Update on Joint Task Force-Matthew Relief Mission in Haiti

Update on Joint Task Force-Matthew Relief Mission in Haiti

By U.S Southern Command Public Affairs Office
October 07, 2016

MIAMI –U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) has directed the U.S. Navy amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde to transit towards Haiti, where it will join Joint Task Force-Matthew disaster relief operations. The ship will have three embarked CH-53E
Super Stallion and one HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, one landing craft,
and 300 Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The airlift and transport capabilities of
amphibious ships make them uniquely suited to support the delivery and
distribution of much-needed relief supplies, as well as transport
humanitarian assistance personnel in the immediate aftermath of a
natural disaster. During relief operations, embarked landing
craft are used to transport equipment and aid to populated areas
inaccessible by land due to the impact of natural disasters. On Oct. 5, U.S. Southern Command has
established Joint Task Force Matthew to oversee U.S. military relief
efforts in Haiti. The task force was deployed to Haiti in support of the
U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Foreign
Disaster Assistance (OFDA) following a request for U.S. assistance from
the government of Haiti. At present, the task force has approximately
250 personnel and nine helicopters in Haiti. The helicopters are
scheduled to begin flight operations in support of USAID-led relief
operations later today. Today, a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon
is also scheduled to conduct aerial assessments of areas in Haiti
impacted by the storm to support disaster assessment experts on the
ground. More information about the task force’s relief operations in Haiti will be released as soon as it is available and confirmed. 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. Release Details: SOUTHCOM directed the U.S. Navy amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde to join Haiti disaster relief operations. Ship
has four embarked helicopters (three CH-53E Super Stallion and one
HH-60 Pave Hawk), one landing craft, and hundreds of Marines and
Sailors.A team of 9 helicopters in Port-au-Prince
began flight operations in support of the USAID-led relief mission. The
helicopters are delivering relief supplies, aid and humanitarian
assistance personnel.U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon
is scheduled to conduct aerial assessments of areas in Haiti impacted
by the storm to support disaster assessment experts on the ground.
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