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The massive earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 has caused catastrophic damage. The Government of Haiti is estimating that 200,000 people have been killed. In the initial days, survivors were left with little shelter, food, or water. President Barack Obama promised the people of Haiti that "you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten:"
"We're moving forward with one of the largest relief efforts in our history -- to save lives and to deliver relief that averts an even larger catastrophe."
The need is great, but real progress has been made. Underneath mountains of rubble, international search and rescue teams have rescued 122 individuals, with U.S. teams rescuing 42 of this number. Thousands of American personnel -- civilian and military -- are on the scene working to distribute clean drinking water, food and medicine, and thousands of tons of emergency food supplies are arriving every day.
The airfield is open for 24/7 operations and flight capacity has improved from 60 to 180 flights per day. The U.S. Air Force traffic control and airfield management personnel are managing air operations with the approval of the Haitian government and in coordination with the UN. The airport has received more than 600 tons of supplies. U.S. military aircraft have airlifted 130,000 humanitarian daily rations and more than 70,000 bottles of water to Port-au-Prince, the capital. There are 30 U.S. military helicopters providing relief to the people of Haiti.
The demand for clean water in Haiti remains high. Three water purification units are operational and can supply 180,000 liters per day. More units are arriving, each capable of providing 1,000 liters of safe drinking water, serving 10,000 people per day.
But assisting the people of Haiti isn't the government's job alone. Americans have always been and continue to be a generous people. In an effort to tap into that generosity, President Obama has enlisted the help of former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to lead a major fundraising campaign for Haitian relief efforts. Those who wish to contribute can visit the website: www.clintonbushhaitifund.org.
"By coming together in this way," said President Obama, Presidents Bush and Clinton "send an unmistakable message to the people of Haiti and to the people of the world: In these difficult hours, America stands united. We stand united with the people of Haiti, who have shown such incredible resilience, and we will help them to recover and to rebuild."