CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Jan. 13, 2010: U.S. President Barack Obama was among a slew of politicians who late yesterday began weighing in on the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
As news broke of the 7.0 quake that rocked Haiti and that registered 10 miles south west of Port-Au-Prince and 90 miles east of les Cayes Tuesday, President Obama sent his `thoughts and prayers` to the Haitian people.
`We are closely monitoring the situation and we stand ready to assist the people of Haiti,` he stated even as the statement added that his staff has been asked to make sure that embassy personnel are safe, and to begin preparations in the event that humanitarian assistance is needed.
The Department of State, USAID and the United States Southern Command have begun working to coordinate an assessment and delivery of any such assistance, the White House said last night.
At the State Department, U.S. Secretary, Hillary Clinton, said: `The United States is offering our full assistance to Haiti and to others in the region. We will be providing both civilian and military disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. And our prayers are with the people who have suffered, their families, and their loved ones.`
In New York, home to the largest Haitian population outside Haiti, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city will be collecting donations through the Mayor`s Fund which will direct cash contributions to organizations that are working in the affected areas of Haiti.
`We are with you,` he said.
Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, said his office will work with the Haitian community and the City`s Office of Emergency Management to aid in the tremendous relief effort that will be needed.
Rep. Eliot Engel, (D., N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere subcommittee, said: `This is the worst possible time for a natural disaster in Haiti, a country which is still recovering from the devastating storms of just over a year ago.`
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, (D., N.Y.), said the earthquake `is extremely disheartening` especially since he recently returned from Haiti where I witnessed firsthand the extreme poverty and suffering of the Haitian people.
`I will continue to closely monitor the situation in Haiti and am prepared to help the Haitian people recover from this natural disaster as quickly as possible,` he added.
Haitians in New York live predominantly in Flatbush, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Cambria Heights, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens, Jamaica, Rosedale, Holliswood, and bordering Long Island towns of Elmont and Valley Stream, LI as well as in Spring Valley, Rockland County.
As of last night, no immediate reports on death tolls were available but Dahoud Andre of Radio Lakou NewYork.com said his correspondent in Haiti claims there is tremendous damage from collapsed buildings, telecommunication towers and power lines which have disrupted telephone and electricity service in the country.