Washington, Jan. 15 : US President Barack Obama ordered thousands of U. S. troops Thursday to spearhead earthquake rescue operations and stabilize Haiti, and pledged 100 million dollars in quick aid, taking pains not to appear as if the United States is taking over the devastated country.
The first U. S. Army infantry troops from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N. C., arrived in Haiti late Thursday. About 100 of them were to set up tents and make other preparations for the arrival of about 800 personnel from the same division on Friday and a full brigade of 3,500 by Sunday, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
In addition, about 2,200 Marines were expected to arrive by Monday. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was to arrive Friday, and a hospital ship with 12 operating rooms, the USNS Comfort, is expected by Thursday next week.
With Haiti''s already weak government unable to function normally because of massive destruction and communications severely damaged by Tuesday''s quake, it fell on U. S. service members and civilians to provide the first response.
"This is one of those moments that calls out for American leadership. To the people of Haiti, we say clearly and with conviction, you will not be forsaken. You will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you," Obama said.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who canceled a planned trip to the South Pacific to deal with the response to the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, called Washington''s effort "a full-court press" to provide security, search and rescue, and to deliver humanitarian supplies. (ANI)