Chilean Air Force War College Visits USSOUTHCOM
By Dialogo February 18, 2010Students from the Chilean Air Force War College visited USSOUTHCOM headquarters in Miami on February 16 to attend a special briefing on U.S. government relief efforts in Haiti, following the January 12th earthquake that rocked the small Caribbean nation. Ambassador Paul Trivelli, Civilian Deputy to the Commander, USSOUTHCOM, provided a presentation on the joint and inter-agency operations involved in the disaster relief task force in Haiti, called Operation Unified Response. Trivelli explained that USSOUTHCOM coordinated the U.S. military response to the urgent need for aid responding to the guidelines established by the U.S. Department of State’s branch for humanitarian assistance, USAID, and working alongside the United Nations and the international community. The U.S. military support focused on restoring the capabilities of the seriously damaged airport and docking facilities at the port of the Haitian capital Port au Prince, in order to rapidly ensure the distribution of relief supplies. A large sea-based operation flew in humanitarian assistance teams by helicopter to distribute food, water and medical supplies, while the U.S. hospital ship, Comfort, tended to thousands of seriously injured patients. Chile has a contingent in Haiti as part of the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) in the country and quickly deployed additional aid to the battered country to provide emergency disaster relief and rescue teams to retrieve survivors. Brigadier General Hugo Pena-Leiva, Director of the Chilean Air Force War College, praised the efforts of USSOUTHCOM in coordinating the response to the challenges presented by dealing with a natural disaster of unprecedented proportions in the history of the Western Hemisphere.