Obama: Haiti will get ''full support'' of U.S.

10:42 AM, Jan 13, 2010   |    comments
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DISASTER IN HAITI

 

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* Photo Gallery: Devastation in Haiti

 

Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti can call 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225, set up by the U.S. Department of State. Due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording.

 

"Our embassy is still in the early stages of contacting American citizens through our Warden Network," the U.S. State Department said in a statement. "Communications are very difficult within Haiti at this time."

 

To help with relief efforts, text "HAITI" to "90999" and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill.

 

The FBI has already received complaints of fraud, so officials suggest sticking with established organizations like the American Red Cross, AmeriCares and Doctors Without Borders. E-mail users should not respond to or click on links in unsolicited messages.

 

You can double-check on donations by visiting web sites like The Foundation Center or Charity Navigator to ensure your money is going where it is needed.

 

Washington -- President Obama extended "the deep condolences and unwavering support" of the American people to Haiti today, and pledged all possible help with rescue and humanitarian assistance.

"The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States," Obama said at the White House following a National Security Council meeting on the devastating earthquake.

The scenes of collapsed buildings and bodies in the rubble are "heart wrenching," Obama said, especially for a poor nation whose people "are no strangers to heartbreak and suffering."

Aides said Obama will be monitoring events throughout the day, and has canceled a speech on energy jobs that had been planned for this afternoon in suburban Maryland.

United States aircraft have made aerial surveillance of the damage, and rescue teams are already on the ground in Haiti, Obama said.

Rajiv Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, will coordinate U.S. assistance efforts, Obama said.

Congressional Republicans also pledged their assistance to the Caribbean nation.

"While the U.S. is already sending federal aid and assets, I am confident that the generosity of the American people will be what it so regularly is in these tragedies, an inspiring expression of responsibility and benevolence," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, lauded the assistance that has already been provided. Boehner said his caucus members "are deeply saddened by the tremendous loss of life that has occurred in Haiti, and our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the victims, particularly those who have lost children."

More Haiti Coverage:

David Jackson, USA TODAY

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