USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah just concluded a meeting at the White House with Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other lead players in Haiti's recovery following its devastating earthquake.
Shah said the meeting was "a chance to take stock of the performance [of US officials tasked to assist in the recovery] and to make sure we were doing everything we possibly could to accelerate our efforts and do even better by reaching more people in Haiti with needed and critical supplies of food, water, shelter, and other critically-needed items like medical kits and access to medical services."
Those efforts are intensifying, Shah stressed. "We're very focused on doing a lot more every day than we did before," he told reporters outside the West Wing of the White House.
In order for the recovery to be successful, it will need to be sustainable; something Shah said workers are striving to achieve.
He was asked why Army field hospitals haven’t been set up, to which Shah said every effort is being made on the medical front. He noted the US has been working with a lot of different donors in sending medical supplies to existing hospitals that are operable. Additionally, the USNS comfort is arriving in the region tomorrow.
Following is the latest detailed update from the White House on US assistance.
But first, click here to watch a woman being plucked from the rubble by a US Search and Rescue from Los Angeles County.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2010
On January 12, a massive earthquake struck the nation of Haiti, causing catastrophic damage inside and around the capital city of Port-au-Prince. President Obama has promised the people of Haiti that "you will not be forsaken, you will not be forgotten."
The United States Government has mobilized resources and people to aid in the relief effort. Below please find some key facts and examples of government actions to date. All numbers below are accurate as of 3 p.m., Tuesday, January 19.
The U.S. continued to coordinate America's relief efforts in Haiti with the United Nations and the international community:
· President Obama spoke with UK Prime Minister Brown and expressed appreciation for the United Kingdom's cooperation in rescue and relief efforts. They discussed the importance of coordinating ongoing assistance to Haiti.
· The President's National Security Advisor, General Jones, convened a Principals Committee meeting to discuss ongoing U.S. relief efforts in Haiti. Reflecting the breadth of the government's activities, attendees included the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Health & Human Services, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, the USAID Administrator, the FEMA Administrator, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and wide-range of National and Homeland Security Staff.
· The UN Security Council members adopted a resolution introduced by the United States increasing the ceiling for security forces and police supporting the UN mission (2,500 more troops and 1,500 more police, for a total of 8,940 troops and 3,711 police).
· The airfield is open for 24/7 operations and has a 120-aircraft per day capacity (up from 100).
· USAF air traffic control and airfield management personnel continue to manage air operations at the airport with approval of the Government of Haiti.
· The U.S. Coast Guard has eight aircraft operating in Haiti:
o One HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
o The crew of an HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento.
o Two HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft crews from Barber's Point, Hawaii.
o One MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard HITRON based in Jacksonville, Fla., and Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, Michigan.
o Two HU-25 Falcon jet crews from Coast Guard Air Station Miami.
o The crew of the HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama.
· The major focus of military efforts is establishing water distribution sites, and delivering fuel, food, and medicine.
· As of today, approximately 12,000 (8,000 afloat and 4,000 ashore) military personnel are a part of the relief effort.
o The 22nd Marine Expedition Unit arrived offshore with 2,000 Marines and began sending Marines ashore today with priority in moving High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV). Offload is expected to be completed within 48 hours.
· As of today, there are 18 U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships and 49 helicopters deployed.
· 5 Coast Guard cutters are in the area, joining a host of Coast Guard assets in the area working day and night to support military air traffic control, conduct damage assessments and rescue people in need of assistance.
o Coast Guard cutter Forward arrived off Port Au Prince 1/13 and was the first U.S. asset on the scene.
o 3 additional cutters - Mohawk, Tahoma, and Valiant - have arrived in the area and are providing support and supplies. Tahoma and Valiant are flight deck and communications coordination capable, and the Tahoma is loaded with water and medical supplies.
o The cutter Oak arrived in Port Au Prince and will deliver water and medical supplies in addition to conducting hydro surveys and service to Aids to Navigation. Oak has 20-ton operating crane built into it.
· The Crimson Clover, a covered, roll-on roll-off barge with two 46-foot extendable ramps and a top-loader for discharge operations, is in Port Au Prince and has begun unloading operations.
· 7 Coast Guard C-130 airplanes are conducting evacuations of U.S. personnel and other support services as directed by the U.S. Embassy; a Coast Guard C-144 is conducting airborne surveillance and imagery of the port; and 5 Coast Guard helicopters are conducting evacuations and other support.
· Approximately 1,800 of patients have been treated to date by HHS medical personnel. The most common medical conditions being treated are traumatic injuries and exacerbations of chronic disease. HHS medical personnel helped deliver a baby outside the embassy Monday, and a HHS pediatric surgeon performed surgery on a child aboard USNS Carl Vinson Sunday.
· Current HHS missions include hospital augmentation, care at the embassy, providing an assessment to assist the Haitian government with fatality management, and providing technical assistance in public health. Medical teams are providing care at a soccer field near a GHESKIO clinic in Port-au-Prince and at the embassy.
· 265 HHS medical personnel are on the ground in Haiti:
o Doctors, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and other medical personnel who are a part of the National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. HHS activated the National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to assist in relief efforts in Haiti.
· The USNS Comfort is currently underway and expected to arrive on 1/20 with 600 medical personal on board.
· The United States is conducting evacuations 24 hours a day. More than 4,500 American citizens have been evacuated (up from 2,800).
· 6 U.S. Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) task forces are in Haiti with more than 500 personnel, part of a total of 43 international USAR teams with over 1,700 rescue workers who have rescued more than 72 people. Our six US&R teams -- from Fairfax County, Los Angeles County, Miami, Miami-Dade, Virginia Beach, and New York fire departments -- have rescued 40 people.
· In support of the UN World Food Program, which has lead responsibility for food distribution, the U.S. continues to transfer, deliver, and distribute enough meals to meet nearly 70 percent of meals required, as estimated by the WFP.
· The first C-17 air delivery was completed Monday, consisting of 14,000 1-liter bottles and 14,000 packages of daily rations. These deliveries will be conducted on a regular basis; the next is scheduled for Thursday.
· 3 water treatment units are in Haiti producing water and 4 additional units arrived today aboard the USS Bataan.
o Military units have delivered more than twelve 3,000 gallon water bladders to distribution sites.
· There are currently 4 established food and water distribution hubs, 9 landing zones, and 1 air delivery zone in place.
o The Department of Defense is surveying 45 additional landing zones to support 100 food distribution sites.
· 120,000 USAID water bladders have been delivered.
· 4,000 lbs. of food and water were delivered via helicopter to city of Jacmel.
· The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oak has distributed to the Haitian government 62,880 bottles (8,302 gallons) of donated Aquafina water.
· The Federal Emergency Management Agency is staging 92 truckloads of commodities in Port Everglades, FL, for shipment to the region. These commodities are comprised of roughly:
o 500,000 meals,
o 19,500 blankets,
o 289,600 liters of water,
o 19,960 hygiene kits,
o 8,400 cots,
o 41,890 tarps,
o 560 rolls of plastic sheeting.
· The State Department is working to help Haitian children in the U.S. adoption process. There are several hundred Americans in the United States in various stages of the process of adopting Haitian children. The Departments of State and Homeland Security are working with the Haitian Government to determine solutions in each case.
· Contribute online through ClintonBushHaitiFund.org .
· 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).
· Find more ways to help through the Center for International Disaster Information (www.cidi.org ).
· The State Department Operations Center has set up the following phone number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747 (due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording). You can also send an email to the State Department. Please be aware that communications within Haiti are very difficult at this time.
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United States Government Haiti Earthquake Disaster Response Update