*As previously reported, Michelle Obama made a surprise stop in Haiti this morning en route to her scheduled three-day trip to Mexico.
The First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, wanted to tour first hand the destruction caused by the 7.0 earthquake that killed thousands of people in January. [Scroll down for raw video footage.]
“It’s powerful. The devastation is definitely powerful,” Mrs. Obama said after a helicopter tour of the quake-stricken city, speaking with Haitian president Rene Preval and his wife, Elisabeth Debrosse Preval.
After meeting the president, Obama and Biden went to Champs de Mars, where tens of thousands of the homeless now live. They arrived at a site behind the Le Musee d’Art Haitien, where a children’s safe space has been established with help from internationally known Haitian artist Philippe Dodard.
Some 900 children take part in The Children’s Place program daily, and 2,000 are fed. Dozens of children greeted the American visitors. A group of children sang a song in Creole: “We are glad to see you…. We say let’s be happy.”
Mrs. Obama’s arrival comes at a time when aid workers and local officials are particularly concerned about how displaced residents will survive as the rainy season begins and hurricanes become more likely. [More photos below the clip.]