- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 14, 2010

Promising U.S. help is on the way and in some cases already on the ground, President Obama sought to reassure the people of Haiti on Thursday morning that they will not be forgotten as the impoverished nation struggles to respond to a devastating earthquake that is feared to have killed tens of thousands.

“I want to speak directly to the people of Haiti,” Mr. Obama said. “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 president pledged an initial $100 million to help U.S. relief efforts to Haiti — the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere — whose capital, Port-au-Prince, was rocked by a massive quake late Monday afternoon that has destroyed buildings, houses and communication systems.

Haiti quake survivors struggle while awaiting aid
U.S. pledges ‘full support’ to Haiti as 100,000 feared dead
Haitian-Americans fear for kin

Mr. Obama said the U.S. military has secured the airport to begin receiving aid shipments, and said a Marine expeditionary unit, an aircraft carrier and a Navy hospital ship are also on their way.

“More food, more water, doctors, nurses, paramedics, more of the people, equipment and capabilities that can make a difference between life and death are on their way,” he said.

Noting the challenges of impassable roads and destroyed communications systems, Mr. Obama said it will take hours and days for all the resources to arrive. But he promised that U.S. officials “will not rest” until all American citizens have been accounted for.

Surrounded by several Cabinet leaders, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Obama said he made it clear that Haiti is a top priority for their agencies.

No official death toll is available, but tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands are feared dead. Known casualties include the Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince and more than a dozen United Nations employees.

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