Rajiv Shah, the Indian-American administrator of USAID, who is leading the massive US rescue and recovery efforts in earthquake-hit Haiti, has come in for high praise for his extraordinary leadership qualities.
"Thankfully, he was on board when this tragedy took place. And he has energised USAID (United States Agency for International Development," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters Tuesday.
"I think it has been a tremendously positive effect. Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton is thrilled that Raj Shah is on board," Crowley said of the highest-ranking Indian American in any US presidential administration. "He has led them ably over the past week as the senior US official designated by President Obama. He has a familiarity with Haiti.
"But every day, Raj has been pushing to try to do as much as possible for the benefit of our citizens and Haitian citizens. So the Secretary is enormously grateful that we were able to have Raj in place before this started," Crowley said.
Former US president Bill Clinton, who serves as the UN special envoy to Haiti, too has praised Shah. "He has the background and deep understanding of the region to effectively lead the US' response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti," Clinton said.
"I know he's going to do a good job and make a real difference for the people of Haiti during their time of great need," he was quoted as saying by The Washington Post last week.
"Shah has been excellent," Denis McDonough, National Security Council chief of staff, told the Post. "Focused, Calm, Facts-based," said McDonough who has worked closely with Shah since last week when the earthquake struck.
"He's extraordinarily competent, extraordinarily bright and also extraordinarily articulate," said Pennsylvania Governor, Edward Rendell, on whose gubernatorial transition committee Shah served.