US to send Navy ship to aid hurricane-hit Haiti

2016-10-08 07:04
The United States is sending the Mesa Verde to aid Haiti where Hurricane Matthew claimed at least 400 lives and caused catastrophic damage. (MC1 Josue L Escobosa, US NAVY via AFP)

The United States is sending the Mesa Verde to aid Haiti where Hurricane Matthew claimed at least 400 lives and caused catastrophic damage. (MC1 Josue L Escobosa, US NAVY via AFP)

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WATCH: Hurricane Matthew batters Florida's coast

2016-10-07 15:37

Residents of Florida, USA, finally began to feel the effects of Hurricane Matthew on Friday as the storm battered the East Coast with devastating winds, rain and storm surges. Watch.WATCH

Washington - The United States is sending a Navy ship to aid Haiti, where Hurricane Matthew claimed at least 400 lives and caused catastrophic damage, a US defence official said on Friday.

"The USS Mesa Verde has received an order to support the Southcom humanitarian effort in Haiti," the official said. Its 300 Marines will add to the 250 personnel and nine helicopters already ordered to deploy to Haiti.

The final storm toll in Haiti is expected to rise even higher, with mass destruction reported across the south of the country, the poorest in the Americas.

Matthew's torrential rain and winds of around 230km/h destroyed more than 29 000 homes in Haiti's hard-hit Sud department alone, and displaced more than 20 000 people, the local authorities said.

Haiti's southern city of Jeremie suffered "complete destruction," with 80% of the buildings levelled, relief agencies said.

Some 350 000 people need assistance, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The Mesa Verde is transporting Marine teams that specialize in medical-emergency assistance and reconstruction.

The vessel is also carrying three heavy-transport CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters and landing craft.

It left Norfolk, Virginia on Wednesday and had been waiting at sea for an order to deploy.

Before giving it the green light, Washington was gathering information about Haiti's needs as well as how the hurricane was progressing up the US East Coast after leaving the Caribbean.

Two more US military ships, the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and the hospital ship USNS Comfort, are also at sea, ready for possible deployment.

Read more on:    us  |  haiti  |  weather  |  hurricane matthew

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