Bennet Joins In Effort Urging the Senate to Send Aid to Those Affected by Haiti Earthquake

Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today sent a letter to Senate leadership calling on them to provide assistance to those affected by the earthquake in Haiti as soon as possible.

The full text of the letter follows a statement Bennet released on the disaster, which can be found below:

"I want to offer America's most heartfelt concern and condolences for all those who have been affected by the terrible earthquake in Haiti.  Many have been killed and many more are struggling for the most basic needs of food, water, and shelter.  Although some communication lines are down, we have learned from individual reports and photos the sobering extent of the damage.  Colorado's thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti as they struggle to recover from this disaster.

"I also know that there are many Coloradans who have family and friends that live or work in or around Port-au-Prince, and information on their whereabouts has been difficult to obtain.  My office has worked with one Colorado non-profit, Mercy and Sharing of Aspen, which operates orphanages and children's hospitals in the capital.  I know they are in the process of locating all of their workers and the children for which they care. 

"This earthquake was the strongest to hit Haiti in some 200 years, and the Haitian people cannot dig out alone.  Congress must respond quickly to this disaster with emergency assistance.  In the near term, we must work with the State Department, USAID, and the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti to locate survivors and provide basic services for those whose lives have been ravaged.  After this initial nightmare period has passed, we must help the Haitian people rebuild and regain their self-sufficiency.  Many times, America has answered the call whenever a neighbor has needed us.  We must again do so now."

 The State Department has also created a hotline for Americans trying to contact relatives in Haiti, which can be reached by calling 1 (888) 407-4747. Those interested in learning more about how to help can visit

The letter from the senators follows:

  January 13, 2010

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
361-A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye
Senate Committee on Appropriations
The Capitol, S-128
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Thad Cochran
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Appropriations
The Capitol, S-128
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Chairman Inouye, and Ranking Member Cochran:

 In the aftermath of yesterday's devastating earthquake, we are writing to request that you include robust emergency funds to assist Haiti in the next legislative vehicle before the Senate.

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 was centered just ten miles from the capital of Port-au-Prince, leaving thousands of Haitians dead and millions in dire need of basic food, shelter, and medical attention.  As communication and infrastructure networks have been severely disrupted, we may not know the full extent of the damage for several weeks.  It is already clear, however, that the relief and reconstructions needs of the Haitian people will be substantial and long-term.

The United States and the international community must act quickly to address the immediate needs of the Haitian people and to support the Government of Haiti.  Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and lacks the capacity to respond to and recover from a disaster of such scale and scope.

Robust and immediate U.S. assistance to Haiti in the wake of this catastrophe is vital to support stability in that fragile country, and is in our own national security interest.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.