13 Mar 2010

Haiti situation still dire, says US president

12:13 pm on 13 March 2010

US President Barack Obama has warned of a second disaster in Haiti, saying people should be under no illusion that the crisis there is over.

He was speaking after talks with Haitian President Rene Preval in Washington, the BBC reports.

Mr Obama says the situation in Haiti remains "dire", two months after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

He says there remains a desperate need for humanitarian help, especially as seasonal rains could threaten the more than a million Haitians left homeless by the quake on 12 January.

Mr Obama says the challenge is to prevent a second disaster, and told Mr Preval the US would continue to help Haiti in its recovery and reconstruction.

Rapid response

Mr Preval has backed the idea of creating a United Nations-sponsored international humanitarian force to speed up the global response to disasters such as that which struck his country.

Mr Preval also says Haiti needs to build strong economic centres away from the capital, Port au Prince.