President Barack Obama made Haiti relief efforts a top priority for the U.S. government on Thursday.
A devastating earthquake hit Haiti Tuesday late in the afternoon, leaving thousands dead, injured, and stranded.
The President spoke this morning at the White House, outlining American plans for rescue and relief in Haiti and pledged an immediate investment of $100 million to support the efforts.
The Obama administration has already sent the first wave of rescue and relief workers to Haiti. The Coast Guard is already providing water and other basic necessities. The U.S. military has secured airports in order to continually receive relief resources around the clock. Obama pledged more search and rescue teams, paramedics, equipments, and supplies.
The top priority for the U.S. government is the safety of American citizens in Haiti, Obama said, as injured Americans are already been airlifted out of Haiti. The State Department has also set up a phone number and email for people in the US who want to inquire about their loved ones in Haiti.
This is the Obama administration's first significant encounter to a major natural disaster. Previously under the Bush administration, the US government was heavily criticized for a slow and inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina. A congressional report called it a failure of leadership.
Obama promised this morning to launch a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives and assured Haiti that much, much more help is on the way.