Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hillary Clinton says Haiti debacle akin to Tsunami

Updated on : Thursday, January 14, 2010

WASHINGTON: The toll from the Haiti earthquake will be one of the highest losses of life in recent years, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, after announcing she was cancelling a planned trip to the Pacific to concentrate on the crisis.

"This is going to be one of the highest in terms of loss of life in recent years, as far as we can tell," Mrs Clinton said. Haiti's prime minister has said he fears the death toll from the 7.0 quake which struck Tuesday could reach 100,000.

Mrs Clinton did not give a figure, but compared the tragedy to the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 220,000 people five years ago. "The Indian Ocean tsunami was such a terrible tragedy and with such high loss of life. This will be a very high loss of life as well," she said.

Mrs Clinton was due to travel to Australia, New Zealnd and Papua New Guinea. "I have decided to cancel the remainder of (my trip) and return to Washington," she said. "It is biblical, the tragedy that continues to stalk Haiti and the Haitian people."

Mrs Clinton said a good international plan had been devised for Haiti to help rebuild the country after recent devastating hurricanes. "We had donors lined up," she said, adding there was also investment plans as well.

"There was so much hope about Haiti's future, hope that had not been present for years, and along comes mother nature and just flattens it," she said.

She said she, the whole Obama administration and the American people were prepared to do everything necessary to help Haiti, even though there was still not enough information available yet amid the chaos to draw up a "roadmap."

"And we're going to give the people of Haiti the support they need," the chief US diplomat said. "The situation is horrific," she said. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates also postponed a planned trip to Australia in order to help with the response to the recent earthquake in Haiti.

"Secretary Gates has decided not to travel to Australia this weekend and will instead remain in Washington to continue to manage the department's response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a statement.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Word of the Day

Article of the Day

This Day in History

Today's Birthday

In the News