Miami, FL–(ENEWSPF)– U.S. Southern Command will deploy a team of 30 people to Haiti to support U.S. relief efforts in the aftermath of yesterday’s devastating earthquake.
The team, which includes U.S. military engineers, operational planners, and a command and control group and communication specialists, will arrive in Haiti today on two C-130 Hercules aircraft. The team will work with U.S. Embassy personnel as well as Haitian, United Nations and international officials to assess the situation and facilitate follow on U.S. military support.
Other immediate response activities include;
- At first light today, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter evacuated four critically injured U.S. Embassy staff to the Naval Station Guantanamo, Cuba, hospital for further treatment.
- Elements of the U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Wing are deploying today to the international airport at Port au Prince, Haiti, to provide air traffic control capability and airfield operations. They are expected to arrive in Haiti this afternoon.
- A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion aircraft from the Forward Operating Location at Comalapa, El Salvador, took off early this morning to conduct an aerial reconnaissance of the area affected by the earthquake.
- The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, is underway and expected to arrive off the coast of Haiti Thursday. Additional U.S. Navy ships are underway to Haiti.
SOUTHCOM is closely monitoring the situation and is working with the U.S. State Department, United States Agency for International Development and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and other national and international agencies to determine how to best respond to this crisis.
SOUTHCOM is well versed at providing humanitarian assistance in the region. Since 2005, the command has led U.S. military support to 14 major relief missions, including assistance to Haiti in September 2008. During that mission, U.S. military forces from USS Kearsarge and other units airlifted 3.3 million pounds of aid to communities that were devastated by a succession of major storms.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people and all those affected by this devastating earthquake,” said U.S. Army Col. James Marshall, command spokesman for SOUTHCOM.