Haïti : press release from the ministry of foreign affairs, Paris, 18 January 2010
Continuing her active efforts to help the Haitian population suffering so terribly from the 12 January earthquake, France has decided to respond to the emergency appeal for Haiti launched by the United Nations on Friday, 16 January with a contribution of €10 million.
France immediately mobilized to deploy civilian and military personnel on the ground to come to the aid of the Haitian people and assist the 1,400 French nationals living in Haiti.
1. Personnel and equipment deployed
246 rescuers, 235 support and command personnel, 29 gendarmes and 9 dogs are deployed, with 130 tonnes of equipment. The French search-and-rescue and rubble-clearing teams have already worked on 8 sites and are currently working on a new one. They have located and extricated from the rubble 13 survivors. A field hospital (70 people, 33 tonnes), an advanced medical unit (70 people, 6 tonnes) and 10 mobile medical teams are currently at work in Port-au-Prince. A water purification unit has been installed capable of supplying up to 20,000 people a day. A sécurité civile [emergency services] helicopter is assisting the rescuers. 3 military planes are making daily round trips between Haiti and the French West Indies and have already delivered 27.5 tonnes of equipment and emergency supplies (food and drinking water) to Port-au-Prince. In addition France has decided to make a €2 million exceptional food allocation. These deployments were made rapidly thanks to the efficiency and excellent spirit of cooperation of the American air traffic control authorities at Port-au-Prince airport.
2. French community
Since the onset of the crisis, nearly 10,000 calls have been made to the crisis centre’s special Haiti situation telephone numbers. In response to these calls and thanks to the work of the teams on the ground, 440 French nationals have been located and found safe and sound in Haiti.
There has regrettably been confirmation of the deaths of 12 French nationals, whilst we are still without news of 14 others.Since 13 January, 5 daily round-trip flights have evacuated 677 people – 596 French nationals, 54 Haitians, 20 non-French European citizens and 7 people of other nationalities – from Haiti to the French West Indies.
3. The effort is continuing
Another aircraft chartered by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs left Paris on 17 January carrying 100 search-and-rescue and rubble-clearing specialists and a consular crisis team tasked with helping in the evacuation. The plane will arrive in Haiti in the middle of the day (Paris time).
A Defence Ministry C-130 is being deployed this afternoon to deliver humanitarian aid and transport French nationals evacuated from Haiti to the French West Indies.
2 French naval vessels (a light transport and landing ship and landing platform dock [ship]) will arrive in the area in the next few days, strengthening our capabilities : civil engineering equipment, vehicles, 2 heavy helicopters and 2 light helicopters.
A plane carrying around 20 tonnes of humanitarian aid is scheduled to leave France for Port-au-Prince in the course of today.
So this morning, 650 French relief personnel are assisting the Haitian people and French nationals.
Finally, the French capabilities have also been made available to the NGOs, which to date have used them to transport 48 humanitarian workers and 10 tonnes of equipment.