LEGHORN ARMY DEPOT, Italy — The 3/405th Army Field Support Brigade completed operations in support of U.S. Agency for International Development emergency relief efforts in Haiti, Jan. 18.
The Caribbean country of Haiti was devastated last week by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, prompting Kenneth Merten, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, to declare a disaster due to the effects of the earthquake. The Government of Haiti estimates that at least 65,000 people perished in the disaster, the U.N. approximates that at least three million people are affected and the International Organization for Migration reports that roughly 200,000 Haitians have been displaced.
Due to the overwhelming devastation in the area, USAID contacted the 3/405th AFSB and requested delivery of humanitarian aid supplies. The 3/405th AFSB is responsible for the storage and maintenance of USAID emergency humanitarian assistance commodities under an interagency agreement between the U.S. Army and the U.S. State Department and is experienced in the shipment of humanitarian aid supplies at a moment's notice.
"USAID keeps our warehouses stocked for emergencies such as this, and we're well-equipped to get the supplies where USAID needs them as quickly as possible," said Lt. Col. (Promotable) Roger McCreery, commander of the 3/405th AFSB. "We are grateful for the opportunity to assist the people of Haiti and to help alleviate their suffering in our own small way."
After receiving notification of needed supplies from USAID, the 3/405th AFSB prepared four 10,000 liter water bladders, eight water purification units, 18,000 ten liter water containers and 24,000 personal hygiene kits for shipment to Haiti. (Each hygiene kit includes laundry detergent, shampoo, soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush, as well as other personal hygiene supplies a family might need in the event of a disaster).
The humanitarian aid supplies were transported by truck to the Pisa International Airport, where the materials were loaded onto an airplane for delivery to Port au Prince, Haiti, where they will be distributed to earthquake-affected individuals.
"Our location in Italy gives us a unique logistics capability," McCreery explained. "Because we have access to rail, sea and air transport capabilities within 30 minutes of Leghorn Army Depot, we can execute loading and transportation missions quickly and efficiently, ensuring that the aid reaches the disaster area as quickly as possible."
The battalion has a long working relationship with USAID, previously having shipped supplies to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and the Republic of Georgia, among other locations.