News / Americas

US Marines Join Relief Effort in Haiti, Hospital Ship to Arrive Wednesday

US Navy helicopter lands next to US troops in front of heavily damaged presidential palace in Port-au-Prince 19 Jan 2010
US Navy helicopter lands next to US troops in front of heavily damaged presidential palace in Port-au-Prince 19 Jan 2010

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

A 2,000-strong unit of U.S. Marines began moving ashore west of Port-au-Prince at dawn on Tuesday to help deliver relief to victims of last week's earthquake.  Some U.S. troops landed by helicopter at the presidential palace, where crowds of Haitians cheered as the troops began distributing aid.  A range of U.S. military efforts are now underway, including airdrops of supplies and the expected arrival of the huge hospital ship the USNS Comfort on Wednesday. 

With medical teams and mobile facilities from several countries already in place in Haiti, the deputy commander of the U.S. military effort there, Army Major General Daniel Allyn, says American priorities have shifted to delivering vehicles to distribute aid, machinery to produce clean water and equipment to clear rubble and begin reconstruction.  He The U.S. troops are also working with Haitian authorities to re-establish normal production and distribution of water, fuel and other key supplies.

At the same time, General Allyn says the military units must continue to transport food, water and other critical items that are needed immediately.  "The delivery of capability here in Haiti is a balancing act that requires troops on the ground to distribute humanitarian assistance, the supplies for them to distribute and the mobility necessary for them to be able to reach the communities that are most stricken," he said.

General Allyn says U.N. and Haitian forces continue to have lead responsibility for security, which he says has been mostly good in very difficult circumstances. "We are watching for signs of instability.  At present, there are pockets in areas of Haiti and the U.N. security forces are working with the Haitian national police to address those pockets as they arise.  And they have been able to effectively deal with them, and we are confident they will continue to do so," he said.

Allyn says U.S. troops so far are handling security only for their own operations - including establishing facilities on shore near the town of Leogane, west of Port-au-Prince, where a Marine Expeditionary Unit began to arrive Tuesday morning.  The Marines are to distribute aid in the area, and will establish a hub for the distribution of relief supplies elsewhere.  A Pentagon spokesman says most of the Marines will be based on three ships anchored offshore, with a small security force protecting equipment and supplies onshore at night.

In addition, the U.S. Air Force conducted its first airdrop of supplies on Monday, north of Port-au-Prince, using an aircraft that flew from the United States and returned there after the drop, easing pressure on the Port-au-Prince airport.

This image taken from video shows relief supplies parachuting from a US Air Force cargo plane flying over Haiti, 19 January 2010 Author: US Air Force
This image taken from video shows relief supplies parachuting from a US Air Force cargo plane flying over Haiti, 19 January 2010 Author: US Air Force



General Allyn says such drops will resume on Wednesday.  He says ground troops need to secure drop zones for the heavy pallets of water, food and medicine, and that they need vehicles and other capabilities to secure and distribute the aid. "As our assessment determines that we have a gap between the demand on the ground and our ability to deliver, obviously we then adjust the priority on delivery of supplies coming into the theater [i.e., the area] to ensure what is needed can be met," he said.

Among those helping distribute and secure the aid are about 1,000 soldiers from one of the U.S. Army's premier combat units, the 82nd Airborne Division.  In all, General Allyn says within the next few days there will be about 5,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Haiti, with another 5,000 on the ships supporting the effort.  Among them, by Wednesday, will be the hospital ship USNS Comfort, which will add 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms and hundreds of medical personnel to the resources available to help the injured.  Allyn says a Colombian hospital ship is also on the way.

The general also reports smooth operations at the Port-au-Prince airport, which has been under U.S. control since Friday by agreement with the Haitian government.  The Pentagon says the airport is handling more than 100 flights per day, nearly 10 times what it handles normally.  General Allyn says he also expects the seaport in the capital to begin at least limited operations during the next few days to enable delivery of supplies by sea.

You May Like

'Exceptionally Lucky' US Boy Survives Flight in Wheel Well

The boy was unconscious for most of the flight, and appeared to be unharmed after enduring the extremely cold temperatures and lack of oxygen More

US Anti-Corruption Law Snags Major Tech Company

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in December, 1977 More

Cameron Criticized for Calling UK 'Christian Country'

Letter from scientists, academics and writers says the prime minister is fostering division by repeatedly referring to England as a 'Christian country' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Venezuelan Protesters Burn Leaders in Effigy

Hundreds take to streets of Caracas Easter Sunday demanding ‘resurrection of democracy; President Maduro’s image among those burnt
More

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians
More

Audit Finds US Housing Aid Program in Haiti Falls Short

Results show post-earthquake USAID program has delivered only a quarter of planned number of homes at nearly twice the budgeted cost
More

Mourning, Memories in Garcia Marquez's Languid Hometown

Nobel Prize-winning author's early years in Aracataca inspired characters, tales for major novel
More

Powerful Earthquake Rattles Mexico

US Geological Survey says quake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale, was centered in the western state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco beach resort
More

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support
More