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Bataan, 22nd MEU HACC Coordinates Relief

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100208-13
Release Date: 2/8/2010 1:17:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samantha Robinett, USS Bataan Public Affairs

USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Ships from Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission along with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived off the coast of Haiti in January and established the Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Center (HACC) to help respond to relief efforts.

The HACC coordinates and consolidates information so relief efforts for their areas of operation (AO) could be prioritized and matched with the right military or non-governmental organization (NGO).

The HACC established aboard multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) has been receiving, processing, distributing and sharing information with the Haitian government, the international community and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

"The HACC receives information from the population, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and troops on the ground," said Capt. Matthew Martin, the 22nd MEU future operations planner aboard Bataan. "We take that information and match it up with the commanding officer's functional capabilities. If it is in our AO, we give them the aid to the best of our abilities. If it's not in our AO we pass that information to other NGOs in the area, who will help as well as they can."

Once HACC has received a request, it passes it to troop support, which then analyzes the area requesting aid and transports the goods necessary to the population in need.

The HACC is responsible for the movement of doctors, volunteers and hundreds of pallets of meals and medical supplies into Haiti to support Operation Unified Response.

Martin said Operation Unified Response is now entering phase 2A, where HACC will continue to transfer responsibility to the Haitian government in the areas of operation where the Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission and the 22nd MEU are most active.

"A big part of our mission is to support USAID," said Martin. "There are more than 1,000 NGOs that USAID keeps synced together, so that when we leave the Haitians will still have a lot of support from within their country."

The HACC aboard Bataan was modeled after the Joint Force Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Center, which is comprised of multinational elements ashore.

Bataan, USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50)and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) are providing military support capabilities to civil authorities and are helping to stabilize and improve the situation in the wake of this disaster.

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