Marines on their way to Haiti
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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Why are the marines traveling by ship instead of by air?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • jwats-wim4
    10/21/2016 - 11:29 a.m.

    i think that what the marines are doing is great

  • svazq-wim4
    10/21/2016 - 11:32 a.m.

    They are traveling by ship instead of by air because, first flying 1,100 sailors and 600 Marines would cost a lot of money. Also a aircraft carrier can hold more food and supplies that they need.

  • wschl-wim4
    10/21/2016 - 11:36 a.m.

    Why are they saving people in Haiti, when they are even not the same country then us?

  • ygadh-wim4
    10/21/2016 - 11:41 a.m.

    The marines are traveling by ship because flying near the hurricane and tropical storm would be dangerous due to the high winds, blinding rains, and if they crash, all the supplies and people would be lost at sea.

  • wcarl5-sam
    10/21/2016 - 11:55 a.m.

    Marines travel by water mostly because the Earth is made of water and the USA is a part of a world industry of travel.

  • lwhor-wim5
    10/21/2016 - 12:43 p.m.

    I think the marines are doing a good deed here. Instead of getting there quicker by air they are traveling by boat. I think this is a great idea because you can carry more supplies. The marines are bringing medical support, food, water and other supplies to help Haiti get back on there feet. Thank you Marines for everything you do to help other people.

  • oturner5-sam
    10/21/2016 - 12:52 p.m.

    Probably because there is more water than land and the ship in the passage can bring planes just in case if they need to fly.

  • trietveld5-sam
    10/21/2016 - 12:53 p.m.

    They are traveling by ship because if they traveled by air and there was a storm they would more likely die.When they travel by ship they are more likely to float over the waves.

  • hayleel-ste
    10/21/2016 - 01:04 p.m.

    The Caribbean country is where Hurricane Matthew has left at least 750,000 people desperately in need of assistance. Thankfully Marines are looking and reaching out to help.

  • samanthas-1-ste
    10/21/2016 - 01:24 p.m.

    I think it is incredibly sad that Haiti had to go through this hurricane. I am really glad we are helping them out as much as we can.

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