U.S. Southern Command Ends Major Military Operations In Haiti

The U.S. Southern Command on Tuesday said it was ending major military relief operations in Haiti aimed at aiding the nation after the January earthquake, Reuters reports. “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 Pentagon has been drawing down the number of soldiers in the impoverished Caribbean country steadily in recent months,” the news service writes. 

Five hundred U.S. National Guard Troops will remain in Haiti through September to assist with humanitarian projects, the command said (6/1).

Also on Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton arrived in Leogne, Haiti, to examine rebuilding efforts and meet with aid workers, the Miami Herald reports (Charles, 6/2). Clinton “is making his first visit to the Caribbean nation since he was named co-chair of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Committee overseeing billions in aid,” according to the Associated Press/USA Today (6/1).

“Clinton said he wasn’t happy with the progress so far but was pleased with efforts to provide temporary shelter,” the Miami Herald writes. An area tour “revealed a lack of coordination by aid groups, conflicts between landowners and quake victims, no clear government directives, and a population increasingly dependent on foreign aid,” according to the newspaper.

During the visit, Clinton said his foundation would donate $2 million to the rebuilding effort, “consisting of $1 million for disaster preparedness and hurricane safety and another $1 million for the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC) that is working to spend more than $5 billion in foreign aid.” The newspaper notes that the Haitian government has also pledged $1 million for the commission, “which held its first meeting Tuesday night in the Dominican Republic” (6/2).

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