The Red Cross is performing triage, first aid, addressing urgent needs and mobilizing a massive response operation in Haiti. A base camp has been secured near the airport with warehousing facilities for relief supply staging.
A five-member American Red Cross team has arrived in Port-au-Prince, joining the 15-person staff we already had on the ground and 12 Red Cross teams that arrived from other countries yesterday. Among them are engineers, surgeons and family linking specialists. These teams will establish field hospitals, restore water and sanitation systems, distribute supplies and restore family links facilities.
This morning I want to extend to the people of Haiti the deep condolences and unwavering support of the American people following yesterday's terrible earthquake.
We are just now beginning to learn the extent of the devastation, but the reports and images that we've seen of collapsed hospitals, crumbled homes, and men and women carrying their injured neighbors through the streets are truly heart-wrenching. Indeed, for a country and a people who are no strangers to hardship and suffering, this tragedy seems especially cruel and incomprehensible. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the many Haitian Americans around our country who do not yet know the fate of their families and loved ones back home.