Saturday, September 13, 2008

SOUTHCOM Sends Eight-Man Team To Haiti, Kearsarge Delivers 350 Metric Tons of Aid

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An eight-man
team from U.S. Southern Command, headquartered in Miami, will arrive in
Haiti today to support ongoing U.S. relief efforts in the country.

The team, comprised of two Creole translators, three engineers and
three operational planners, will join ongoing U.S. military disaster
assistance activities in Haiti carried out by the crew of the USS Kearsarge
(LHD 3) operating from the Gulf of Gonaves.

"The team will provide technical engineering assistance to the
government of Haiti, MINUSTAH forces and OFDA officials for critical
infrastructure, bridge and road repair efforts," said U.S. Army Col.
Norberto Cintron, Command Engineer for SOUTHCOM.

"The distribution of aid has been hampered by the devastation of roads
and bridges in Haiti. We look forward to the challenge of restoring access
to isolated communities."

USS Kearsarge continued its support of disaster relief efforts in Haiti
Sept. 11, launching five helicopters and three landing craft vessels to
deliver aid to remote areas suffering in the aftermath of recent storms.

Overall, the Kearsarge mission in Haiti has delivered an estimated 350
metric tons of relief supplies in addition to 1,500 gallons of water.

The Caribbean nation was hit hard by tropical storms Fay, Gustav and
Hanna and then again by Hurricane Ike, leaving eight of Haiti's 10
geographic departments flooded, destroying bridges and roads and leaving
residents desperate for aid.

On the fourth day of operations, CH-53E "Sea Stallion" helicopter crews
flew relief missions to Gonaives, Les Cayes and Port de Paix delivering
approximately 85 metric tons of pre-packaged food such as flour, beans,
rice and high-energy biscuits from the World Food Program, as well as
hygiene kits from the United Nations Population Fund.

To date, CH-53E and MH-60S "Seahawk" pilots have flown a combined 28
missions into the country to deliver supplies. Personnel from Assault Craft
Unit 2 have launched landing craft utility vessels daily sending supplies
and personnel ashore.

Kearsarge also continued to send volunteer working parties to
Port-au-Prince, to assist in loading and unloading supplies.

"This is truly a team effort," said Kearsarge's commanding officer,
Capt. Walter Towns. "Everyone from the craftmasters, helicopter pilots,
flight deck and well deck crews to the unsung heroes on the working parties
carry hundreds of pounds of food and water supplies. They do it all with
out complaint because they know their efforts are saving lives."

The capabilities of Kearsarge include the fast movement of personnel
and cargo by helicopter and landing craft vessels, making it the ideal
platform to support urgent humanitarian relief missions.

Additional information is available at .

Source: U.S. Southern Command - PrNewsWire.Com

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