Saturday, January 16, 2010

STATEMENT BY HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY JANET NAPOLITANO

DISASTER RESPONSE IN HAITI

“The Department of Homeland Security continues to extend sympathy for our Haitian neighbors and support the worldwide relief effort underway in every way we can. Four Coast Guard cutters have arrived in Haiti, in addition to a variety of Coast Guard assets that were already in the area to support military air traffic control, conduct damage assessments and rescue people in need of assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department—the lead U.S. federal agencies in the response—while coordinating the deployment of state and local Urban Search and Rescue Teams from across the country to Haiti and standing by to provide food, water and other resources as requested. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided aircraft to support response efforts. On Wednesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement halted all removals to Haiti for the time being in response to the devastation caused by Tuesday’s earthquake. The entire Department stands ready to receive evacuees safely and securely in the United States."

“Monetary contributions from individual Americans are the best way to immediately support the relief efforts of those who are working around-the-clock to help save lives in Haiti—and will help sustain these efforts over the long-term. The rebuilding process for the people of Haiti will undoubtedly be extremely difficult. I encourage every American who is interested in giving to participate in this response effort by providing support to those in need. You can visit www.whitehouse.gov/haitiearthquake to make your contribution.”

To see a video from Secretary Napolitano about what you can do to help earthquake recovery in Haiti, click here.

DHS Operational Response:

  • Four Coast Guard cutters, including Coast Guard Cutter Forward and Coast Guard cutter Mohawk, have arrived in Haiti equipped with specialized capabilities and rotary air assets to support the larger U.S. effort.
  • Five Coast Guard C-130 airplanes are flying the coast of Western Haiti doing damage assessments, searching for people in need of assistance. They have removed roughly 250 U.S. personnel from Haiti to the Dominican Republic and Guantanamo Bay at the direction of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti.
  • FEMA is coordinating and supporting the deployment of state and local Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Teams from across the country to Haiti. Currently, two US&R teams are on the ground, and two more are expected to arrive today. Five additional US&R teams have been activated and await deployment. These teams are made up of specially-trained state and local first responders and come from across the country.
  • CBP is providing P-3 aircraft to support response efforts. The aircraft are providing air traffic control in support of Homeland Security Task Force Southeast. TSA has hundreds of officers on standby to provide screening of flights from Haiti. Relief mission flights are currently arriving in the United States.

If you would like to help:

If you are seeking information on family members in Haiti, contact:

  • U.S. Department of State: 888-407-4747

This disaster has called the world to action in response and the Department of Homeland Security continues to support the worldwide relief effort in every way possible.

This news story and other Community Preparedness news can be found on our website at www.citizencorps.gov.

Sincerely,

The National Office of Citizen Corps
FEMA Community Preparedness Division

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