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Text of remarks from President Barack Obama on Haiti earthquake

US President Barack Obama addressed relief efforts in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake on Thursday morning. President Obama told the Haitian people that "one of th largest relief efforts in our recent history is moving towards Haiti."

January 14, 2010

Speaking from the White House on Thursday morning about relief efforts in the wake of the Haiti earthquake, President Barack Obama said "this is one of those moments that calls out for American leadership."

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Full text of President Obama's remarks below.

Good morning, everybody. I've directed my administration to launch a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives and support the recovery in Haiti.

The losses that have been suffered in Haiti are nothing less than devastating, and responding to a disaster of this magnitude will require every element of our national capacity -- our diplomacy and development assistance; the power of our military; and, most importantly, the compassion of our country. And this morning, I'm joined by several members of my national security team who are leading this coordinated response.

I've made it clear to each of these leaders that Haiti must be a top priority for their departments and agencies right now. This is one of those moments that calls out for American leadership. For the sake of our citizens who are in Haiti, for the sake of the Haitian people who have suffered so much, and for the sake of our common humanity, we stand in solidarity with our neighbors to the south, knowing that but for the grace of God, there we go.

This morning, I can report that the first waves of our rescue and relief workers are on the ground and at work. A survey team worked overnight to identify priority areas for assistance, and shared the results of that review throughout the United States government, and with international partners who are also sending support. Search and rescue teams are actively working to save lives. Our military has secured the airport and prepared it to receive the heavy equipment and resources that are on the way, and to receive them around the clock, 24 hours a day. An airlift has been set up to deliver high-priority items like water and medicine. And we're coordinating closely with the Haitian government, the United Nations, and other countries who are also on the ground

We have no higher priority than the safety of American citizens, and we've airlifted injured Americans out of Haiti. We're running additional evacuations, and will continue to do so in the days ahead. I know that many Americans, especially Haitian Americans, are desperate for information about their family and friends. And the State Department has set up a phone number and e-mail address that you can find at -- to inquire about your loved ones. And you should know that we will not rest until we account for our fellow Americans in harm's way

Even as we move as quickly as possible, it will take hours -- and in many cases days -- to get all of our people and resources on the ground. Right now in Haiti roads are impassable, the main port is badly damaged, communications are just beginning to come online, and aftershocks continue

None of this will seem quick enough if you have a loved one who's trapped, if you're sleeping on the streets, if you can't feed your children. But it's important that everybody in Haiti understand, at this very moment one of the largest relief efforts in our recent history is moving towards Haiti. More American search and rescue teams are coming. More food. More water. Doctors, nurses, paramedics. More of the people, equipment and capabilities that can make the difference between life and death


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