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Haiti relief on the way from MCLB Albany

By 1st Lt. Caleb D. Eames | | January 16, 2010

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Tons of emergency supplies stored at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany were on their way to earthquake-ravaged Haiti Jan. 14 and 15, and officials are ready to send additional support to the stricken nation as required.

The Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Assistance/Excess Property Program, which stores humanitarian supplies and coordinates efforts from MCLB Albany, began loading and shipping emergency materials Jan. 14.

Trucks were loaded with prepackaged meals and sent out first, as food was needed quickly in this developing crisis.

“We received official notification Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon to start sending the priority shipments, which in this case is our humanitarian daily rations,” said Bill Lane, HAP director. “But we were on standby as soon as we saw the disaster in the news on Tuesday evening (Jan. 12). We knew we were going to be involved somehow, so we went ahead and started getting ready.”

A total of 43 trucks were sent out by the end of the week with approximately 600,000 meals and hundreds of tents, cots and water cans. 

The trucks traveled to a staging area in Florida, from where the supplies were expected to be airlifted into Haiti.

Officials are ready if more equipment is needed in the coming days, and HAP is ready to react to whatever is requested.

“There is a whole laundry list of materials available, from generators, tents, stoves, medical supplies, blankets, clothing for adults and children, meals and more,” Lane said. “We are poised and ready to go with everything that we have here, and are getting it into a shipping posture, based on the requirement.”

The rapid movement of gear from here demonstrates the HAP’s and the Marine Corps’ ability to remain flexible when rapid response is needed in a wide variety of operations.

The International Red Cross reported that three million people were affected by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which Haitian officials have called a “catastrophe of major proportions.”

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke Jan. 13 of a quick, 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.

The HAP facility here at MCLB Albany is the only one in the U. S., and one of only three in the world, where excess DoD property is stored for quick shipment to areas of critical need.

The HAP utilizes two warehouses on the base, and is always vigilant to respond to critical disasters such as the one in Haiti.

Program officials also regularly ship supplies overseas for non-emergency situations as requested by the Department of State.


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