Reporters on the Job

Commuting in Pakistan: To report his story on earthquake relief efforts in Pakistan, correspondent David Montero spent a lot of time riding in helicopters. "The UN has set up fast and reliable helicopter routes that basically function as a high-altitude commuter system for relief workers. Flights leave every morning, and take about 30 minutes for each stop. They ferry workers to some of the remotest areas of the country. It's not unlike other commuter experiences, with weary-looking workers sitting in their helicopters hunched over on the way to the 'office.' "

The flights are precisely on time. Dave was interviewing one of the last remaining princes in Pakistan, a local feudal landowner in the quake zone, just minutes before the 10 a.m. chopper back to Islamabad. "We met on the side of the road to save time," Dave says. The interview went over, and Dave dashed off to the helipad in Bana, traipsing across a muddy field. He arrived in the nick of time. "Growing up in New York, you learn how to dash for the subway, so that helped."

Back to Cancún: Staff writer Danna Harman spent four days holed up in a shelter in Cancún last October during hurricane Wilma. She became close to some of the members of the Marriott hotel staff. So, for her, the return to Cancún for today's story about the state of rebuilding was personal.

About half the hotels are open. But the Marriott isn't expected to open for a few months. "Many of the waiters, taxi drivers, and day laborers are still out of work. They lost their jobs and their homes in the storm. Now is normally the biggest season of the year. Some of the people I met when Wilma hit have gone elsewhere for work," she says.

"It really became clear that if tourists come back, that's what will do the most for the poor people of Cancún."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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