Civil-Military Cooperation of the Company of Engineers in Haiti
In the context of an international peace operation and its multidimensional character, deployed military units carry out a variety of tasks in accordance with their primary mission, but at the same time engage in cooperation activities in the deployment area for the benefit of the most vulnerable inhabitants of the area of responsibility.
It is in this context that the Chilean-Ecuadorean Combined Company of Horizontal Construction Engineers has carried out an ongoing cooperation program with different entities with few resources, under the guidance of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), with the objective of supporting the directives of the UN’s office for civil-military cooperation – known in the international arena as CIMIC – in Chile.
In order to implement these programs, which are primarily humanitarian-aid actions, the combined unit, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Claudio Mendoza Oyarce, has identified tasks of vital importance for sectors of the population lacking basic services and material resources to meet their needs, especially those of children in irregular situations.
These activities include the delivery of food, water, clothing, and gifts, recreational activities, medical visits, fumigation, and small-scale construction and repairs at schools and orphanages in the city of Port-au-Prince.
All the activities done in this context are vitally important for the beneficiaries. “The aim is to maintain a hygienic environment for the children who live or study in the places where the Company does this work. Pest control, to reduce the risk of illnesses such as malaria and dengue – highly prevalent in Haiti – as well as gastrointestinal illnesses such as cholera and vector-borne acute gastroenteritis, is fundamental, and this is precisely what’s received special attention, with the aim of improving these children’s quality of life,” Captain José Sánchez Paredes, the unit’s health and CIMIC officer, indicated, since with the contribution in the health area, the delivery of potable water, and fumigation, it has been possible to achieve these objectives with the added value of providing moments of recreation for the children.