This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
Water. Medicine. Hope. All that and more is urgently needed after a powerful earthquake
wrecked much of Haiti's capital on Tuesday.
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lay in the streets of Port-au-Prince. Some estimates are as high as one hundred
thousand dead. Each passing hour cuts the chances of survival for the trapped
countries moved quickly to send rescuers and supplies. But the airport is damaged
and crowded with planes. The main seaport was also damaged. Blocked roads and
limited communications have only further slowed aid efforts. Anger is a growing
Obama announced an immediate one hundred million dollars for relief efforts.
Thousands of American troops should be in the area by Monday. An aircraft
carrier and more helicopters arrived Friday, and a hospital ship is expected by
the end of next week.
have donated millions of dollars through text messages to the Red Cross and
other aid groups. But the public was warned to be careful of false appeals.
Haiti is the poorest nation in the
western half of the world. The former French colony in the Caribbean has a history
of political violence and natural disasters. Yet before this week, there were
signs of promise of better times ahead for its nine million people.
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Friday, the United Nations made an emergency appeal for more than half a
billion dollars. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said many of the three million
people in the Port-au-Prince area lack food, water, shelter and electricity.
BAN KI-MOON: "A major humanitarian effort is now
well underway. Although it is inevitably slower and more difficult than any of
us would wish, we are mobilizing all resources as fast as we possibly
Ki-moon also said he will visit Haiti "very soon."
Obama spoke Friday by phone with Haiti's President Rene Preval, who himself
lost his home in the quake.
BARACK OBAMA: "I pledged America's continued
commitment to the government and the people of Haiti in the immediate effort to
save lives and deliver relief and in the long-term effort to rebuild. President Préval and I agreed that it is
absolutely essential that these efforts are well coordinated among the United
States and the government of Haiti; with the United Nations, which continues to
play a central role; and with the many international partners and aid
organizations that are now on the ground."
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new head of the United States Agency for International Development is supervising
the American disaster relief. Rajiv Shah became administrator of USAID earlier
He is a trained
medical doctor and an agricultural expert. He held top jobs at the Department
of Agriculture and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Doctor Shah is the
thirty-six year old son of Indian immigrants.
USAID had been without a
leader for almost a year, raising concerns about its future.
The agency has changed over the years -- it now does its work largely through
Obama administration wants to raise development to the same level of importance
as defense and diplomacy. Rajiv Shah says he plans to hire more experts. USAID now
provides twenty billion dollars a year to development projects around the
world. The plan is to increase that to fifty billion a year by two thousand
And that's IN THE
NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.