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Obama Announces $ 100 million Aid To Haiti Quake Victims

PTI January 14, 2010 22:51 IST

Announcing a $ 100 million support to Haiti relief effort, US President Barack Obama on Thursday  that said one of the largest relief works in recent history is moving towards the Caribbean nation.

"It's important that everybody in Haiti understand, at this very moment, one of the largest relief efforts in our recent history is moving towards Haiti," Obama said in a White House statement.

"Today, I'm also announcing an immediate investment of $ 100 million to support our relief efforts. This will mean more of the lifesaving equipment, food, water and medicine that will be needed.

This investment will grow over the coming year, as we embark on the long-term recovery from this unimaginable tragedy," he said. 

 The United States has launched a massive aid operation, including specialists, Coast Guard cutters, helicopters, transport planes and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, along with 2,000 Marines deployed.  Obama, however, acknowledged that given the calamity it is difficult to move things at a desired pace.

"Even as we move as quickly as possible, it will take hours and in many cases days, to get all of our people and resources on the ground. Right now in Haiti, roads are impassable. The main port is damaged. Communications are just beginning to come online and aftershocks continue," he said. 

"None of this will seem quick enough if you have a loved on who's trapped, if you're sleeping on the streets, if you can't feed your children," Obama said. 

Speaking directly to the people of Haiti, Obama said: "To the people of Haiti, we say clearly and with conviction, you will not be forsaken. You will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you.  The world stands with you."  

Noting that the losses that have been suffered in Haiti are nothing less than devastating, he said: "Responding to a disaster of this magnitude will require every element of our national capacity -- diplomacy and development assistance, the power of our military, and most importantly, the compassion of our country."  

Reporting that the first waves of US rescue and relief workers are on the ground and at work, Obama said: "The survey team worked overnight to identify priority areas for assistance and shared the results of that review throughout the United States government and with international partners who are also sending support." 

"Search-and-rescue teams are actively working to save lives. Our military has secured the airport and prepared it to receive the heavy equipment and resources that are on the way and to receive them around the clock 24 hours a day.  An airlift has been set up to deliver high- priority items like water and medicine. And we're coordinating closely with the Haitian government, the United Nations and other countries who are also on the ground,  Obama said. PTI