Mr. Obama canceled a trip to Lanham, Md., scheduled for Wednesday
afternoon so he could make telephone calls to discuss the relief effort
with staff members and foreign diplomats, White House aides said.
Mr. Obama was informed about the quake at 5:52 p.m. Tuesday by Denis McDonough,
his national security chief of staff; he told aides that he wanted the
United States to move “fast and aggressively,” one White House official
said. By 6:22 p.m. the White House had issued a statement from the
president that the United States was “closely monitoring the situation”
and stood “ready to assist the people of Haiti.”
Within a few hours of hearing the news, United States officials are already planning a response that included ships, transport planes, helicopters and thousands of Marines.
Various other countries from around the world have also pledged their support to the survivors. France is said to be sending three military transport planes, including one from nearby Fort-de-France, Martinique, to provide aid supplies. Britain and Germany are planning to send governmental assessment teams, whilst in has been reported that Germany has pledged 1.5 million euros (about $2.2 million US) for emergency assistance.