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The U.S. government is pushing forward with an "aggressive and coordinated" effort to save lives and provide aid in response to the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti. The earthquake, which measured a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale, and centered on the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, has left untold numbers of people dead, trapped and wounded.
The U.S. response will draw on government, military and civilian resources, said President Barack Obama:
"The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble, and to deliver the humanitarian relief – the food, water and medicine – that Haitians will need in the coming days. In that effort, our government, especially USAID and the Departments of State and Defense are working closely together and with our partners in Haiti, the region, and around the world."
The President also urged American citizens to make private donations to aid organizations wherever possible.
Highly trained urban search and rescue teams and up to 48 tons of emergency equipment have been dispatched to Haiti, along with USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team. Meanwhile, U.S. Coast Guard and Navy ships in the region have been sent to Haiti and others are being deployed. These include aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, which will support helicopters in search and rescue missions, and, leaving from Baltimore, the hospital ship, the USNS Comfort.
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, has been appointed to spear-head the U.S. response:
"We're standing up two or three different types of emergency medical service provision strategies. And as we get real information on the ground about what is the best way to pursue the President's goal of saving lives in this critical timeframe, we'll be able narrow those options and make strategic decisions. But we are in the process of trying to generate as many potential options and put as many assets as we have into where they could potentially be used quickly and efficiently to achieve that goal."
"The Haitian people have the full support of the United States," said President Obama. "We will be resolute in our response."