Update: BHR's Rich Innocent now in Cabaret, north of Port-au-Prince

The Boston Haitian Reporter's Richardson Innocent has left the Delmas section of Port-au-Prince and is now in Cabaret, a town north of Haiti's capitol where the situation is considerably less dire. The Reporter spoke to Innocent on Sunday afternoon just before 3 p.m. We had last talked with him on Thursday when he was still in Delmas.
Richardson and several companions made the decision to escape from Delmas on Saturday because they said the security situation there was deteriorating quickly.
"Looting had started on Friday night," Innocent told us via cell phone from Cabaret. "We heard gunshots all night."
"We are not from [Delmas] so we agreed that the best thing to do is get out of Port-au-Prince and go to Cabaret, where my family is from. We are safe here, everyone knows me here and the damage is not as severe."
There was some positive news from Delmas, where Richardson had been stuck since the quake hit on Tuesday afternoon. They saw the first signs of international response in the form of United States Marines, who were securing a nearby hospital. There was evidence of United Nations presence too.
However, the grim and dangerous task of trying to rescue trapped neighbors was still the exclusive job of Haitian neighbors.
"Everyone was still trying to get at people under the rubble with their hands," Richardson says. "We saw a Blackhawk helicopter and some ambulances moving around, but we think the rescue crews are still in the downtown areas."
Innocent and his cousin left Delmas in a private vehicle with several other people on Saturday afternoon. They had just enough gasoline in the car's tank to get to a main road out of Port-au-Prince where they had to pay extortionate prices — $15 per gallon— to fill up for the next leg of the journey.
"The traffic has actually lessened because there’s no gas. Cars are on side of road. People are hording the gas and selling it for huge amounts. The only movement is trucks and buses, we think they are taking people to St. Marc (a city north of Port-au-Prince)."
There was a horrible smell along the road north as Richardson's car passed open areas where mass graves are being filled with bodies from across the region. Innocent and his cousin helped transport companions from Delmas to safer communities to the north before reaching Cabaret, his hometown.
Cabaret was also hit hard by the earthquake, Richardson says, but the number of fatalities is evidently considerably smaller than in Delmas and other sections of the capitol city. Cabaret is about one-and-a-half hours drive from Port-au-Prince he said.
"I have not heard of any people getting crushed here," he said. "The schools fell, but school was out already when it hit, so there's not the mass casualties we saw in Delmas, where they have the universities."
"We can eat and there's not as much death," he said. "I'm going to try and stay here for a few days and let things develop. We are sleeping in the streets here too, but they block the road and there's not much traffic."
Most people across the region are sleeping and living outdoors because there is still great fear of further collapses due to aftershocks. All stores and schools in Cabaret are closed, but some street vendors are selling food and water.
Rich Innocent will be in touch with the Reporter for further updates throughout the coming hours and days.