(MILITARY TIMES) Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano authorized the temporary activation of up to 900 Coast Guard reservists Tuesday to bolster the more than 500 Coast Guard personnel already serving in Haiti as part of the U.S. response to a Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated the country’s capital.
Hundreds of thousands of Haitians remain homeless, hungry and in mourning. Some estimates put the death toll at 200,000.
“Activating our reserve Coast Guard forces will expand our capacity to assist in aid efforts in Haiti,” Napolitano said. “These brave men and women will join the thousands of U.S. and international personnel already working together on humanitarian and recovery efforts in response to this tragedy.”
The Pentagon announced Wednesday that 2,000 more Marines would be sent to Haiti, adding to the 11,500 U.S. military personnel already on the ground or on ships offshore — a number expected to reach 16,000 by week’s end.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen is authorized to order the activation of up to 900 reservists of the selected reserve and individual ready reserve for a period of up to 180 days.
The Coast Guard will use more than 100 of the newly activated reserve personnel — who are expected to arrive within 96 hours of activation — to strengthen port security operations in Port-au-Prince. Additional reserve personnel will support the Coast Guard’s 7th District based in Miami and Homeland Security Task Force Southeast operations, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department, the lead U.S. federal agencies in the response.
On Saturday, President Obama signed an executive order authorizing the activation of a number of reserve military personnel to support the relief and recovery operations in Haiti — including Coast Guard units.
Since Jan. 12, the Coast Guard, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has led `DHS actions to support the larger U.S. government assistance effort. Four Coast Guard cutters, a buoy tender, a patrol craft, and numerous planes and helicopters in the area are providing port security and air traffic control support, conducting damage assessments, delivering supplies, evacuating U.S. citizens and assisting in medical treatment.