Following joint work between the Argentine Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defence, on 21 August, a White Helmets humanitarian mission to Haiti was organized in order to make humanitarian and medical assistance available to the Haitian people and international organizations, following the devastating earthquake in Petit Trou De Nippes Department, in western Haiti.
The contingent, headed by the President of the White Helmets Commission, Marina Cardelli, comprised 25 volunteers, including healthcare personnel and paediatricians.
The mission was bound for Port-au-Prince on board an Argentina Air Force Hercules aeroplane carrying medical supplies and medicine, in addition to water purification tablets, blankets and other emergency supplies in order to set up a Type-1 healthcare facility.
“Once again, Argentina is there to help, as has been the case with our White Helmets whenever it was needed in Central America and the Caribbean, a region that has repeatedly had to face hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes and all kinds of natural disasters in economic crisis contexts. Haiti is a sister nation, and we are going to help with everything we can. Our humanitarian contribution will be present,” stated Foreign Minister Felipe Solá.
Along the same lines, the Minister of Defence, Jorge Taiana, stated that “our country has a long tradition of solidarity and support for nations that have been punished by natural disasters and therefore, in keeping with that tradition, Argentina’s Air Force will be in charge of transporting the White Helmets and essential supplies to Haiti in order to help with recovery efforts.”
In addition, the President of White Helmets stated: “As we have been doing for a year and a half with our sister nations, today Argentina is committed to providing assistance to the Haitian people. Solidarity is a priority in our foreign policy.”
The earthquake, which struck on 14 August, has already caused almost 2,200 deaths and injured 12,000 people, according to official figures. It destroyed 7,000 houses and damaged more than 12,000, leaving 30,000 families homeless, in addition to the collapse of schools, offices and churches, among other buildings.