Marines on their way to Haiti Residents line up for food after Hurricane Matthew in Anse D'Hainault, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. Nearly a week after the storm smashed into southwestern Haiti, some communities along the southern coast have yet to receive any assistance, leaving residents who have lost their homes and virtually all of their belongings struggling to find shelter and potable water. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery/Ben Finley)
Marines on their way to Haiti
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A U.S. Navy warship is bringing hundreds of Marines and sailors, along with power generators, water purifiers and bulldozers, to strengthen relief efforts in Haiti. The Caribbean country is where Hurricane Matthew has left at least 750,000 people desperately in need of assistance.
 
Capt. James Midkiff is the commander of the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima. He said the eight helicopters on the ship will ferry food and medical supplies for aid organizations upon arrival. The Iwo Jima can also provide medical help in Haiti. That is where hundreds have died. The injured languish unattended in hospitals as doctors warn of a surge in the disease cholera. Anger is rising in remote communities that still await aid.
 
The Iwo Jima is carrying more than 1,100 sailors and 600 Marines. With them, the number of U.S. military personnel in Haiti to provide relief will rise to about 2,500.
 
For the Marines and sailors, the plan is to "alleviate some of the suffering that is going on and prevent any additional loss of life," said Lt. Col. Christopher Hafer. He is the commanding officer of the Marines' Combat Logistics Battalion 24.
 
Matthew has officially left 473 people dead as of Oct. 11. That is according to the National Civil Protection headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. But local officials in one southwestern region, Grand-Anse, said the death toll there alone tops 500.
 
The U.N. humanitarian agency in Geneva has made an emergency appeal for nearly $120 million in aid. About three-quarters of a million people in southwest Haiti alone will need "life-saving assistance and protection" in the next three months, the agency reported.
 
Midkiff said the Iwo Jima dodged Hurricane Matthew twice and Tropical Storm Nicole as it collected Marines and supplies. Then it headed for Haiti. The ship left its homeport in Mayport, Florida, as the base was being evacuated ahead of Matthew.
 
"It sounds like I'm making some of this stuff up," he said.
 
The Navy then directed the Iwo Jima to Norfolk, Virginia. It picked up some Marines, and then headed for Haiti.
 
Along the way, it encountered the outer bands of Matthew and then the swells from Nicole. The latter strengthened into a hurricane. The Iwo Jima also collected some Osprey aircraft and more Marines from the George Washington. The GW is an aircraft carrier whose orders to help out in the storm-hit Bahamas were canceled. The Iwo Jima will relieve the USS Mesa Verde. It is another ship that has been helping in Haiti but needs to prepare for a future deployment.
 
Matthew Estes is a 31-year-old Navy medic from Corryton, Tennessee. He said he's excited to help Haitian civilians who are "devastated down there."
 
"Before I left, I was nervous, anxious and overwhelmed with excitement," he said. "I'm doing the job that I want to do - that I joined to do."
 
He was an emergency medical technician in Tennessee as well as a landscaper before joining up.
 
"My wife was a little upset. But she understands the pick-up-and-go," he said. "She cried a little on the phone but then texted me and said this is what you joined to do, what you love to do."
 
Marine Lance Cpl. Shawn Durrell, 20, of Compton, California, said he expects to work hard.
 
"It's one of the biggest experiences of my life," he said. "Not only are we going to a different country, we're seeing what we can do. And we're here to help. One of the biggest things in life is to help."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are the marines traveling by ship instead of by air?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (37)
  • pcaroline-dav
    10/19/2016 - 09:15 a.m.

    In response to the marines taking over supplies to haiti,I agree that the marines should be bring them generators and water and their necessity. One reason I agree is that we should treat other countries that need help how we would want to be treated if we need help. Another reason is that a lot of people lost their lives so we need to help them so more do not die. It says in the article that 473 people died as of October 11. A third reason is that Haiti is hit by almost every hurricane and they are so small that it destroys the whole country. . Even though We didn't need to bring them , I think if we did not help them they would of suffered more.

  • belindav-stu
    10/19/2016 - 09:54 a.m.

    so cool i learned a lot

  • nates-kor
    10/19/2016 - 09:58 a.m.

    Why are the marines traveling by ship instead of by air?

    The marines are traveling by ship instead of air because Haiti because it would cost less and hold more people

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  • kirshaunm-orv
    10/19/2016 - 02:46 p.m.

    They might not have a Landing zone so they have to come in by boat.

  • olivial-orv
    10/19/2016 - 05:54 p.m.

    I think that its really nice that the Navy is going to help victims of the storm's. I think it's really unfortunate that things like this happen, so it's nice that people are going to help.

  • dylans1-har
    10/19/2016 - 08:23 p.m.

    Why doe marines travel in the water instead of the air? They do this because it is more dangerous flyign in the air. This is because there could be storms and people that can knock out the plane. They can benifit from the underwater traveling because thay can not damage as much equipment and people would be in less danger. In conclusion traveling under water is better then traveling by air.

  • jadenr1-har
    10/20/2016 - 01:20 p.m.

    Marines traveling by ship because the parties might of got stuck in the hurricanes. They could have crash their planes into the hurricanes. If they did it by a boat know one would have died. They might not have enough gas for planes. If they did it by boat they could have a lot of space for the passengers.

  • jacklynt-ste
    10/20/2016 - 05:05 p.m.

    I think that it is really sad how hurt Hati got from the hurricane. It is really cool though how everyone can come together and help them out. Hopefully the US can continue to help out Hati in the future.

  • daltons1-ste
    10/21/2016 - 08:30 a.m.

    I think it is a good thing hat we are sending help to Haiti. They need the help since the hurricane. This is great.

  • chadm-orv
    10/21/2016 - 11:17 a.m.

    Because ship can carry a lot more people.

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