VIDEO: U.S. Military Troops Mobilize In Ravaged Haiti Following Hurricane Matthew

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

nine helicopters being sent to navigate around

ABOVE VIDEO: Before Hurricane Matthew reached the United States, it caused widespread devastation in Haiti. Officials there say at least 270 people were killed, while local reports put the death toll much higher, at over 800. Colin Chaperon, the Red Cross lead for Haiti, joins CBSN with the latest on recovery efforts.

(DoD News)  – U.S. military personnel began arriving on the hurricane-ravaged island nation of Haiti today to begin storm response efforts as Combined Task Force Hurricane Matthew mobilizes there, Navy Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander of U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force Matthew, told Pentagon reporters Friday.

More than 30 members of the Air Force’s 621st Contingency Response Wing wait aboard a C-17 Globemaster III at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., for equipment to be loaded on their way to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in response to Hurricane Matthew, Oct. 6, 2016.
The CRW is supporting the government of Haiti’s request for humanitarian assistance and will facilitate the movement of humanitarian aid and cargo. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Martyn

Speaking via teleconference from Port-Au-Prince,Haiti’s capital city, Pringle said aerial surveillance yesterday revealed the extent of the damage.

“There’s plenty of work to be done,” he said, describing leveled homes, mudslides and washed out roads and bridges — especially along the nation’s southern peninsula.

‘All-Hands Effort’

The task force is working with the U.S. Agency for International Development to begin relief efforts. As troops arrive, work is under way to prioritize hurricane response efforts with USAID, he said.

“It’s honestly an all-hands effort to restore some of the stability to the government of Haiti,” Pringle said. Relieving the suffering of the Haitian people is critical, he noted.

“It’s not just a [Defense Department] effort,” Pringle said. “It’s a whole-of-government regional effort,” he said.

With troops flying in today, Pringle expects work to get under way this afternoon following the meeting with USAID. “At the end of the day, we should have [about] 250 personnel,” he said, adding that he expects that figure to rise to 350 within about 24 hours.

“We expect a lot of the roads are just completely not passable either due to being washed away in mudslides, erosion and collapsed roads or debris … [and] a few bridges have washed away as well,” Pringle said.

A couple of rivers overflowed and washed away infrastructure,” he said, “so the damage is pretty extensive here.”

airforce-hurricane-help-580

More than 30 members of the Air Force’s 621st Contingency Response Wing wait aboard a C-17 Globemaster III at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., for equipment to be loaded on their way to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in response to Hurricane Matthew, Oct. 6, 2016. (Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Martyn)

Helicopters Critical Asset

Helicopters will supply the best mode of transportation around the island, he said.

The nine helicopters on Haiti, including CH-53 Sea Stallions and CH-47 Chinooks, comprise a critical element for supporting this mission,” he said, “simply because of the terrain that we see here in Haiti,” some of which is mountainous.

Brevard County Spared, Hurricane Matthew Could Have Been Much Worse As Residents Clean UpRelated Story:
Brevard County Spared, Hurricane Matthew Could Have Been Much Worse As Residents Clean Up

“With the helicopter footprint that I have here, we can certainly start the relief operations today,” he said, adding that partner nations also are assisting in the efforts.

Though Navy ships and Coast Guard cutters have not yet been assigned to the Haiti mission, Pringle said he expects they will be when more accurate assessments of the rescue operations are determined. Ships, he added, could be assigned within 24 hours.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE NEWS ON HURRICANE MATTHEW


Click here to contribute your news or announcements Free