Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Obama: US will stand with Haiti as earthquake recovery continues

WASHINGTON — Four years after a powerful earthquake devastated Haiti, President Barack Obama on Thursday praised the rebound taking place in the impoverished Caribbean nation but said there is more work to be done. He pledged that America will remain a partner in that process.

At the start of his first official meeting with Haitian President Michel Martelly, Obama also said he was encouraged by progress Haiti has taken to remove "political roadblocks" to holding legislative and local elections that are two years overdue.

Obama said the "good news" is that because of U.S. and other aid that flowed to Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake, along with Martelly's leadership and the will of the Haitian people, "we've begun to see progress." The 7.0 earthquake, centered just west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, killed an estimated 300,000 people and left 1.5 million others without permanent homes.

"The economy is growing. Security is improving. Infrastructure is getting rebuilt. Rubble has been removed," Obama said from the Oval Office as he and Martelly sat side by side in separate chairs. "Health facilities are beginning to open up. Schools are starting to get back into place, and businesses are starting to return to Haiti."

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