Joint Task Force to Oversee U.S. Military Relief Efforts in Haiti
By Public Affairs Office, U.S. Southern Command October 06, 2016MIAMI –U.S. Southern Command has established Joint Task Force Matthew to oversee U.S. military relief efforts in Haiti and has appointed U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle to command the task force. The SOUTHCOM-directed team is deployed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, at the request of the government of Haiti, on a mission to provide humanitarian and disaster relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. These U.S. military efforts are in support of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). Historically, U.S. military capabilities are needed most in the critical early stages of a disaster relief operation, when fewer resources, capabilities and disaster-response experts are available to help victims and impacted communities. As those disaster-relief missions progress and more experienced experts arrive to aid longer-term recovery and reconstruction, U.S. military capabilities are no longer requested, and roles previously performed by military units are assumed by other, more experienced relief organizations. Over the last several years, SOUTHCOM has provided disaster assistance to Haiti to help the Caribbean nation prepare for storms like Hurricane Matthew and other natural disasters, including the construction of emergency operations centers, disaster relief warehouses, fire stations and community centers that double as shelters. The command has also donated search and rescue boats, as well as transport vehicles to Haitian emergency response and civil protection agencies. SOUTHCOM is one of the nation’s six geographically-focused unified commands with responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.