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Obama Pledges Full US Aid to Haiti After Earthquake

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U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States will do all it can to help the victims of the Haitian earthquake.  American rescue teams have been dispatched to the disaster area.

The president adds that the United States has launched a swift, aggressive, and coordinated effort to help the earthquake victims.

"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," he said.

He says search and rescue teams have been dispatched and more help is on the way.

"... because in disasters such as this, the first hours and days are absolutely critical in saving lives and avoiding greater tragedy, I have directed my team to be as forward leaning as possible in getting the help on the ground and coordinating with our international partners as well," he added.

In a brief statement from the White House, Mr. Obama stressed this will be a complex and challenging operation.  He made clear there is no time to waste.

"The reports and images that we have seen of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes, and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching," he noted.

President Obama urged the American people to do all they can to support the aid effort.  He stressed the bond between the United States and Haiti is strong.

"We will keep the victims and the families in our prayers," he said.  "We will be resolute in our response and I pledge to the people of Haiti that you will have a friend and partner in the United States of America today and going forward."

The earthquake struck late Tuesday reducing much of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince to rubble.  The International Red Cross in Geneva says up to three million people are affected and thousands are feared dead.

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