Palin concludes tour of Haiti

Dec. 13, 2010 at 9:29 AM
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Americans shouldn't forget about Haiti and the devastation remaining from a monster earthquake in January, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said.

Palin, her husband Todd and their daughter Bristol traveled to Haiti to view relief work led by the Rev. Franklin Graham, leader of the non-profit Samaritan's Purse and son of evangelist Billy Graham, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

"I do urge Americans not to forget Haiti," Palin said at a religious relief group's compound north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital.

The earthquake that killed about 230,000 people in Haiti was followed by a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 and infected more than 96,000 others since mid-October.

Efforts to contain the outbreak were hindered by unrest connected to the country's Nov. 28 presidential election. Some opposition candidates said the election was fraud-riddled.

Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, spent her visit observing the work of Samaritan's Purse in cholera treatment centers and distributing Christmas gifts to orphans, the Herald said.

Palin lauded the work of Samaritan's Purse, the U.S. Agency for International Development and "other efforts with the U.S. government" during a news conference.

"I hope that won't stop," Palin said. "I know that there's been some discussion of U.S. aid perhaps being lifted from this area."

The question of the United States withholding financial support -- not humanitarian aid -- to the Haitian government has come up since the presidential voting, the Herald said.

Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., both voiced concerns about the Haitian election. Leahy last week urged Washington to hold back funding to the Haitian government until officials ensure a "fair and democratic outcome" to the presidential vote.

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