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Palin demands more help for Haiti

Sarah Palin urged Americans not to forget Haiti as she wrapped up a weekend visit to an aid group's sites in the country coping with a cholera epidemic, earthquake reconstruction and political crisis.

Accompanied by her husband, Todd, daughter Bristol, a Fox News crew and the Rev Franklin Graham, who runs the aid group that hosted her, the former Alaska governor and US vice presidential candidate arrived in Haiti during a respite from the riots and violence that have followed the Caribbean nation's dysfunctional November 28 election.

"I do urge Americans not to forget Haiti," she said at a news conference.

Noting that severe problems afflicted Haiti even before last January's devastating quake, she said her fellow citizens should "get out of your comfort zone and volunteer to help".

Mrs Palin visited Samaritan's Purse projects including cholera clinics where people are being treated for extreme dehydration. More than 2,000 people have died of the disease, which scientists believe was recently reintroduced into Haiti, and nearly 100,000 have fallen ill.

Mrs Palin's trip was largely closed to the press and she declined to take questions at the news conference.

She travelled in part by helicopter and the aid group refused to reveal her itinerary, citing security concerns. The US State Department last week reissued its travel warning for Americans considering visits to Haiti.

At the news conference, Mrs Palin created some confusion when she referred to a potential reduction of US assistance to Haiti. "I know that there's been some discussion of US aid perhaps being lifted from this area," she said.

"Again - not to get political - but if some of the politicians would come here and see the conditions, perhaps they would see a need for, say, a military airlift to come bring supplies that are so needed here."

It was not clear what she was referring to and a Palin spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

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