A flight carrying more than 50 Haitian children landed in Pittsburgh this morning. They were immediately taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to be examined.
The 53 orphans all lived at the BRESMA orphanage in Port-au-Prince. Two sisters from Pennsylvania were working at the orphanage when the quake struck. None of the children were hurt in the quake, but the orphanage was completely destroyed. The orphans then spent days following in dire need of food and water.
To get the children out, the sisters took to Facebook and Twitter, asking for help. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell flew with a contingent to Haiti to rescue the children on the urging of the Haitian Ambassador. Rendell says he was advised that his help as governor could cut through the red tape and get the kids out faster. The plane also carried supplies to be delivered to quake victims.
The children will all be placed in group homes until their adoptions can be finalized.
Meanwhile, the Dutch government announced a plane had been chartered and was headed to the island nation to rescue 109 children set for adoption by Dutch families. And the Indiana-based organization Kids Alive International, which cares for orphans around the world, announced their plans to take 50 Haitian orphans to group homes in neighboring Dominican Republic.
The Obama Administration is stepping in too. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security says orphans with ties to the U.S. -- such as those who already have a family member living here -- will be allowed special permission to remain in the States. And the Catholic Church in Miami is currently working on a proposal that would allow thousands of orphaned children to come permanently to America. Under the new plan, Haitian orphans would first be placed in group homes and then paired with foster parents.
In the meantime, U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said the United Nations is establishing a group whose mission on the ground in Haiti will be to protect children -- orphans and non-orphans alike -- against trafficking, kidnapping, and sex abuse.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.