Multilateral Rescue and Relief Efforts Strong in Earthquake’s Aftermath

January 22, 2010
Haitian Firefighters and French Relief Workers Rescue Earthquake Survivor

More about the crisis and how you can the Author: Arturo A. Valenzuela serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Throughout this week, I have had the opportunities to speak – on television and in person – about the rescue and relief underway in Haiti. These have filled a critically important function of getting the word out to audiences here and abroad regarding the scope of the multi-lateral relief effort currently underway in Haiti. The United States is committed to playing a leading role in these efforts alongside our international partners and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the ground. The ongoing contributions and support from countries across the Americas and the world, including the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Bolivia, France, Israel, Russia and many other countries are vital to Haiti’s recovery. The challenges are great, but the United States is working with the Haitian government and partners from around the world to collectively bring relief to the Haitian people at this time of crisis.

Rescue and relief in Haiti is a broad international effort. The Haitian Government is driving relief and recovery efforts as much as possible despite operating under the most difficult circumstances imaginable – circumstances of physical and institutional collapse rarely seen. The United States is consulting and coordinating closely with Haitian authorities, the United Nations, and the international community, as a partner in this process. We are operating 24/7 alongside our international partners and NGOs on the ground.

The response of the United States and the international community has been swift, massive, and is growing by the hour. Food, water, medical supplies, and other forms of essential aid are flowing into the country and relief workers are working around the clock to distribute it to the people who need it most. United States and international urban search and rescue teams are also working around the clock in a massive effort, rescuing 122 people to date. U.S. teams have rescued 43 and remain active on the ground, including at the Hotel Montana.

As Vice President Biden said, “We are not just searching for Americans…We are searching for human beings. We are searching for anyone we can hear a cry from.” Over the last 24 hours, the international community has expanded regular air deliveries of water and food packets. Haiti continues to face significant challenges – devastated infrastructure, severely limited transportation options, and security concerns – but together we are overcoming obstacles and doing more each day.

As we all mourn the loss of life in Haiti, I should recognize that this is profoundly personal for many of us, who have lost friends and colleagues. It is very personal for many in our Congress, who worked closely with Haitian legislators who lost their lives.

Alongside these international efforts, you can also make a difference. People around the world have already contributed more than $26 million through mobile donations. There are many ways that you can help right now:

* Contribute online at or text “QUAKE” to 20222 to charge a $10 donation to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (the donation will be added to your cell phone bill).

* Text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, and charged to your cell phone bill.

* For those who have a significant in-kind contribution to make – such as a plane, a cargo ship, a team of doctors, portable generators, or large-scale water purification equipment – please log onto the website of the Center for International Disaster Information at

Keep tuning into DipNote and@WHAAsstSecty for the latest information on Haiti.



Ruth W.
Tennessee, USA
January 23, 2010

Ruth W. in Tennessee writes:

The people of Haiti need to be evacuated to the countries that will receive them immediately. They are homeless, injured and hungry. Infection is setting in. Can you imagine what it would be like to not have a roof over your head? We must do this for Haiti.

Jean C.
New York, USA
January 25, 2010

Jean K. C. in New York writes:

Dear Assistant Secretary Valenzuela,

As an international civil society group, The Charcoal Project represents a global community of experts in sustainable bioenergy for developing country.

Haiti's short, medium, and long term energy recovery will have to include the sustainable use of wood and charcoal fuels along with the large-scale adoption of energy efficient cookstoves, kilns, and the production of alternative biomass briquettes.

Haiti has the opportunity to become a model in this field and the international bioenergy community is ready to lend a hand. In fact, we are already at work connecting energy efficient cookstoves with distribution channels in Haiti.

We hope to continue working to support Haiti's reconstruction effort into the future.

J. Kim C.

New Mexico, USA
January 26, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Dear Assistant Secretary of State Valenzuela,

I wish to call your attention (as well as everyone in the US gov that it may concern) to the following Dipnote entry;

In the reading please understand that in the process of taking an idea as far as it would go at the time including calls to senators (who apparently had other priorities at that moment), I did so knowing full well that every couple years the world is faced with natural disaster of staggering proportion.

I first posted the idea on July 4, 2009 for turning the KittyHawk aircraft carrier into a hospital ship, rather than become a museum. Fully capable and dedicated to disaster relief opperations, and sailed under UN flag with international support and funding, by former crewmen not presently active in the US military.

In fact, the Carl Vincent is now on station doing exactly what I had envisioned by way of command and control, heavy lift opps etc., however...

As my brother put it to me, " I was just thinking about your idea and what happened in Haiti...boy could we have used that right about now..."

My question now is "What about next time?"

So it is with some regret that my small voice couldn't carry far enough and lacked a certain diplomatic salesmanship, for I know for certain that if the dockworkers of America could turn a badly damaged Yorktown around in two weeks from Midway and put her back into the battle of the Coral Sea in WW2, then even if we'd had to float her out of dry-dock to get to Haiti, the KittyHawk would have been there by now saving lives, save for a lack of imagination and creative financing.

Sir, It is my hope you'll use your good office to look into the matter, put brains to work on its feasability, and breath some life into the idea.

Please tell Madam Secretary I need all the help I can get, including the President's and Secretary Gates'.



Joe F.
South Dakota, USA
January 29, 2010

Joe F. in South Dakota writes:

Re: Opportunity to do relief work in Haiti with ACET,Inc. Ap filed by my son Ricardo J F.; he is eager for this "life-changing" chance. If any way intervention can be made on his behalf, would be most gratified. will be pleased with direct response re any suggestions how to enhance his ap. Thanks

sneha d.
May 20, 2010

Sneha S. in India writes:

Once this earthquakes will take over the earth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Latest Stories