Hillary Clinton cancels rest of Pacific trip because of Haiti disaster


POSTED: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is canceling the rest of her Asia-Pacific trip to deal with the earthquake crisis in Haiti.

Clinton told reporters at Camp Smith in Halawa Heights today that she would return to Washington to help oversee U.S. relief efforts instead of continuing on to Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand as she had planned. President Barack Obama has directed his administration to provide all aid necessary to assist in relief efforts.

Without providing specifics Clinton said the quake caused one of the highest “;loss of life in recent years.”;

One of the reasons she decided to cancel the rest of her trip was that the scope of the disaster was so overwhelming that there was no way to oversee relief efforts while traveling.

“;I would have had to spend my whole time on the phone,”; she said.

She has been in close contact with President Obama, the National Security Council and the Secretary of Defense as well the leaders of the Dominican Republic, France, Brazil and Canada discussing relief and other humanitarian efforts.

She also talked several times with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who is currently Special Envoy  to Haiti for the United Nations Secretary General.

Hillary Clinton also said that the both the Haitian government and the United Nations were hard hit by the quake in terms of loss of life.

Clinton had not been due to return to the U.S. until next week.