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Haiti - Humanitarian : Disaster response facilities near Les Cayes
10/05/2011 12:52:39

Haiti - Humanitarian : Disaster response facilities near Les Cayes
Yesterday a ground-breaking ceremony to begin construction of disaster response infrastructure was held near the town of Les Cayes. The project includes an Emergency Operations Center, a Disaster Relief Warehouse, and a Community Cluster.

Several local and U.S. officials attended this event, including U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten, Haitian Minister of the Interior Paul Antoine Bien-Aime, and the Mayor of Les Cayes Yvon Chery.

Functional emergency operations centers and disaster relief warehouses are critical to saving lives and minimizing damage to property immediately after disasters. The Emergency Operations Center will allow local emergency response personnel to collect and analyze reported information, make decisions, and manage Haiti’s collective response to emergencies or natural disasters. The warehouse will store the materials necessary to respond and provide relief for people affected. The Community Cluster is a complex of buildings, including a community center, 8-room school, medical clinic, and water well. These facilities will increase the quality of life of the local population and serve as the nucleus of the community.

After the January 12, 2010, earthquake, the U.S. government has helped the Haitian government strengthen its emergency response capacity with respect to emergencies and natural disasters. Working in partnership with the Haitian government, including the Direction of Civil Protection, several projects are underway throughout the country.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Merten said: "The U.S. government, through Southern Command, is working in partnership with the Government of Haiti to construct these facilities. We intend to build emergency operations centers and disaster relief warehouses in every department, plus eight community clusters, and fourteen fire stations throughout Haiti. These projects will strengthen Haiti's vital infrastructure and its ability to confront and respond to fire and natural disasters."

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