On our site’s news section, we’ve written many times about the diverse uses of Black Hawk helicopters around the world for commercial and military applications. Along with these applications, though, there are many uses of Black Hawk helicopters for disaster assistance in cases of wildfires, floods, and other calamities.
Recently, the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) created a joint task force for Haiti to provide airlift support and other necessities in the aftermath of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that affected the Tiburon Peninsula in the southern portion of the country. Read on to learn about the joint task force, the use of Black Hawk helicopters, and the relief efforts in Haiti.
The 2021 Haiti Earthquake
On the morning of August 14, 2021, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti with its hypocenter being situated near Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, approximately 150 kilometers west of the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince.
The event has been reported to have been the deadliest earthquake in 2021, as well as the deadliest natural disaster of 2021. Following the earthquake, approximately 650,000 people were in need of some form of assistance, and relief efforts continued throughout the month of August.
U.S. Southern Command’s Response with Black Hawk Helicopters
Considering the significant crisis Haiti was facing, the country was greatly in need of the support of the international community for aid. Countries and institutions that offered financial and disaster support included Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, the United Nations, and the United States.
For the United States’ response to the earthquake, President Joe Biden began coordinating relief efforts which led to $32 million being utilized for food, medical services, shelters, drinking water, and sanitary items.
Along with these efforts, the Joint Task Force – Haiti was established by the U.S. Southern Command on August 15 to provide support to the people of Haiti. As part of the relief efforts, SOUTHCOM and the U.S. military provided the following:
- The task force included a 14-person Situational Awareness Team to assess the situation following the earthquake and determine the best methods and means for assistance
- The U.S. Navy utilized the ScanEagle unmanned air system and the P-8 Poseidon aircraft to supply aerial photography of the earthquake’s aftermath in an effort to aid relief planners in determining capabilities and properly allocating supplies
- Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters along with two CH-47 helicopters were deployed by the task force to provide the crucial airlift support needed to rescue survivors
This final aspect, the use of helicopters for airlift relief efforts, was seen as particularly vital, as the early stages of a disaster are when such resources are most needed, especially as local and international authorities are still coordinating. Many lives can be saved during this stage, as was the case in Haiti.
More Black Hawk Rescue Efforts
Here are a few other Cutting Dynamics posts about Black Hawks being put to use during disasters:
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