WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Jim Oberstar are headed to Haiti as part of a congressional delegation to a nation still reeling from an earthquake that has killed an estimated 230,000 people
The 12-member delegation is scheduled to leave today, on the one-month anniversary of the quake. The delegation will be led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Oberstar has deep ties to the country, having lived from 1959 to 1962 while teaching English to students at the Haitian Military Academy and instructing Americans in the two official languages of Haiti, French and Creole, both of which he speaks fluently. He has returned to the country many times since then, and is generally considered one of the leading experts in Congress on Haitian affairs.
Klobuchar has led the effort to speed up the adoption process for Americans looking to adopt Haitian orphans. It’s a process that would normally be tricky, but has become even more difficult given the loss of vital records in the earthquake.
Pelosi’s office said the group is scheduled to meet with Haitian government officials, including President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. They’ll also meet with humanitarian, military and international organizations assisting in the humanitarian aid effort and visit medical facilities and aid distribution sites.