Wednesday, June 2, 2010

U.S. Military Ends Earthquake Relief Effort in Haiti

Published: June 1, 2010

MIAMI (Reuters) - The U.S. military announced the end of major relief operations in Haiti on Tuesday, nearly five months after the country's devastating January 12 earthquake.

Spearheaded by the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, thousands of American troops were deployed in Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response.

The troops helped to distribute food and keep the peace after the quake, which killed more than 300,000 people, according to Haitian government estimates.

The Pentagon has been drawing down the number of soldiers in the impoverished Caribbean country steadily in recent months. The end of Operation Unified Response was announced on Tuesday by the U.S. Southern Command.

Despite the announcement, the Miami-based command said a 500-strong contingent of U.S. National Guard Troops would be engaged in humanitarian assistance projects in rural Haiti through September.

Many Haitians are still in desperate need of shelter in the aftermath of the quake, a situation that threatens to get worse with Tuesday's start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Relief workers say more than 1.5 million quake survivors are still living in storm-prone, crowded tent camps in and around the wrecked capital Port-au-Prince.

(Editing by Sandra Maler)

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