President Obama has been receiving updates on the urgent situation in Haiti late into last night and throughout the day, and top members of his team have been convening to formulate the government response.
Secretary Clinton said: "[W]e are working as actively as we possibly can under extremely challenging circumstances. But the United States is fully committed. Our military is fully committed. Our search-and-rescue teams are on the way or are about to be on the way. And we’re going to do everything we can to try to save as many lives and to help bring about an orderly environment in which aid and reconstruction can take place."
Read the Secretary's full remarks here.
Today, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, State Department Counselor Cheryl Mills, USAID Administrator Raj Shah and U.S. SOUTHCOM Commander General Douglas Fraser held a special briefing on the situation in Haiti. Ms. Mills said:
"Let me just first start out by saying, and echoing the sentiments of the President, that our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people and the vast international community that is present in Haiti as we are going through what is going to undoubtedly be a very challenging and difficult time. And we are looking forward to being able to provide all the support that we can bring to bear to try and ameliorate the impact of this terrible situation.
"As you all know, shortly before 5 o’clock yesterday, an earthquake struck outside of Port-au-Prince and outside of the island of Haiti, and then there were multiple aftershocks that had an impact on the island as well. According to our initial overflights that have gone on this morning, it appears that most of the damage has been within Port-au-Prince, and that the outlying areas have sustained less damage or very limited damage.
"The situation on the ground is very fluid. We have very limited telecommunications, and certainly within the Haitian community there’s limited telecommunications. We have been fortunate, our U.S. ambassador has been able to reach President Preval, who is safe and who is grateful to the outpouring of assistance that he has been receiving from the international community."
The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince has activated its early warning system to connect with approximately 45,000 U.S. citizens who are in Haiti. Americans in Haiti can call the Embassy’s Consular Task Force at 509-2229-8942, 509-2229-8089, 509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672. Americans are urged to contact the Embassy via email at ACSPaP@state.gov to request assistance.
People in the U.S. or Canada with information or inquiries about U.S. citizens in Haiti may reach the Haiti Task Force at 888-407-4747. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, call 202-501-4444. You may email inquiries to: Haiti-Earthquake@state.gov.