U.S. Army Civil Affairs teams making a difference in Hinche
February 18, 2010
HINCHE, Haiti - A civil affairs team from U.S. Army Special Operations Command along with United Nations officials and non-governmental organizations helped facilitate the distribution of food and medical aid Feb. 13 for more than 380 families from the Haitian city of Hinche.
The distribution was the first since the formation of a local humanitarian aid coordination committee organized by the Hinche city government. The food, which consisted of a two-week supply of rice, beans, flour and oil, was distributed to the community by local Haitian volunteers from World Vision.
"The food distribution is a promising step in the right direction, though organizations need to be preparing for long-term solutions as well," said Capt. Luis, an Army civil affairs team leader based out of Hinche. "We're trying to make sure NGOs and the local government work together to request assistance through the system the United Nations has in place so we get the right aid and assistance to those in need."
Civil affairs soldiers also assisted a team of doctors from an NGO in treating approximately 50 children at a Hinche orphanage.
More than 200 children currently live at the orphanage, which is run by a Haitian outreach organization. Supporting doctors are from the Haiti Endowment Fund, an organization that provides food and medical aid, as well as educational services for Haitian citizens. Prior to the engagement, the NGOs were working separately and were unaware of each other's presence. But thanks to the work of the U.S. Army civil affairs teams on the ground, the two organizations were able to link up and begin working together.
"I'm glad we were able to connect two different organizations that are doing so much good here in Hinche, and now we are seeing the effects that these organizations are providing for so many kids in need," said Capt. Luis. "It's very encouraging."