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Haiti Earthquake Relief

Jan 20, 2010


Haiti Earthquake Relief

What is it?

A second strong earthquake hit Haiti today, following one of the worst earthquakes to strike the Caribbean region in more than 200 years, leaving the island country in shambles with estimates of 100,00-150,000 dead. The estimated 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12 was centered just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital with a metro area population of more than 2 million people. The earthquake left basic needs almost non-existent, with almost no safe drinking water or other base necessities. Even before the aftershocks had subsided, the U.S. Army and other Department of Defense elements were put on alert. A brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., and various other forces from DoD were alerted to prepare for a massive relief effort. Within days over 3,000 Soldiers from the division deployed from Fort Bragg to Haiti. According to Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander, United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), "we are making use of every asset we have and making sure we get relief to Haiti as absolutely soon as we can."

What has the Army done?

Recognizing the severe damage to Haiti's infrastructure, the Army has moved fast to join in the Joint Task Force Haiti relief effort headed by USSOUTHCOM. The Army is an important element of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), a response team which provides specialists, trained in a variety of disaster relief skills, to assist U.S.embassies and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) missions with the management of U.S. Government response to disasters. USSOUTHCOM and the Army are focusing on three priorities:

1. Emergency response, lifesaving and assessment
2. Humanitarian assistance and distribution of relief
3. Non-combatant evacuation, migration and follow-on operations

What does the Army have planned?

In addition to humanitarian assistance, deployed Army units are providing protection of critical infrastructure and items of national value to the Haitian people. Army forces will also provide security of critical command and control and logistical operations and enhance the capabilities of USSOUTHCOM. Additionally, both the Army Reserve and National Guard are planning to deploy assets in support of the Joint Task Force Haiti relief effort.

Why is this important to the Army?

Persistent natural disasters require our armed forces to be in a constant state of readiness. Comprehensive emergency management is a vital component of Army protection and helps build the strategic depth necessary to sustain a strong, resilient and ready volunteer force as we prepare for all hazards of the 21st century.

The Office of Personnel Management has authorized Special Solicitations to support this effort. USAID has recommended cash contributions as the most effective way to help and has provided a list of relief organizations and additional information on the USAID Web site - click on "How You Can Help".

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