U.S. Military Presence Continues to Build in Haiti
U.S. Black Hawk helicopters touched down on the grounds of Haiti’s wrecked presidential palace Tuesday to deploy troops and supplies as the international aid efforts continue to gain momentum.
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division, tasked with helping speed up a logjammed relief effort, moved to secure Port-au-Prince’s nearby general hospital. Their deployment brought crowds of survivors to the palace’s iron gates begging for food, Reuters reported.
Here’s video of the landing from the Associated Press:
“We do not know exactly what they have come to do but I think they are here to help us, so we tell them welcome,” one observer, 40-year-old Alex Michel, told Reuters.
“We are here to provide security to the hospital. We work with the government of Haiti. We have rules of engagement, but we are on a humanitarian mission,” Sgt. Bill Smith told AFP.
Also on Tuesday, an 800-troop Marine expeditionary unit moved ashore, ferrying supplies in helicopters and Humvees. All in all, more than 11,000 U.S. military personnel are either on the ground in Haiti, on ships offshore or en route to the Caribbean nation. Meantime, the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved sending an extra 2,000 troops and 1,500 police officers to join the 9,000 member peacekeeping force already in Haiti. And Canada announced it was sending 2,000 soldiers to assist the aid effort, representing the country’s largest ever relief mission.
On last night’s NewsHour, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten addressed criticism of the U.S. military efforts in Haiti.
We’ll have lots more on the Haiti relief effort on tonight’s NewsHour, including an analysis of the U.S. military mission there. Stay tuned.