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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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 Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Tourism, Farm Groups See Bigger Business With Cuba

'We are the closest major food producer that Cuba has,' an American Farm Bureau Federation spokesman notes
More

Castro Lauds US Outreach, Says Cuba to Remain Communist

In speech to lawmakers, Cuba's president says economic reforms will be accelerated, yet changes will be gradual
More

Raul Castro Steps Out of Brother's Shadow With US Deal

Cuban president scores diplomatic triumph, surge in support with this week's deal that ends decades of hostility with United States
More

US Report: Immigration Officials' Apprehensions Rose in 2014

Apprehensions of Mexicans fall 14 percent; those of individuals from other countries, predominantly in Central America, rise 68 percent
More

Strife, Mutual Interests Mark Cuba-US Ties

Island nation was once a vacation destination for Americans; over years, many Cubans sought refuge across the Florida Straits
More

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change
More