USAID and SOUTHCOM Team Up for Haiti's Long Term Reconstruction

Posted by John Dickson
February 15, 2010
82nd Expeditionary Unit of the U.S. Marines and Jordanian Soldiers

About the Author: John Dickson is currently serving on the ground in Port-au-Prince, Haiti as a Public Diplomacy Director for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

On February 13, a month and a day after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah came back to Haiti for the third time to meet with President Preval and his team as well as UN officials and NGO representatives. Dr. Shah was joined by General Doug Fraser, Commander of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), charged with overseeing the U.S. military support for the humanitarian assistance/disaster relief. Dr. Shah and General Fraser traveled to a cash-for-work site outside of Port au Prince and met with their own teams to assess what has been accomplished to date, the immediate challenges ahead and the long-term road of reconstruction.

When asked about what has worked well, Dr. Shah said "It's sometimes hard to describe the successes because the needs are so tremendous. But this was the largest and most successful international search and rescue effort ever assembled in history. We've seen real progress with more than two million people served with food rations; with significant increases in water availability that meet humanitarian targets; and with health and medical interventions that range from immunization to prevent the spread of disease in the future and surgical capacities with literally thousands of surgeries being performed."

General Fraser referred to the role of the U.S. military evolving as capacity on the ground among Haitian and international organizations. He said numbers of U.S. troops have declined from a high of over 20,000 to 13,000 currently. He said that he would assess the roles for U.S. troops a "capacity standpoint, not necessarily a timeframe. So as capacity meets demands, then we'll look for transition."

One example of that transition took place Saturday, when members of the 82nd Expeditionary Unit of the U.S. Marines worked with Jordanian soldiers to deliver 904 bags of 100 pounds of rice at a food distribution site (see photo).



Donald M.
Virginia, USA
February 16, 2010

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

Well done and Bravo Zulu on all the efforts to help the people. Keep up the good work!!!

South Korea
February 16, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Thank you,

Happy Lunar New Year.

Erin B.
District Of Columbia, USA
February 17, 2010

Erin B. in Washington, DC writes:

The relief effort on the ground currently in Port-au-Prince has been astounding. While it is unfortunate that more individuals couldn't be found among the demolished buildings in the city, it is amazing to see the compassion that has been received by the newly homeless population in Haiti. The number of adoptions has been astounding. With the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service working around the clock, many children have been placed with their adopted families inside the United States. The relief efforts have not stopped and adoptions will continue to be processed in order to bring more orphans to the United States. It's great to see the outpouring of care for people we don't know.

Steven A.
Hawaii, USA
February 17, 2010

Steven J.A. in Hawaii writes:

A world of help will be given to Haiti survivors; especially for US citizens and govt. personnel in the region. Much needed storage supply areas are needed to house the homeless and the food and medicines.

United States
February 19, 2010

OysterCracker in USA writes:

It's nearly a month later and the Haitians are still asking for tents, food and water. Are we play acting the AID game or what?

Parfait B.
February 19, 2010

Parfait B. in Haiti writes:

I need to know where to send my resume for rebuild haiti,I was burn and reared in port de paix,I am carpenter and contractor in california,I am available for volunteer my time to help rebuild the country. please let know where to send my resume.

parfait b.

United Kingdom
February 19, 2010

Armstrong in the United Kingdom writes:

Have you heard of "Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs"?

thank you

New Mexico, USA
February 22, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Armstrong in UK,

Yeah I have, and I tend to think of it like going to the pub and ordering a "black and tan".

One can observe the brew-miester creating a perfect layered effect between the pale and the stout, but the whole affair only has practical application when they get mixed together as the concoction slides down one's gullet, ends up all in the same place and becoming greater than the sum of its parts...

Happiness then as becoming manifest in a burp...

...and a round on your's truly.


United Kingdom
February 22, 2010

Parris in United Kingdom writes:

I would so love to go down to the more rual areas to aid in the rebuild,I myself am of hatian heritage though trans racially adopted as child. I would mainly like to set up inclusion programmes for the kids particularly thos that are facing lon-term social exclusions, thru disability or learning difficulties.I would ultimately like to run a school / youth center or orphanage.

New York, USA
March 17, 2010

Rajut in New York writes:

Helping to rebuild Haiti?

Give us a break already. This will be a very good opportunity to line up the pockets of political hacks posing as consultant.


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