President Barack Obama on Tuesday said the challenge in Haiti today is to prevent a second disaster as more than a million people in the earthquake-hit nation remain homeless ahead of the rainy season.
Obama met with Haiti President Rene Preval on Tuesday and received an update on the status of relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts. At least 220,000 people have died and 1.3 million have been left homeless in Haiti as a result of the quake.
As President Préval and I discussed, the situation on the ground remains dire, and people should be under no illusions that the crisis is over, Obama said today at a conference. Many Haitians are still in need, desperate need in some cases, of shelter and food and medicine. And with the spring rains approaching, those needs will only grow. The challenge now is to prevent a second disaster.
On March 31, the U.S. and United Nations are organizing an international donors' conference in New York to mobilize support for Haiti's needs and provide for a long term recovery.
More than 20,000 U.S. civilian and military personnel have taken part in recovery efforts since January 12.
In an update released today, the U.S. said Air Force efforts in Haiti after last month's earthquake boosted the capacity of the capital's airport by ten times. In the 34 days since the quake, the Air Force had facilitated 3,842 flights at Port Au Prince airport, delivering 18,040 tons of commodities.