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
Lexile: 1030L

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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 bolster 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, commander of the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima, said the eight helicopters on the ship will start ferrying 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, doctors warn of a surge in the disease cholera and anger is rising in remote communities still awaiting aid a week after the hurricane struck.
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

  • averys-lew
    10/27/2016 - 12:50 p.m.

    I think it is very respectful of the marines to go and help those people.

  • aaronr-lew
    10/27/2016 - 01:01 p.m.

    I love the military they help everyone.

  • shaneh-lam
    10/28/2016 - 08:47 a.m.

    I am very happy that our government is helping Haiti through there trouble. Our country is showing what every country should do in this situation. Help your fellow humans because it is only right. And I believe that the reason they are going by sea is to see if they can help people that are stranded. And because air could be dangerous to travel by. And if they travel by sea they can bring more supplies because they can put it underneath the floor of the boat.

  • dannyp-mac
    11/02/2016 - 10:01 a.m.

    Really good what the U.S government its doing for other people, and i think that Haiti should make a really good government, because its people are not really happy.

  • sadielp1-mac
    11/02/2016 - 11:46 a.m.

    Because maybe most of the airports where destroy and the ocean is the best way to get there.

  • tgracie-dav
    11/17/2016 - 06:00 p.m.

    In response to "Marines on their way to Haiti," I agree that the marines should go to Haiti . One reason I agree is that lots f people need medical help. Another reason is that there are a lot of people suffering there. A third reason a lot of people are getting sick and ill because of hurricane Matthew. Even though we cant help everyone, I think we can help a lot of people.

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