A Message from PAF Regarding Haiti Relief Efforts
As our Haitian neighbors confront a devastating situation recovering from the earthquake, each of us may want to help in our own special way. The following is an announcement we received today from the White House Press Office announcing specific opportunities that each of uscan access to provide help. We invite our visitors to use the information that has been provided as you determine how best to help our neighbors to the south.
Resources posted by The White House:
In these first critical hours, we are focusing on saving lives and supporting recovery, but we know that several of you are pooling resources and supplies in your own communities.
For the most up to date information throughout the coming days please continue to monitor http://www.whitehouse.gov/HaitiEarthquake
A top priority is accounting for the thousands of American citizens who are currently in Haiti. Families of Americans living in Haiti who are trying to find the status of their loved ones are encouraged to contact the State Department at 1-888-407-4747. This line is experiencing a high volume of calls at this time, so we ask for your continued patience.
Cash donations are the most efficient and effective way to help the relief effort in Haiti right now. They allow humanitarian organizations to purchase (often within the affected region itself) the exact type and quantity of items needed by those affected by the crisis. Read about the advantages of monetary donations here. You can immediately donate to the Red Cross to assist the relief effort. Contribute online to the Red Cross, or donate $10 to be charged to your cell phone bill by texting "HAITI" to "90999." You can also find more ways to help through the Center for International Disaster Information, or through USAID’s interactive website, which has a list of NGOs and instructions on how to help: http://www.usaid.gov.
Right now, the airport is being used to facilitate search and rescue efforts. This is a complex and difficult environment, and all of our efforts have to be focused on prioritizing and moving the right resources into Haiti that can save lives in the next 48 hours. That is why we are encouraging private citizens to focus their efforts on supporting established aid organizations that are deploying resources to Haiti, and to hold off on travelling there themselves.
We ask that you keep track of offers of in kind services and supplies being offered in your communities in the coming days so that as needs on the ground are assessed we can quickly turn around the resources and get them to Haiti. Those looking to donate time, supplies or funds should contact the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) at 703-276-1914, or visit them online at http://www.cidi.org/incident/haiti-10a/
We will have continued outreach calls on this issue as we continue to learn more about the situation on the ground and resources needed in the coming days.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON RESCUE EFFORTS IN HAITI
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 13, 2010
Diplomatic Reception Room
10:20 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. This morning I want to extend to the people of Haiti the deep condolences and unwavering support of the American people following yesterday's terrible earthquake.
We are just now beginning to learn the extent of the devastation, but the reports and images that we've seen of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes, and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching. Indeed, for a country and a people who are no strangers to hardship and suffering, this tragedy seems especially cruel and incomprehensible. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the many Haitian Americans around our country who do not yet know the fate of their families and loved ones back home.
I have directed my administration to respond with a swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives. The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble, and to deliver the humanitarian relief -- the food, water and medicine -- that Haitians will need in the coming days. In that effort, our government, especially USAID and the Departments of State and Defense are working closely together and with our partners in Haiti, the region, and around the world.
Right now our efforts are focused on several urgent priorities. First, we're working quickly to account for U.S. embassy personnel and their families in Port-au-Prince, as well as the many American citizens who live and work in Haiti. Americans trying to locate family members in Haiti are encouraged to contact the State Department at 888/407-4747. I'm going to repeat that – 888/407-4747.
Second, we've mobilized resources to help rescue efforts. Military overflights have assessed the damage, and by early afternoon our civilian disaster assistance team are beginning to arrive. Search and rescue teams from Florida, Virginia and California will arrive throughout today and tomorrow, and more rescue and medical equipment and emergency personnel are being prepared.
Because in disasters such as this the first hours and days are absolutely critical to saving lives and avoiding even greater tragedy, I have directed my teams to be as forward-leaning as possible in getting the help on the ground and coordinating with our international partners as well.
Third, given the many different resources that are needed, we are taking steps to ensure that our government acts in a unified way. My national security team has led an interagency effort overnight. And to ensure that we coordinate our effort, going forward, I've designated the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Dr. Rajiv Shah, to be our government's unified disaster coordinator.
Now, this rescue and recovery effort will be complex and challenging. As we move resources into Haiti, we will be working closely with partners on the ground, including the many NGOs from Haiti and across Haiti, the United Nations Stabilization Mission, which appears to have suffered its own losses, and our partners in the region and around the world. This must truly be an international effort.
Finally, let me just say that this is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share. With just a few hundred miles of ocean between us and a long history that binds us together, Haitians are neighbors of the Americas and here at home. So we have to be there for them in their hour of need.
Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times here at home, I would encourage those Americans who want to support the urgent humanitarian efforts to go to whitehouse.gov where you can learn how to contribute. We must be prepared for difficult hours and days ahead as we learn about the scope of the tragedy. We will keep the victims and their families in our prayers. We will be resolute in our response, and I pledge to the people of Haiti that you will have a friend and partner in the United States of America today and going forward.
May God bless the people of Haiti and those working on their behalf.
Thank you very much.
END 10:24 A.M. EST