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Earthquake in Haiti: French aid finds its cruising speed

(BRUXELLES2) On the French side alone, there will soon be more than 1300 personnel engaged in relief operations after the earthquake in Haiti.

Today, there was – according to an assessment drawn up by the Quai d’Orsay –920 personnel engaged: 580 from the Ministry of the Interior, 321 military personnel, 10 reinforcement agents from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (1) and 9 personnel from the Ministry of Health. A reinforcement of 127 civil security personnel and 21 health personnel is expected tomorrow, Friday January 22, which will bring the French presence to 1068 people. To which we must add around 180 soldiers (from the crew of the boats and pilots who provide the airlift).

Participate in operations: a detachment from the 1st RSMa (adapted military service regiment), a detachment from the 33rd RIMa (marine infantry regiment), a detachment from the UISC (civil security intervention units), a detachment from Marseille firefighters , a detachment of the Paris fire brigade.

A real airlift set up

8 Planes
. Three to five military planes make daily rotations between Haiti and the Antilles. On the way out, bringing men and equipment to the site: 100 tonnes of emergency equipment and food delivered. On the return by evacuating the nationals to the Antilles. In total, there are today, on the Defense side, 7 aircraft engaged = 5 tactical transport aircraft (3 CASA from the FAA, 2 C130 Hercules from the Franche-Comté squadron), a military Airbus A310 from the ESTEREL squadron, and a Civil Security Dash 8. Military air resources reinforced by a FAA PUMA helicopter deployed to Haiti. To this must be added the planes chartered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Three planes chartered by the Quai left Paris yesterday with 20 tonnes of equipment and 20 tonnes of humanitarian cargo. And France is trying to charter a new plane by the end of the week to transport NGO staff and cargo (2).



2 ships. The light transport vessel BATRAL Francis Garnier was able to dock on January 19 on the “only available quay of the port, between half-submerged cranes and container ships between two waters” tell the military and unload its cargo (vehicles, tents and humanitarian cargo) in Haiti. The landing craft transport, TCD Siroco will arrive on January 24 with 4 helicopters, medical teams (+ 2 surgical blocks and 50 hospital beds) and 800 tons of material.
Balance sheet side of the action

14 survivors cleared. The rescue teams, assisted by a helicopter and a civil security plane, “have already completed 13 projects and are currently engaged in four new intervention sites”. Their action made it possible to “extricate 14 survivors from the rubble” (121 were extricated alive in total according to the UN).

4000 medical consultations. A field hospital (70 people, 33 tonnes) has been installed since January 17 on the grounds of the French high school and has a capacity for 25 major surgical interventions. “ It works at 150% » as explained by the French ambassador to Haiti, Didier Le Bret. It is reinforced by an advanced medical post (70 people, 6 tonnes) which ensures, upstream, reception and outpatient care and, downstream, the strengthening of hospitalization capacities. More than 4 medical consultations were carried out by these medical teams. A water purification station has been installed and can supply 000 people per day.

1115 people evacuated. Since January 13, air rotations have made it possible to evacuate 1 people, including 115 French nationals and 683 Haitians. 22 deaths of French people are confirmed. And there are still 11 missing.


(1) The MAEE crisis center also dispatched a team of six specialists in consular and humanitarian issues to the site. In Paris, the 50 crisis center agents remain fully mobilized to coordinate the French effort. Since the start of the crisis, an “adoption unit” has been set up within the crisis center and mobilizes 7 agents from the international adoption service. 

(2) French assistance resources are also made available to NGOs, 43 of whom are on site. Five new humanitarian workers and 15 tons of cargo left Paris yesterday for Port-au-Prince. 

(photo credit: Ministry of Defense FR)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).