MTV News Team Leaves For Cuba En Route To Haiti

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 departed Miami on Wednesday on their way to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they will embed with the military for a relief flight to Haiti.

Suchin Pak, 11:20 a.m. (Wednesday, January 20): “We are waiting for our military contact and the private plane terminal is filled with young doctors in scrubs. I talk with Rodney Napier, 24, who works in a Haitian restaurant here in Miami and is going with the surgeons to Haiti tonight. They’re here with a volunteer organization based out of Canton, Ohio called the Granted Wish Foundation. Rodney has been to Haiti before with his father, who has been working in Haiti for the past six years. I asked him what he thought and he said he was nervous, but mostly sad. His last trip to Haiti two years ago was heartbreaking enough. His family left in tears and today he’ll be in the same city. We wished each other well.”

Adam Stewart, 12:05 p.m. (Wednesday, January 20): Our two Air Force pilots arrive at the terminal in Miami to begin fueling and prepping the Lear Jet. It’s very small, but also apparently very fast. We’ll make the approximately 400 mile trip in about one and a half hours, as opposed to the three it normally takes when flying in a prop plane.”

12:25 p.m.: “I just had an informal conversation with our initial military press contact Raymond Sarracino (retired Air Force). He was giving us some of the broader details on the operation going on in Port-au-Prince, specifically diving into one of the primary functions of the two aircraft carriers stationed there (one of which we will be our home on Thursday and Friday night). The two massive ships are each able to produce approx 5,000 gallons of fresh water per hour via reverse osmosis treatment of sea water. The hard part, however, is that there is no direct pipe that runs from the ships to the mainland, so each bottle of fresh water has to be hand-filled and transported via helicopter. It’s quite a daunting task, but one that has produced millions of gallons and provided clean drinking water for thousands of the quake victims already.”

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.