Many of Haiti's most vulnerable children are beginning to arrive at Miami-area hospitals to receive treatment for injuries they sustained during the earthquake. Dubbed Operation Pierre Pan, the mission is also an effort to place thousands of Haitian children who have lost their parents to the earthquake into U.S. homes or to place them with relatives who are currently living in Miami or elsewhere in the United States.
Operation Pierre Pan still needs a stamp of approval from the U.S. government in order to grant the children temporary status in the country. Under the current Temporary Protected Status granted to Haitians, only those Haitians already in the U.S. before the earthquake will be allowed to stay.
It's not only orphans leaving. A massive exodus is under way as desperate Haitians stream out of the wreckage of the capital.
At the city's terminal where buses depart, the area is jammed with people trying to pay the increased fares for rides into the Haitian countryside or to the neighboring country of the Dominican Republic. The only possessions they have left can fit into a suitcase, if they have one.
There are no assurances that things will be better for them there, but they want to be anywhere except the hellish streets of the capital where the deaths of an estimated 200,000 people have filled the streets with the putrid smell of decomposing corpses.
Cargo planes carrying food, water and other essential supplies into the country are leaving loaded with people who have visas that allow them to leave the country.
The floor of a huge U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster from McChord Air Force Base was filled with people at Port-au-Prince's Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport Sunday fleeing the shattered country. The cargo plane carried them to Orlando, Fla.
The U.S. and the Haitian governments are also warning Haitians not to board boats and try to sail to the United States, making it clear that anyone landing illegally in the United States would be sent back to Haiti.
Despite fears that the magnitude 7.0 quake that reduced much of Port-au-Prince to gravel would produce a wave of Haitians attempting to escape by boat, so far those fears have not materialized.
Napolitano announced last week the designation of temporary protected status for Haitian nationals who were physically present in the United States as of Jan. 12, 2010, which would allow eligible Haitian nationals to continue living and working in the United States for the next 18 months, and allow Haitians in the United States to work and send money home to their families.
But those who attempt to travel to the United States after Jan. 12, 2010, will not be eligible and will be repatriated.
Search and rescue efforts continued in the capital today, but Maj. Gen. Daniel Alynn said that his command will decide soon to switch to a recovery mode. Wednesday will be the ninth day since the quake struck Haiti.
"We fully expect that we will transition very soon from the search phase to the recovery phase, and obviously we continue to be in prayer," Allyn said.
Several more people were pulled out the rubble today, one by a South African rescue team, another by a Russian search team, and a third by a combined crew of Mexican and German rescuers.