Foreign Assistance Subcommittee Chair Menendez Receives Haiti Update From USAID's Shah

Foreign Assistance Subcommittee Chair Menendez Receives Haiti Update From USAID's Shah

Newark - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on foreign assistance, today received a phone briefing from USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah on the assistance efforts in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. Menendez said that the U.S. is clearly acting robustly, decisively and in a leadership capacity, but the main challenges remain logistical. Among the updates Menendez received were:

-The U.S. Is delivering 600,000 pallets of food and high-energy protein packets

-The U.S. Is delivering 12,000 water containers, and is also delivering hygene kits

-Logistical issues, including the lack of available landing points, are forcing the U.S. and non-governmental organizations to adapt. This includes the reliance on an aircraft carrier as a primary staging point.

"It is clear that the rescue and recovery operation in Haiti remains a signifcant challenge because of forces out of anyone's control, including a simple lack of space and facilities that would help the effort," said Menendez. "Assistance and relief agencies are adapting as well as is humanly possible, and they are constantly thinking outside of the box to help get relief on the ground. Dr. Shah is literally in his first days on the job, and I have tremendous admiration for the organization, decisiveness, and leadership he is showing. If we can continue to send life-saving resources and to adapt to logistical limitations, literally thousands of lives can still be saved."

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