PORT-AU PRINCE, Haiti (Feb. 19, 2010) -- Citizens living in a sprawling tent city in north Port-au-Prince were visited by members of a U.S. Special Operations civil affairs team Feb. 18, as part of an effort to assess conditions in the camp and better align the delivery of food and medical aid.
Civil affairs teams attached to the 82nd Airborne Division have been partnering with non-governmental organizations, the United Nations and other relief agencies to ensure vital aid is being delivered to Haiti's citizens who are most in need.
"The assessments we make at this camp will be sent to other agencies and NGOs who provide relief to the displaced people living here," said Capt. Mike, a team leader of a Special Operations civil affairs team operating in the area. "The reports we produce help keep these relief organizations better informed about the actual needs of the people."
Civil affairs specialists said their assessments in the camp are concentrated on community governance, medical conditions, and security.
"It's important for us to actually go in these camps and get direct feedback from the people," said Capt Mike. "We find out there are things they do quite well as a community, despite the circumstances they're in, while in other areas they may need more assistance."
On any given day, that assistance may vary. While visiting the camp, a Special Operations combat medic assigned to the team had the opportunity to provide medical care to a young Haitian girl who had fallen ill.
"I'm here to do medical assessments, but there's a point where you just have to help people when you see a need," said Staff Sgt. Michael. "It was a small gesture, but we did our part to make conditions better for people in this camp today."