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HSV 2 Delivers Project Handclasp Aid to Haiti

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100508-09

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Rachael Leslie, High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) Public Affairs

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (NNS) -- Swift delivered the supplies as part of the Navy's Project Handclasp program, designed to transport educational, humanitarian and goodwill material on a space-available basis aboard U.S. Navy ships for distribution to foreign nation recipients.

"Project Handclasp is a coordinated effort between the Navy and individual donors in the United States to bring much-needed emergency supplies and donated items to places in need," said Capt. Kurt Hedberg, mission commander, Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010. "What's unique about the Swift is its speed and cargo-carrying capability. We were able to bring these items here from the United States in a day and a half… a commercial shipping [vessel] would have taken a week."

Swift crew worked into the evening to deliver 23 pallets of water purifiers and relief supplies to Pure Water for the World, Inc., for distribution to the people in and around the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

"Our primary mission is to prevent childhood intestinal diseases, which is the second leading cause of death in developing countries," said Dr. Noelle Thabault, of Pure Water for the World, Inc., a nonprofit nongovernmental organization currently working to bring clean water to Haiti since 2008.

Following the Jan. 12 earthquake, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team has worked with various aid organizations and local Haitian leaders to deliver aid and to facilitate Haiti's long-term reconstruction. Combined, U.S. military forces have delivered more than 2.6 million bottles of water, 2.2 million food rations, 17 million lbs. of bulk food and 149,000 lbs. of medical supplies into Haiti.

Thabault said many of the area's water filters and purifiers in schools and medical clinics were damaged in the earthquake, and the organization will use the equipment delivered by Swift to help the affected areas.

"Clean water is largely unavailable here in Port-au-Prince, and throughout Haiti, and these biosanitation filters are a proven technology and have been in use in circumstances around the world," said Thabault. "Once they're installed they last for years, and they are directly going to save lives."

The Swift is currently deployed in Support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010, an annual deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) in the Caribbean and Latin America. The mission's primary goal is information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the region.

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