Brazil Sends Post-hurricane Humanitarian Aid to Haiti
By Patrícia Comunello/Diálogo October 19, 2016One hundred and twenty tents provided by the Brazilian Civil Defense to house Haitian families, arrived in Port-au-Prince on Friday, October 14th, aboard a Boeing 767-300 of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, per its Portuguese acronym). Additional shipments will be sent by air before the end of the month. The aircraft was deployed from the Corsair Squadron, based at Galeão Air Base in Rio de Janeiro. The tents are easy to handle and set up, with a PVC flooring and roof and tubular aluminum structure. "These characteristics allow for a better response in natural disaster situations," explained the FAB's communications department. "We left Rio de Janeiro with over 10 tons, and there are now 20 tons of equipment. For us, not just personally, but professionally, there is a lot of satisfaction in assisting a population that has suffered so much after a hurricane," said Major Grei Santana, FAB commander. The aircraft took off from Brasilia Air Base at around 10:00 am, with the shipment and crew arriving at its destination after a seven-hour trip. After unloading, the Brazilian Armed Forces coordination unit at the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti took began distributing the tents. The Brazilian contingent is rebuilding roads and bridges, transporting provisions and even providing security for non-governmental humanitarian organizations helping those affected by the disaster. "In a country that has yet to recover from the traumas of the 2010 earthquake and is now facing the hurricane's wrath, we know that, even indirectly, we are helping a lot of people. We very proudly fly the flags of the Corsair Squadron, the FAB, and Brazil," said Captain Marcos Fassarella Olivieri, one of the aircraft's pilots. Capt. Olivieri had already flown the Brasilia to Port-au-Prince route, delivering 17 tons of support provisions to service members in the Navy, Army, and Air Force who make up the Brazilian Peacekeeping Infantry Battalion and the Brazilian Peacekeeping Engineering Company in the 24th Brazilian Contingent of the Peacekeeping Force. They are part of the maintenance specialist teams deployed to assist in the hardest hit areas. The Brazilian government also announced on October 14th that it would provide $250,000 to the World Food Program. The funds will be used to immediately buy and distribute food and other items of basic necessity to victims of the hurricane, the Brazilian President's Office reported in a note. The money will come from the international humanitarian cooperation budget of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, in the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Brazil’s humanitarian response "Brazil's humanitarian response is the result of integrated actions among the ministries of Foreign Relations, Health, National Integration, and Defense, and the goal is to mitigate the situation in Haiti, considered the most dramatic since the earthquake in 2010," said the note from the federal government. The four ministries are considering new actions, such as sending humanitarian kits and medications. The FAB aircraft completed another flight between Brasilia and Port-au-Prince on Monday, October 17th, delivering donations such as food, cleaning supplies, warm clothing, and even school supplies for children. There have been 10 tons worth of donations collected by the Haiti Solidarity Network, which is a volunteer initiative, according to Colonel Joanes Gregoratto, assistant to the archbishop of the Military Ordinariate of Brazil, which operates within the Ministry of Defense. "A group of women created the network in 2015 and requested support from the Ministry of Defense to send the donations to religious institutions in the Caribbean country," said Col. Gregoratto. He recalled that the 10-ton shipment was headed to schools in Port-au-Prince, "which should be distributed to families, mostly women and children, affected by the damage." In November, another 75 tons of donations gathered by the volunteer network is scheduled to be shipped, but this time by boat. Col. Gregoratto stated that the Red Cross in Brazil is organizing a set of containers to be sent to Haiti.