Helping out tragedy-stricken nations like Haiti is fundamentally American, President Barack Obama said this weekend.

Making the case for why Americans should contribute aid to Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake there last week, Obama said the time to help is now.

"We act for a very simple reason: in times of tragedy, the United States of America steps forward and helps. That is who we are. That is what we do," Obama wrote in the issue of Newsweek on stands this week.

Obama outlined some of the administration's relief efforts in his piece, and encouraged people to give what they could to Haitians.

"In the days, months, and years ahead, we'll need to work closely with the government and people of Haiti to reclaim the momentum that they achieved before the earthquake," Obama said. "The United States will be there with the Haitian government and the United Nations every step of the way."