28 October 2009
General Douglas Fraser, the new Commanding General of the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) visited Haiti to inspect U.S. military assistance programs and to strengthen the USSOUTHCOM’s excellent working relationships with the country’s security and government institutions.
After meeting with U.S. Ambassador Merten and U.S. Embassy staff, General Fraser called on the President of the Republic, His Excellency Rene Preval, and met with Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Hedi Annabi and MINUSTAH Commander General Floriano Peixoto.
General Fraser’s visit is part of ongoing U.S. Government efforts to build and strengthen regional partnerships, to improve coordination on regional security and increase capacity to respond to natural disasters. USSOUTHCOM is currently funding the construction of a national emergency operations center and warehouse in Port-au-Prince Haiti, which will strengthen the ability of the Haitian Government’s Directorate of Civil Protection (DPC) to coordinate response to hurricanes, flooding and other national emergencies.
The U.S. military has also conducted, and will continue, various humanitarian missions to deliver medical, dental and eye care to Haitian patients in need. These missions also improve permanent capacity by providing training for Haitian medical professionals and renovating of medical infrastructure. The most recent mission of this type was a humanitarian mission to southeastern Haiti in September 2009, which provided treatment to 8,300 residents of Jacmel, Cayes-Jacmel, Marigot, and the April 2009 visit of the hospital ship USNS Comfort, which provided medical care for 6,700 citizens in the Port-au-Prince Metropolitan area.
The United States remains committed to working in partnership with the Government of Haiti and other international donors, and is investing $300 million in fiscal year 2009 assistance to Haiti. The areas of cooperation include economic growth, strengthening democratic institutions, improving security, providing education and health services, improving access to food and reducing the impact of natural disasters. The United States also continues collaboration with the Government of Haiti to implement 96 million dollars in hurricane reconstruction assistance, which has provided temporary employment to thousands of Haitians and repaired roads, clinics and schools damaged during the 2008 hurricane season. (End of text)