Haiti: US, UN beef up troop strength
The US is sending another 4,000 sailors and marines to Haiti for the earthquake relief mission, diverting them from deployments in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and three-ship USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group would "significantly" increase the ability to quickly provide aid, the Navy said. The move will increase the number of US troops involved to about 16,000. (BBC News, Jan. 20)
The United Nations also said it would send an additional 3,500 troops and police to Haiti to beef up its 9,000-strong force there. Brazilian UN peacekeepers helped Haitian police recapture some of the 4,000 prison inmates who escaped from a collapsed jail after the quake. Canada has also deployed 2,000 troops, although the Haitian government rejected an offer from the neighboring Dominican Republic to send 800 troops.
However, while military escorts were needed to deliver relief, the UN said security problems were mainly restricted to areas already considered "high risk" before the disaster. "I have seen no indications that lead me to believe that the security situation is deteriorating," said General Floriano Peixoto, chief of the Brazilian UN peacekeeping contingent which leads the UN mission in Haiti. (AlJazeera, Jan. 20)
See our last posts on Haiti.