US launches major operation to aid HaitiThe United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. launched a massive military and civilian operation on Wednesday to aid Haiti, as President Barack Obama vowed a swift and aggressive effort to save lives in the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince.
Teams of civilian and military experts began landing in Haiti as US aircraft searched for survivors and tried to assess the damage from the massive 7.0 magnitude quake.
As a wealthy neighbor with the world's most powerful military, the United States appeared well-placed to lead relief efforts for the impoverished Caribbean nation, mobilizing an array of specialists, ships, helicopters, planes and helicopters.
"I have directed my administration to respond with a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives," Obama said at the White House.
"Search and rescue teams from Florida, Virginia and California will arrive throughout today and tomorrow."
At daylight, a US Navy P-3 maritime patrol Maritime patrol is the task of monitoring areas of water. Generally conducted by military and law enforcement agencies, maritime patrol is usually aimed at identifying human activities. aircraft, usually used to track drug trafficking in the region, flew over the site of the earthquake in Port-au-Prince while a Coast Guard cutter with a helicopter flight deck arrived off the coast.
The USS USS
1. United States Senate
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USS abbr (= United States Ship) → Namensteil von Schiffen der Kriegsmarine Carl Vinson Carl Vinson (November 18, 1883 – June 1, 1981) was a Democratic United States Congressman from Georgia. He was the first person to serve for more than 50 years in the United States House of Representatives. aircraft carrier was en route and set to arrive Thursday, while destroyers and more Coast Guard ships were on the way, General Douglas Fraser, head of the US Southern Command, told reporters.
Amid fears the quake had left thousands dead, officials said planes were landing at the Port-au-Prince international airport but that communications had been knocked out at the airport's tower and the passenger terminal was damaged.
A team of US Air Force experts was due to arrive later on Wednesday to help restore air traffic control and communications at the airport, Fraser said.
"We have a group going in to can make sure we can gain and secure the air field and operate from it" as it was needed as a hub for relief efforts, the general said.
About 60 military personnel were on the ground and about 30 military engineers, medical specialists and other experts were due to arrive on Wednesday aboard a C-130 Hercules plane to assist US and international officials organize emergency aid, Fraser said.
A State Department spokesman said that three US relief and rescue teams would depart Wednesday for Haiti from Costa Rica, Washington and Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. , arriving at intervals during the day.
While the full extent of the devastation remained unclear, Obama said the US Defense and State Departments along with the US Agency for International Development would lead relief efforts after the "heart wrenching" tragedy.
"The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief, food, water and medicine that Haitians will need," he said.
Fraser said the military was considering sending in an amphibious ship with a contingent of Marines to help with medical and other aid operations and an Army brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Fort Bragg is a major United States Army installation, in Cumberland and Hoke Counties, North Carolina, U.S. , was on alert for possible deployment.
An initial survey of the earthquake's aftermath from the air indicated the damage was mainly concentrated around the capital but the number of casualties and the scale of the disaster was still unknown, the general said.
"We don't have a clear assessment right now of what the situation on the ground is," he said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meanwhile announced she would shorten her tour of Asia because of the quake.
"It is biblical, the tragedy that continues to stalk Haiti and the Haitian people," a tired-looking Clinton said in Hawaii after conferring with Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, USAID USAID United States Agency for International Development
USAID Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (Spanish) director Rajiv Shah and other officials.