for more information, see Think MTV. Join George Clooney and Wyclef Jean for MTV’s “Hope for Haiti” telethon, airing commercial-free Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET.