Video: Armed Forces Respond to Hurricane Matthew
The U.S. Coast Guard and the United States Navy have been assisting with disaster recovery from Haiti to North Carolina in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew.
The USS Mesa Verde, an amphibious transport docking vessel, arrived in Haiti on Sunday; she departed Norfolk last week in anticipation of the need for relief logistics.
Rear Adm. Roy Kitchener, the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group Two, took a flight over Haiti on Sunday to assess damage from the hurricane, and met with U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Peter Mulrean, who is coordinating American efforts to assist the Haitian government.
"Mesa Verde and the Twenty-Fourth Marine Expeditionary Unit are part of a larger U.S. response to the government of Haiti's request for humanitarian assistance," said Kitchener. "We are committed to working closely with our international partners to provide Haitians with the support they need."
Kitchener also met with Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, the commander of the joint response, and with representatives of the United Nations and of Brazilian relief forces.
The Navy has also deployed the hospital ship USNS Comfort and the carrier George Washington to assist with relief.
The U.S. Coast Guard has deployed the National Security Cutter Hamilton, the medium endurance cutters Harriet Lane and Thetis, and the buoy tender Elm to provide logistics support.
A helicopter crew from the Hamilton conducted damage assessment flights; Haiti's interim president Jocelerme Privert, and U.S. Ambassador Mulrean joined Coast Guard crews to assess damage and visit the people of the hard-hit town of Jeremie.
The Dutch Navy is also joining the response, dispatching one vessel from Curacao with one more being readed with supplies. Dutch Overseas Aid Minister Lilianne Ploumen said in a statement that "by getting there quickly we can work to prevent a further deterioration in the situation."
Coast Guard helicopter crews from District Seven provided damage assessment flights along the affected coastlines, including overflights for public officials like South Carolina's Senator Tim Scott and Florida's Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson.
USCG helicopter air crews also provided search and rescue assistance following the passage of the storm. A Coast Guard crew rescued eight people from rooftops in Pinetops, North Carolina, who were stranded by high water.
Separately, the Coast Guard rescued two individuals from a grounded vessel near Shallotte, North Carolina. Their fishing boat went aground in Lockwood Folly River, and an MH-60 helicopter crew out of Air Station Savannah picked them up about four hours after the grounding.
An Air Station Savannah crew also rescued a man from a grounded 35-foot sailboat on North Carolina’s Bull River, hoisting him away by manbasket.