News / Americas

US Military Committed to Haiti Aid Effort

In this 21 Jan 2010 photo, Lt. Jerri Gram, from Huntsville, Ala., a doctor aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort, shares a smile with a female infant during an examination off the coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
In this 21 Jan 2010 photo, Lt. Jerri Gram, from Huntsville, Ala., a doctor aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort, shares a smile with a female infant during an examination off the coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Multimedia

Audio

The Haiti earthquake created a huge and urgent need for water, food, medicine and other services - a need that required an international governmental and private response.  But the only organization with the kind of capability to deliver the magnitude of relief supplies and personnel that were needed was the U.S. military. 

It is not unusual for the U.S. military to respond to a disaster like the Haiti earthquake.  The military sent relief to the Asian Tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in the southern United States in 2005 and many other natural disasters.

"We're training for readiness which includes trauma and war surgery.  We're also trained to do humanitarian assistance," said Vice Admiral Adam Robinson, the Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy.  He is responsible for providing the thousands of Navy doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who sped to Haiti on ships and aircraft to care for the wounded.  The U.S. Navy's hospital ship Comfort is the largest of the medical facilities, and is now anchored just off shore near Port-au-Prince, able to handle as many as 1,000 patients.

Other U.S. military services are providing medical help on shore, operating the airport, working to re-open the sea port, transporting thousands of tons of supplies, and helping distribute them by road and helicopter throughout the Haitian capital and beyond.

The effort has been remarkably smooth.  Although there are reports of shortages in some areas, the distribution has been generally lacking in violent incidents or confrontations.  The commander of the U.S. military relief effort in Haiti, Lieutenant General Ken Keen, says his troops made a particular effort to make clear to the people they are there to help, not to conquer.

"In most cases we have sufficient translators to get them to platoon level, if not lower, both French and Creole, so that we can communicate effectively with the civic leaders, explain to them what we're doing, so they understand what we're there for and what we're trying to accomplish," he said.

Admiral Robinson of the Navy medical corps says anyone who is concerned the U.S. military will stay any longer than it is needed or wanted will just have to watch and see what happens in the coming months, which he says will mirror what the military did in Indonesia and elsewhere.

"I think that everyone will see, and this is where you're going to have to just look at our actions.  We'll move in.  We'll help.  And then we're going to move out," he said.

Still, Admiral Robinson estimates the Haitians will need help for six to 12 months, although less help than the more than 20 ships and 20,000 troops that are on land and at sea in the area now.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell says top officials are discussing the future of the U.S. military and civilian role in Haiti, now that the immediate needs have largely been taken care of and systems are in place for aid to continue to flow.

"We as a government and we as a military are committed to seeing this through and helping the Haitian people get back on their feet after this horrific natural disaster.  But what precisely that means, and how many forces are there doing what kinds of things for how long and at what kind of expense, are precisely the discussions that are being had within this building and within the administration right now," he said.

But Admiral Robinson says there is no rush to leave before the job is done.

"From a military medical perspective, we're going to stay down [there] as long as it takes in order to make sure that we have competent medical help for the people that need it," he said.

So for now, and for the foreseeable future, the effort continues, with U.S. troops working alongside American civilians, troops and civilians from other countries, and with Haitians themselves, to help the country's people recover from the devastating earthquake.
 

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy
More

Obama, Rousseff Try to Put Spy Scandal Behind Them

Two leaders opened two days of talks in Washington on Monday
More

Climate Tops Obama Meeting with Brazil Leader

It is not yet known if Rousseff will announce her country's emissions reduction targets while in Washington
More

Puerto Rico Unable to Pay Its Debts

US territory reportedly is $72 billion in arrears; its bond debt per capita is said to be higher than in any American state
More

US Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Likely to Impact Other Countries

Gay rights activists in many parts of world believe court ruling will help their cause
More

Argentine Judge Orders Seizure of Falklands Drillers' Assets

Country is taking firmer line on disputed territory ahead of October elections
More