The Corps is sending roughly 200 Marines from the Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, based 1st Battalion, 6th Marines to Haiti in support of the military’s effort to help the nation after it was struck by a devastating earthquake.
Haiti was struck by a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, which quickly was followed by a tropical depression on Monday. So far the disasters have resulted in the deaths of more than 2,000 people, Reuters reported on Thursday.
More than 9,900 people are injured, UNICEF estimated, and roughly 500,000 Haitian children have limited or no access to shelter, safe water, health care or nutrition. The organization estimated that more than 1.2 million people have been affected by the earthquake and storm.
In response, U.S. Southern Command established Joint Task Force-Haiti to use military assets in support of a USAID-led disaster response mission.
The task force mostly includes ships and aircraft from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard that are working to help find stranded survivors from the disaster, deliver medical supplies and provide direct medical assistance.
The 200 Marines will be used to provide security to the task force, Maj. Thomas Perna, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces South told Marine Corps Times on Wednesday.
The military aid is most effective in the early stages of disaster relief, said 2nd Marine Division spokeswoman 1st Lt. Sydney Murkins,“when fewer resources and disaster-response experts are available to help victims and impacted communities.”
“As those disaster-relief operations progress, and more uniquely experienced experts arrive to assist with longer-term recovery and reconstruction, the need for U.S. military capabilities diminishes, and other, more experienced relief personnel and organizations assume the roles previously performed by military troops and units,” Murkins said in a Thursday email.