U.S. Committed to Support of Haiti and Its People

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 15, 2010
Man Holds Child in Camp for Earthquake Survivors in Port-au-Prince

More about the crisis and how to help: state.gov/haitiquake

Today, State Department Counselor Cheryl Mills underscored U.S. commitment to aggressive and comprehensive support of Haiti and its people. During a briefing on the situation in Haiti, Ms. Mills said:

"We have a whole-of-government approach. We have had several meetings with the President where all of the various agencies have been represented and have spoken directly to the issues. And he’s made clear what a top priority this is, and to ensure that in the end the Haitian people get the kind of support and the kind of response that’s going to be necessary, given the direness of the situation.

"We’ve been in touch with Prime Minister Bellerive today. Our Ambassador Ken Merten met with him earlier today and is now going to be meeting with him again this afternoon. The Haitian Government and Prime Minister Bellerive had indicated they are beginning to be in a place where they can be more effective and being partners in the planning and the coordination for the disaster response, and they are looking forward to – now that they have been dealing with a lot of, obviously, the challenging situations and personal situations, to being able to provide that leadership. So we’re looking forward to supporting them and ensuring that they have the necessary communication and other equipment and other things that they need to be able to provide the leadership to the Haitian people."

Ms. Mills continued, "We have been getting a lot of offers for in-kind donations, everything from planes to goods. To the extent that those kinds of donations are being offered, it would be great if people would make those through www.cidi.org. That’s the Center for the International Disaster Information. And they can provide both guidance and coordination with respect to those."

USAID Administrator Raj Shah spoke about relief efforts on the ground in Haiti. He said:

"We have – our first wave of responders are now on the ground as – and have been actively engaged in search-and-rescue since last night. That’s – since yesterday afternoon, actually, the Fairfax, Virginia urban search-and-rescue team, with all of its capacities, and 72 professionals, have been active now for more than 24 hours. They’ve identified a number of buildings, done a lot of surveying for us, and are also serving as a point of coordination, helping to work with the Haitian Government and with the United Nations and with other countries that are bringing search-and-rescue gear, equipment, and professionals to this problem.

"We have more than 250 American relief workers actively engaged that have been just a part of the recent deployment. That number is increasing significantly as we speak as planes land at the airport that has now been operationalized as a 24/7 airlift operation.

"We have coordinated engagement with a number of other partners, partners from Canada and the UK, Belgium, and others to make sure that we are deploying our assets in an effective way."

Administrator Shah continued, "[W]e’re making active plans for the transport of food and water and other critically needed commodities – tarps, other kind of equipment that can help enable greater access to shelter for both – for the Haitian people that have suffered in this terrible tragedy.

"All of this is taking place as we speak and is accelerating quite significantly. It really does amount to the first wave of response. There’s a second wave, of course, that the President alluded to earlier today that we have a significant military capacity, a number of resources from the 82nd Airborne, the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier, and the Comfort U.S. hospital ship. Those assets will be deployed and are on their way to being engaged in this effort. So this will be a significant effort that is really about trying to, first, save lives in this first critical 72-hour period, then lay the groundwork for providing access to critically needed commodities – medical services, food, water, water purification – and then lay the groundwork for rebuilding."

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.

U.S. citizens in Haiti may 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 U.S. Embassy via email at ACSPaP@state.gov to request assistance.

The emergency hotline for family members of United Nations staff in Haiti is 212-963-4139.

Anyone wishing to donate or provide assistance in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that struck near Port au Prince on Jan 12, 2010, is asked to contact the Center for International Disaster Information.

For those interested in helping immediately, simply text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

How To Help:Center for International Disaster Information | Clinton Bush Haiti Fund | InterAction | Mercy Corps | Red Cross | Text Donation



Dean H.
January 15, 2010

Dean H. in Bulgaria writes:

I was just wondering why initial aid takes so long to get to people who need it. Everything seems bottle-necked at the airport.

Air drops have been made in Africa and Afghanistan in the past. Why not in Haiti? Where standard pallets are inappropriate, light cereal box size packets designed to tumble harmlessly to the ground can be used. These have 1 day of min food and drink or purification tablets, an emergency blanket, bandages, string, matches, candles etc. These are massed produced and can be air dropped without the wait to set up all the logistics around transport and security that necessitate a typical ground based response and takes 4 or 5 days to be productive. This could ties people over until the infrastructure needed to direct port based supplies can be brought up to speed.

I am happy to support financially, but naturally am interested that the most effective and expedient means are employed. It would be a shame to loose an additional 10,000 people because our initial response was a couple of days too late.

Guichmard J.
Massachusetts, USA
January 15, 2010

Guichmard in Boston writes:

I'm very happy that the Haitians are receiving help. I just hope all that money Barack Obama promised does not go to the Haitian Government.... cause they wont do a thing thats necessary for the country.

New York, USA
January 15, 2010

J,bonjovey in New York writes:

We are experts in Restoration and Construction Experts and would like to lend our services with Haiti’s recovery and rebuilding from the devastating earthquake.
We have extensive experience with disaster assistance and the necessary crisis management skills necessary to assist with the successful recovery of Haiti from this disaster.
i am NOT doing this for profit

I am having a difficult time trying to reach anyone to make myself available participate with the recovery and reconstruction.

I am able to provide contractors, workers, equipment, temporary housing, tents, and food and to also expedite the shipping of these items to the island.

The most important thing to focus on now
• Is the recovery of persons trapped and still alive?
• Housing and Medical assistance to the injured.
• And to provide housing for the lucky ones that were not injured but now have no home.

California, USA
January 15, 2010

Normita in California writes:

Ms. Mills, please extend my sincerest personal gratitude to Secretary Clinton for her commitment to the people of Haiti. She is simply the best!!!

I think the first item on the agenda is to make it clear to the public how all the money is being put to use. Basic necessities are certainly the priority now and in the immediate future. Given the political nature, it is paramount that pledges for rebuilding not be turned over to the Haitian government - it's best that it be handled by some NGO who has the integrity to be accountable. Remember, those monies are coming not only from other countries and corporations but, most importantly, from everyday Americans who are also making sacrifices and deserve to know that their donations are being put to good use.

Thank you and God bless.

Virginia, USA
January 18, 2010

Mike in Virginia writes:

Can State publish some more pictures of the ongoing efforts please?

Ron N.
New York, USA
January 15, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

The MOU btween and Haiti for airport control is great news. US and International Community can demonstrate a model of caring for the beautiful people of Haiti...We need to remake Haiti and so many other devastated places around the world.

Joseph A.
Oregon, USA
January 15, 2010

Joseph A. in Oregon writes:

I am delighted to hear of the unwavering commitment displayed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Special Envoy President Bill Clinton and with acknowledging the humanitarian assistance and commitment that President Obama and the U.S. Department of State have pledged and initiated as various agencies assemble and coordinate the complex relief/logistical effort with reaching the countless Haitians who are in desperate need.

I listened to BBC's World Have Your Say (PBS Radio) this morning, broadcasting from the Haitian district of Miami, Florida and they, again had a couple of Haitian callers on the line from Port-au-Prince via satellite phone, expressing to the Haitians present in the audience (many had family members in Haiti and their status remained unknown), the caller from Port-au-Prince acknowledged that supplies and rescue teams were arriving throughout the night at the Airport. But, there are many challenges and setbacks with getting the emergency teams, medical personnel and basic supplies to the urban areas of Port-au-Prince.

Monumental challenges in orchestrating a massive relief effort and with reaching the people who are either still alive and buried under rubble, or who are in desperate need of medical attention, particularly in Port-au-Prince and in to a medical facility hospital, out of all supplies in "Laguna-Azul". It was reported that they are experiencing a bottle-neck at the Port-au-Prince airport, damaged by the quake and that the main port is basically not usable. Due to the extremely heavy volume of inbound flights at Port-au-Prince airport and limited flight's off the carrier, I think they should consider a alternative staging area in the Dominican Republic.

My suggestion would be to consider utilizing an alternative airport and staging area (while the damage at Port-au-Prince airport is being assessed and repaired, including replacing the air-traffic control tower), the U.S., U.N. and EU should consider planning to utilize perhaps, the Dominican Republic as a alternative air-landing sight to rush in personnel and urgent medical supplies, once in the Dominican Republic, rescue teams and supplies may be sent in, shuttled in large numbers via helicopters or ground transported to Port-au-Prince and Laguna Azul.
I would also suggest, that the U.S. and UN consider coordinating more with the Cuban government for providing the urgently needed medical staffing and supplies. The Cubans, besides having a long term presence in Angola, have a lot of expertise in Haiti and with disaster relief, they are very well equipped and organized, they are able to get to the troubled areas quickly and are familiar with the local geographical area. From what I gathered this morning, there are already a number of Cuban physicians in the Port-au-Prince area, they are well equipped but their status since the earthquake was not known or clarified on any of the media sources.

I am absolutely delighted to hear the appointment of President Bill Clinton as the U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti, I am extremely proud of the concerted effort announced by the Obama Administration and with the unrelenting efforts I've been reading about that the U.S. Department of State has been actively provided, launching truly a very intensive relief effort in such a large scale in such a short period. This is a disaster of monumental proportions, it is truly a race against the clock to reach those who are buried and still alive and with rendering immediate medical aid.

Please let me know if U.S. Special Envoy President Bill Clinton, of Dr. Raj Shah may be interested in having my expertise and/or assistance with this monumental humanitarian and relief effort, I have excellent credentials, over twenty years of military and federal experience and I would be willing to devote my time with assisting in coordinating the relief efforts.

As an American and a Veteran, I am so very proud of the unwavering work by our Department of State, the dedication and efforts I have been seeing over the last seventy-two hours by the USAID,
Counselor Cheryl Mills and Dr. Ray Shah....should not go unnoticed, you guys are the best!


New York, USA
January 15, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Human Security in the Midst of Crisis.....

The MOU for the Airport is essential for security and control for access to recovery.

The world has responded well to this mega-disaster. The chaos can lead to order.

Jean P.
January 17, 2010

Jean P. in Haiti writes:

2000 to 2500 people are starving in the school soccer field with out food and water for 3 days in that location under the hot sun with no shelter, please can someone reach these people.

South Korea
January 19, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

There isn't thought which will keep the regulation of the nation between about role of the various nations and elbowroom? Appears the thing to be overheating too. The speculative place knows is a place where the outstretched hand of slogan is necessary.
The many material and manpower and equipment are committed and the private plan which will end inside quick time thinks knows. Thinks that the recovery plan which is long-term efficiently respects the regulation is necessary.
Even the busy nations worries the loss of acquired right with the problem which is internal and the features which participates…. Is not the opposition. But, will promise in them and true feelings will make and to be taken up isn't.
When the economic rebooting? where is not here respects from must save for emergency, will not be?

Is a problem where the security has become connection,
China, venezuelaemb, Brazil (?)The silver single step thinks that must except. Excepted the support which is monetary and a rescue crew the support of other mean. Thinks that maybe the possibility where becomes the root of evil of warfare or terror is? All warfare and terror oppose. to except the case which is not possibility.

France - The single step thinks that after solving must solve the problem which occurs
before in dialogue.(for Northeast Europe)

The whole world participates in misfortune overcome, wastes a time as ever from the library the fat bat.

I become preparation and directness i meet and i see. if permit to me.

and question. choice?


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