Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kearsarge Completes Disaster Relief Mission In Haiti

GULF OF GONAVES, Haiti, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- USS Kearsarge departed
Haiti today after completing a 19-day disaster relief mission in the
storm-ravaged Caribbean nation that included robust helicopter and sealift
support to U.S. relief efforts led by the U.S. Agency for International
Development's (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

During its support to USAID-led relief efforts in Haiti, Marine and
Navy helicopters embarked aboard Kearsarge flew more than 100 sorties and
its landing craft transported more than 30 loads of supplies. These
operations led to the timely delivery of more than 3.3 million pounds of
food, water, and other relief supplies to Haitian communities devastated in
recent weeks by several tropical storms and Hurricane Ike.

In response to a formal request for engineering assistance, U.S. Navy
and U.S. Air Force engineers embarked aboard Kearsarge assisted Haitian
officials with assessing the condition of roads and bridges damaged by the
storms and determining the extent of repairs needed.

The assessments conducted by Kearsarge engineers were turned over to
Haitian officials and other agencies supporting or overseeing
reconstruction efforts who will use the assessments as they work to restore
damaged critical infrastructure to pre-disaster conditions.

Kearsarge engineers also assisted residents of Bainet by replacing
damaged pipes vital to the delivery of fresh water in the southern city.

A team of medical personnel conducted health assessments in Marose,
Dolant, Grande Saline, Gros Morne, Tres Ponts, Terre de Negres, Terre
Nueve, Ennery, Saint Michel, Anse Rouge, Bainet, Les Cayes, Jeremie,
Chomeil, Belle Anse, and Casale and provided basic medical care to more
than 1,000 Haitian citizens in affected areas. Doctors from the ship
performed health examinations, looking for diseases inherent to natural
disasters, and conducted preventive services, such as environmental

Prior to its departure, Kearsarge medical personnel delivered their
assessments to the various agencies assisting with recovery efforts to
ensure a seamless transition of the ship's aid distribution activities to
other relief organizations in Haiti.

Kearsarge's crew partnered with NGOs, MINUSTAH, Haitian government
officials, and other agencies providing aid to storm victims in the

"The ship and all its embarked elements were able to quickly respond
and support USAID disaster relief efforts here," said Capt. Fernandez
"Frank" Ponds, commander of U.S. military relief operations in Haiti. "Our
timely assistance to the people of Haiti reflects our nation's compassion
for the many individuals and families impacted by these storms and its
commitment to helping nations in times of crisis."

According to USAID, as of Sept. 22, the U.S. has contributed more than
$30 million in disaster assistance to the people of Haiti during the 2008
hurricane season.

"Through close coordination and cooperation with the numerous
government and non-government organizations participating in this important
mission, we've been able to obtain an equivalent, if not superior, lift
capability to continue distributing aid to those in need," explained Ponds.
"Though our mission here has ended, the people of Haiti remain in our
thoughts and prayers. It is our hope that we were able to provide some
measure of comfort during this crisis."

Kearsarge will remain in the Caribbean as part of Continuing Promise
2008, a humanitarian assistance mission that began with visits to Puerto
Cabezas, Nicaragua, and Santa Marta, Colombia, where medical teams provided
health-care services and engineers completed various construction and
infrastructure repair projects.

Kearsarge will remain in the region through November and will continue
its humanitarian assistance mission during scheduled visits to the
Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Continuing Promise 2008 is a collaborative effort that includes the
participation of U.S. military personnel, military medical personnel from
Brazil, Canada, France, and the Netherlands, medical volunteers from the
U.S. Public Health Service, and volunteers from NGOs, such as Operation
Smile, Project Hope, and International Aid.

Source: U.S. Fourth Fleet - PrNewsWire.Com

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