I think my thinking mirrors Martin's in general when it comes to disasters, but I was watching CNN tonight, before I turn in, and I saw some scenes of a vast tent city and seeing that scene made me nervous. I think we've been a bit unintentionally misled by the TV coverage because most shots are limited to these narrow streets and you only see a limited number of people at one time, or else you see these aerial shots of collapsed buildings and few people. But in reality, this is a vast, teeming, densely populated city, and scenes like that park better illustrate how many people are crammed together in this city.

The earthquake was Tuesday and here it is, almost going to be Friday as I write this. I imagine that many or even most people have had little to nothing to eat or even drink since the earthquake, or else the lucky ones have the money to pay an arm and leg on the black market but that money won't last. Just thinking about that tent city--if a water truck pulls up now into the middle of that sea of humanity, with only enough water for a fraction of the people there, how is that scene going to play out? I really hope that people can remain calm and orderly, but now that the shock and confusion of the earthquake must be wearing off by now, I fear that desperation could turn things ugly.

As in many other developing countries, there were food riots last year in Port-Au-Prince when world food prices were going through the roof. UN peacekeepers and Haitian National Police had to battle protesters for a week, protecting the Presidential Palace. Riots, looting, and arsons were common. Things were so bad, the Senators voted to oust the prime minister. So Haiti is certainly no stranger to mass violence.

I really think it's a race between showing the people that food, water, medical care, taking care of the dead is here or at least imminent, and the boiling over of frustrated and desperate Haitians. The planes are stacking up at the airport, but as far as I know, nothing is really going out to the people yet, and that must frustrate a lot of Haitians. (But really, how many people can you feed with the contents of one plane? Compared to millions of city residents--not many. They need to get that port up and running again.)