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Obama promises all-out United States relief for Haiti


President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, finishes a statement about the earthquake in Haiti, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, at the White House in Washington.

Charles Dharapak / AP Enlarge

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is promising an all out rescue and humanitarian effort to help the people of Haiti overcome a "cruel and incomprehensible" tragedy, the ruinous earthquake that ravaged the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The president said the relief effort is gearing up even as the U.S. government is working to account for Americans who were on the island nation when the disaster struck late Tuesday afternoon.

Obama said he named U.S. Agency for International Development chief Rajiv Shah to coordinate American efforts, and the president called upon all nations to join in helping stricken Haitians. Obama spoke Wednesday in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.

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