We've all seen that the earthquake in Haiti has caused a terrible humanitarian crisis. We at DOT want to do all we can to help the Haitian people begin putting their lives back together.
And in the last few days, we've begun doing just that.
- Federal Aviation Administration: setting up a portable air traffic control tower, working to improve the flow of air traffic moving in and out of Haiti
- Maritime Administration: deployed six vessels from its Ready Reserve Force to support relief efforts
- Federal Transit Administration: granted emergency permission to deploy transit ferry Cayo Largo from San Juan, Puerto Rico, with search & rescue teams and relief supplies
The FAA's air traffic control tower is a real symbol of DOT’s contribution to our government’s swift and considerable efforts to help Haiti deal with this terrible tragedy.
Now, our participation is but a small part of the huge humanitarian effort underway in Haiti, but I'm proud that DOT can participate in the relief process, and I'm proud that DOT employees have stepped up to make this happen.
FAA's seven-member team is working with Haitians and US military air traffic controllers providing technical assistance for air traffic management and runway safety evaluations. FAA also granted two exemptions from current aviation restrictions, expanding the pool of aircraft available for relief efforts by making them easier to charter.
Sending MARAD's six vessels will help those on the front line of this effort save as many lives in Haiti as possible. These ships can move tremendous volumes of cargo or people. They add crucial capacity to the relief operations' ability to move supplies and people where they are most needed.
As Acting Maritime Administrator David Matsuda said, "These ships and skilled crews are ideally suited
to assist in Haiti by providing unique capabilities. One cargo ship can carry as much as 400 fully loaded cargo planes."
The two fast-ferries from the Ready Reserve Force will really help relief workers on the ground by allowing quick movements of people in and out of Haiti from various staging points.
The FTA's deployment of the Puerto Rican transit ferry Cayo Largo immediately carried rescue workers, vehicles and precious medicine from San Juan to the port of Baraona, Dominican Republic.
And we are not done contributing to this massive humanitarian operation. The US and Haiti share many ties, and DOT will continue to mobilize what we can to support our friends in their urgent need.