Charlotte’s Pam Carter left Monday for a Methodist meeting in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She survived the earthquake on Tuesday and has been in touch with her husband, the Rev. Ken Carter of Providence United Methodist Church.
Late Wednesday, for the second day in a row, she sent the Observer’s Tim Funk an eyewitness e-mail, this one describing the aftermath of the earthquake. Here are excerpts from her e-mail, edited for brevity and clarity:
Went up to Hotel Montana to look for some folks who had gone there for a meeting from the Methodist guest house. Along the way I saw building after building flattened.
A major market place … was like half a building. They pulled someone out who survived this afternoon. I saw corpses lining the streets with sheets over them.
Gas is becoming scarce, we are told. No electricity to pump the supplies. There are about a dozen of us who are headed to the airport tomorrow morning, hopefully to evacuate.
The hotel Montana is frequented by Americans and foreigners because it sits atop a hill that overlooks the entire city. Very scenic. It is demolished. I met a college group from Florida there who came to do relief work with Food for the Poor. Some of their team leaders were trapped in the building. They were pretty stunned, sleeping under the stars and eating biscuits from leftovers of the hotel.
We saw at least two folks who were obviously dead. A man who appeared to be frantically searching for his wife amid the unstable rubble. The U.N. guys had a pickaxe – one. And a flashlight. But they were trying to help. There really was nothing anyone could do. Several of our group walked around the building looking for our friends but they weren’t there.
We continue to feel aftershocks. Last night, after a strong one, I opted to sleep in a van in the driveway of the house. Couldn’t relax…
I saw a dead baby on the side of the road on the way home this morning. It looked unreal, almost plastic. Saw other corpses in rubble. Haitians generally are very respectful of the dead and cover them. But her parents were probably dead inside the building from which she was pulled.
The house continues to shake. Very unnerving but the building is holding up well.
My husband got a flight purchased for me on Delta, but I fear it will be canceled. We received conflicting e-mail messages. It is very confusing but we are told the U.S. Embassy has very little in the way of communication, and may have damage.
All in all, it is morbid and severe. But then you sit around a circle with 10 or 12 folks that look perfectly healthy without a scratch and it is surreal.
I have been offered a ride with the Methodist pastor of Cap Haitien, which is an area I know well. I may go there instead of the airport. But both carry risks. We will see.