Comments: Haitian Hell

We do already have the Mercy Ships, who do a great job of being floating hospitals around the Caribbean. Makes sense to support the infrastructure we've got before deploying new (and expensive) gear, no?


Posted by Brian L. at January 13, 2010 12:17 PM

I don't know if you missed the gist of the post or what, but he was mentioning Tarawa AAS', which aren't new, nor is operating them as expensive as it could be.

Posted by GS at January 13, 2010 12:25 PM

GS -- Not trying to disparage any existing efforts; just pointing out other operations that are already out there.


Posted by Brian L. at January 13, 2010 01:25 PM

The Mercy Ships are effective as hospitals, but the conversion of the Tarawa class ships would be into Disaster response ships. They would have the ability to support many SAR helicopters at once, and would be able to have on board vehicles, heavy equipment and smaller boats which would help the search. They would also have hospital facilities, desalinization, large stores of fuel, emergency food and water, and quarters for rescuers and victims. The majority of major disasters (in this country and in most others) are Hurricanes and Earthquakes and usually most damage happens along a coast line. It makes perfect sense to convert these ships into something that would be very useful to so many in their time of need.

Posted by Web at January 13, 2010 02:23 PM

Unfortunately for Haiti, the current administration would much rather posture than do anything useful.

However the idea is sound - retask a helicopter assault ship for rescue operations. They do have all the facilities, and, as we already have them, along with trained crew, it really does make a lot of sense.

Now to find someone with the credibility to get this on an agenda somewhere...

Posted by wpw at January 13, 2010 02:41 PM

I just heard The One on the radio and he is promising a coordinated response.

What is a coordinated response?

Posted by David at January 13, 2010 02:47 PM

Usually that means military airlift for civilian and/or military personnel and supplies, but with this administration, who knows?

Just so people understand the size of the ships being discussed in the original post,
this is a Tarawa-class vessel (coincidentally photographed at Morehead City State Port).

Historically the US has made use of carriers for natural disaster recovery.

Posted by wpw at January 13, 2010 02:58 PM

It is a sound idea. An aircraft carrier can do a lot, but it is not the most efficient means of delivering disaster relief. Dedicated ships could do so much more, at less cost, and for an extended duration.

Haiti, for all intents and purposes, has ceased to exist as a nation. This relief effort is going to last for years.

Posted by ThomasD at January 14, 2010 12:37 AM