MANICHE, Haiti – U.S. military leaders joined USAID Administrator Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Michele Sison, and other key leaders Aug. 26 to visit a Haitian community that was heavily affected by the Aug. 14 earthquake.
U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Joint Task Force-Haiti (JTF-HTI) and Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH), and U.S. Army Col. Steven Gventer, deputy commander of Joint Task Force-Haiti and commander of Joint Task-Bravo (JTF-B), joined the U.S. delegation in Maniche to visit with the residents and assess damage.
At the request of the government of Haiti, JTF-HTI is supporting U.S. foreign disaster assistance, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), to aid victims of a devastating earthquake in Haiti’s Southern Claw as part of a whole-of-government effort.
Aircrew with the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, delivered aid and key leaders to assess damage and critical infrastructure in Maniche. The group visited three collapsed homes, the local community center and spoke with several families.
“Reading about the devastation is one thing; seeing it for yourself is quite another,” said Faller. “We are here to help, USAID Administrator Samantha Power and I are here to demonstrate how the U.S. response is truly a whole-of-government effort.”
In total, 16 helicopters, six ships and eight transport aircraft have conducted more than 400 missions in support of Haitian relief efforts. To date, 205,000 pounds of aid has been transported and more than 450 people assisted or rescued.
After the earthquake, USSOUTHCOM stood up JTF-HTI to coordinate military support under Davids and Gventer.
“Less than 24 hours after the earthquake, the U.S. Coast Guard began lifesaving efforts and delivery of aid, a testament to the urgency with which we come to help our partners in their time of need,” said Faller. “Our Task Force is working around the clock to save lives. We’ve got all components on deck: the Coast Guard, the Army, the Puerto Rican National Guard, Navy ships and Marines offshore, and Air Force transport planes all providing support.”