Guardians continued their support of U.S. government disaster response and humanitarian assistance efforts Thursday in the wake of the the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti earlier this week.
By the end of the evening, Coast Guard aircraft will have evacuated more than 300 U.S. citizens from the island and medevaced another 16 people who suffered injuries during and following the disaster.
Coast Guard Cutters on-scene to aid in relief efforts are the Forward, Mohawak and Valiant. CGC Forward was the first American military asset to respond to the earthquake. Click here to read a first-hand account of the devastation caused by the earthquake by the Forward’s commanding officer, Commander Diane Durham, in the New York Times.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard cutters continue to steam towards Haiti with relief supplies – including water and medical supplies – as well as disaster response personnel and heavy equipment to help repair damages caused by the earthquake. The Coast Guard Cutter Oak, a buoy tender with a crane, is en route Haiti for debris removal in the commercial harbor at Port-Au-Prince to provide access for additional relief vessels. The Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma is carrying relief supplies in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Homeland Security Task Force-Southeast has been activated in the U.S. Coast Guard 7th District. Based in Miami, this task force will be responsible for supporting USAID relief efforts and will be under the direction of Rear Admiral Steve Branham who is also the commanding officer of the Coast Guard’s 7th District.