The U.S. Coast Guard, the first Department of Homeland Security agency to provide assistance to Haiti following Tuesday's earthquake, continues to provide support Thursday to the U.S. Government's humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts.
The 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 U.S. Agency for International Development relief efforts and will be under the direction of Rear Adm. Robert Branham who is also the commanding officer of the Coast Guard's 7th District.
U.S. Coast Guard C-130 fixed-wing aircraft and HH-60 helicopters evacuated 142 U.S. citizens to the Dominican Republic Thursday, and medevaced seven U.S. citizens to Florida. Approximately 50 more U.S. citizens are scheduled to depart Haiti aboard Coast Guard aircraft Thursday. The Coast Guard medevaced 9 U.S. citizens and evacuated 109 U.S. citizens Wednesday. To view Coast Guard video of evacuation operations click here or go to http://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/586/452503/.
The U.S. Coast Guard also transported a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and a U.S. Coast Guard C-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft provided first-light aerial assessments. The Coast Guard Cutters Tahoma and Valiant arrived in Haitian waters Thursday. The Tahoma is loaded with relief supplies for the earthquake survivors.
Initial reports from the on-scene assessments of the port in Port-au-Prince indicate the port has been severely damaged by the earthquake. The reports also stated that five cranes at the port were either damaged, unstable or submerged as a result of the earthquake and the waters outside the port are covered with debris, garbage and containers.
Among the Coast Guard assets that continue providing support to Haiti are:
The Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Miami, Fla.
The Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.
The Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, N.H.
The Coast Guard Cutter Forward, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.
U.S. Coast Guard C-130, HU-25 and C-144 fixed-wing aircraft and HH-60 and HH-65 helicopters from throughout the Coast Guard are deployed throughout the Caribbean region in support of the USAID relief efforts.