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Logistics Key to Hurricane Matthew Relief in Haiti

USAID/OFDA and the Dept. of Defense provide humanitarian logistics and transportation to ensure rapid delivery of relief commodities to populations in hard-to-reach areas.

The UN estimates that 750,000 people in Haiti require humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

In a recent press release, USAID, which describes itself as “the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential,” noted the following:

“USAID is airlifting more than 480 metric tons of relief supplies to Haitiincluding 40,000 blankets, 20,000 hygiene kits, nearly 18,700 kitchen sets, and 3,500 rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting to provide for emergency shelter needs.These supplies, which will be transported aboard five cargo planes, are expected to benefit up to 100,000 people.

“USAID is working with the Government of Haiti and local non-governmental organizations to continually assess the damage and ensure life-saving emergency relief reaches people in need, especially in the hard-hit regions along the country's southwest peninsula. At USAID's request, the Department of Defense is providing airlift and logistical capabilities in order to get critical humanitarian assistance to areas cut off by the storm.”

Looking at the logistics and humanitarian coordination aspect of helping with hurricane disaster relief, USAID noted, “On October 7, a logistics response team—with assistance from the Global Logistics Cluster in Rome, Italy, and the UN World Food Program (WFP) Regional Bureau in Panama—deployed to Haiti to establish a logistics working group in Port-au-Prince, according to the Logistics Cluster, the coordinating body for humanitarian logistics and coordination activities. The logistics working group in Haiti, with participation from the DPC, the International Organization for Migration, WFP, and the DART, conducted an overflight of the southern claw on October 7 to assess logistics potential for future airlifts and distributions of food and relief commodities to Jeremie and Les Cayes.

“On October 9, a flight carrying USAID/OFDA relief commodities—including 14,600 blankets to benefit approximately 36,500 people and 1,000 rolls of plastic sheeting to benefit approximately 50,000 people—arrived in Port-au-Prince. The shipment follows two airlifts, comprising approximately 10,600 blankets, 12,800 hygiene kits, 10,860 kitchen sets, and 610 rolls of plastic sheeting, which arrived in Port-au-Prince on October 8. In total, USAID/OFDA plans to conduct five airlifts, with assistance sufficient for an estimated 100,000 people.

“DoD continues to support humanitarian logistics and transportation to ensure the rapid delivery of relief commodities to hurricane-affected populations in hard-to-reach areas of Haiti. On October 7, U.S. Southern Command directed USS Mesa Verde—a U.S. Navy ship carrying three helicopters, one landing craft, and 300 Marines—to transit to Haiti. The ship, which arrived in Haiti on October 9, will provide additional airlift and transport capabilities to support the delivery and distribution of critical relief supplies, as well as the transportation of emergency response personnel to hard-to-reach areas, particularly in Haiti’s southern peninsula. The arrival of USS Mesa Verde brings Joint Task Force Matthew’s total footprint to approximately 550 personnel and 12 helicopters.”

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