January 14th, 2010
10:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama to Haitians: 'You will not be forsaken'

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama promised $100 million in immediate American relief aid to Haiti on Thursday - an amount the president said will grow in the year ahead.

"This is one of those moments that calls out for American leadership," he said at the White House. "One of the largest relief efforts in our recent history" is now en route to Haiti.

Several elements of the U.S. military have already been dispatched to the stricken Caribbean country and ensured its airport is operating, he added. The "first waves" of U.S. rescue and relief workers are "on the ground and at work."

Among other things, he said, an airlift of water and medical supplies has been set up.

But roads in Haiti are still impassable, the country's main port is badly damaged, and its communications network is just starting to come back on line, he said.

"To the people of Haiti, we say clearly and with conviction, you will not be forsaken," he declared. "You will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. The world stands with you."

Obama was surrounded by several high-ranking administration officials - including Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - as he made his remarks.

The president said he had "made it clear" to his national security team that Haitian relief efforts must be "a top priority for their departments and agencies right now."

Obama promised that the United States will partner with other countries, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations in coordinating relief efforts. He also said the U.S. government "will not rest" until all Americans in Haiti are accounted for.

"There is "no higher priority than the safety of American citizens," he said. The U.S. government has already airlifted several injured Americans out of Haiti, and additional evacuations will be conducted in the days ahead, he noted.

"For the sake of our citizens who are in Haiti, for the sake of the Haitian people who have suffered so much, and for the sake of our common humanity, we stand in solidarity with our neighbors to the south, knowing that but for the grace of God there we go," he said.

Updated: 1:07 p.m.


Filed under: Haiti • President Obama
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Albert K. L.A., CA

    Every elected official seeking re-election in Florada will be behind Obama on this one because if we do not respond quickly a tsunami of poor, tired, and huddled Haitian masses will soon be heading toward the Florida coast and if that happens it will result in another sort of disaster on election days in Florida in 2010 and 2012, or maybe it is out of the caring hearts of those in power.

    January 14, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Barbara - Atlanta

    Thanks Mr. President.

    January 14, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    At least is good to know that our President understand natural disasters, good step by him. But is just funny, it is. While the disaster occurred and we send money, my dad was criticizing it. He's just tired of the money being wasted, that's all...you'l be surprised how many in my neighborhood actually voted against Obama, I'm shocked! But honestly, it actually has to do with categorization, overgeneralizations and unfortunately, racism. Is sad but true. True story...

    I told one of the moms over here, "Who did you vote in the elections?" She said, "I voted for Hillary."

    Just like that, just like that. She didn't say McCain, let alone mention his name. This is a ver, very collectivist neighborhood, it really is.

    Well good day! Haiti will be fine because we care...(only when it concerns our interest).

    January 14, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. dude palin

    Good for you Mr Obama..I will be giving at my church for those poor people.I got an idea..Maybe contact Rush and he will give up some of his what,300 or 400 million !

    January 14, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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