Logistics Agency Prepares to Help Haiti
By Beth Reece
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2010 The Defense Logistics Agency is preparing to provide humanitarian relief in response to the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti Jan. 12.
The agency's Joint Logistics Operations Center is coordinating support with U.S. Southern Command. Southcom, in turn, is working with the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development to assess the need for humanitarian support, said Marine Col. Scott Dalke, division chief at the joint operations center.
While no requests for support have yet been received, Dalke said, each DLA supply center is standing by and ready to meet requests.
"We have embedded a JLOC liaison officer with U.S. Southcom and will be sending an additional liaison officer for augmentation," Dalke said. The team will assist in coordinating relief items that could include food, fuel, medical supplies and blankets.
Navy Vice Adm. Alan S. Thompson, DLA director, has pledged full support to Southcom.
"I want to ensure that DLA is a key enabler to the disaster relief response,” the admiral said. “This agency will lean forward to support all U.S. Southcom components and government agencies as required while continuing to provide seamless support to the global force," he said.
The International Red Cross reported that 3 million people were affected by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which Haitian officials have called a "catastrophe of major proportions." It was the island's most violent earthquake in two centuries, officials said.
President Barack Obama yesterday called for an aggressive U.S. response to help those affected by the earthquake.
"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 - the food, water and medicine - that Haitians will need in the coming days," Obama said.
Southcom is deploying a 30-member team of military engineers, operational planners and communications specialists to help in orchestrating support in Haiti. The Coast Guard has mobilized vessels and aircraft to positions near Haiti to provide humanitarian assistance.
DLA frequently provides humanitarian aid for weather-related natural disasters around the world. Its most recent humanitarian assistance was in response to flooding caused by a tropical storm that flooded the Philippines and the Samoan islands in September.
(Beth Reece works in the Defense Logistics Agency’s strategic communications office.)