[net-gold] COUNTRIES: HAITI : DISASTERS: EARTHQUAKES: Obama Pledges $100m Aid and Troop Support



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COUNTRIES: HAITI :
DISASTERS: EARTHQUAKES:
Obama Pledges $100m Aid and Troop Support



Obama Pledges $100m Aid and Troop Support
Brown urges Britons to help alleviate tragedy
China's Sichuan quake team one of first to arrive
Peter Walker
Guardian.co.uk
Thursday 14 January 2010 21.15 GMT <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/14/haiti-barack-obama-aid-china>


Barack Obama led a global wave of emergency pledges to Haiti tonight with a promise that "one of the largest relief efforts in recent history" was under way.

Dozens of countries, from as far afield as Iceland and New Zealand, sent rescue workers, medical equipment and temporary shelter and made cash donations.

The US committed $100m (60m) in aid and the support of thousands of troops. An aircraft carrier, the Carl Vinson, was due to arrive off Haiti's coast tonight with the Pentagon saying it would also send three amphibious ships, including one carrying up to 2,000 marines.

Separately, 3,500 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division were being sent to assist with relief efforts, along with National Guard teams based in Puerto Rico. A search team from the Los Angeles county fire department had already arrived.

The UK announced an initial sum of just over 6m, and a fire service team with sniffer dogs was beginning work around the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, immediately.

The Disasters Emergency Committee, which coordinates major fundraising on behalf of a dozen British-based charities, is to broadcast a television and radio appeal tonight on all major channels. Gordon Brown urged Britons to help as best they could after "a tragedy beyond imagination", while Buckingham Palace said the Queen had made a personal contribution.

Millions of pounds were pouring into public appeals elsewhere, especially in the US, where fundraising efforts have been led by stars such as the musician Wyclef Jean, who was born in Haiti.

There was particular sympathy from countries which have suffered recent devastating earthquakes of their own. A Chinese rescue team which worked in the 2008 Sichuan quake was among the first to arrive from elsewhere. Indonesia, which suffered most severely from the 2004 tsunami caused by a massive undersea tremor, called for a massive international effort.

By far the biggest immediate pledge came from the US. In an emotional White House address aimed at an international audience and his country's big Haitian-American population, President Obama said the scale of the disaster in Haiti required "every element of our national capacity", adding: "This is one of those moments that calls out for American leadership."

He concluded: "To the people of Haiti, we say clearly, and with conviction, you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. The world stands with you. We know that you are a strong and resilient people. You have endured a history of slavery and struggle, of natural disaster and recovery.




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The complete article may be read at the URL above.





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