A look at the Defence news 30 August – 5 September
Ministry of Defence concludes emergency assistance to Haiti
HNLMS Holland returned to its mooring on Curaçao on 3 September, thus marking the end of the Dutch military’s disaster relief operation after the earthquake in Haiti. The Defence deployment had been set for a period of 14 days and started on Friday 20 August. The Dutch government provided emergency aid via the Dutch military after receiving a request from the Haitian government.
After the request, HNLMS Holland, with a helicopter and two fast motorboats on board, set sail for Haiti. The Dutch deployment took place as part of a European Union humanitarian aid mission. The relief organisations present in Port-au-Prince (including the International Red Cross and UN organisation UNOCHA) coordinated the aid requirements in the disaster area. This resulted in a number of concrete tasks for the Royal Netherlands Navy ship.
Water, medical items and ‘family kits’
For example, HNLMS Holland carried out several reconnaissance missions with the helicopter and FRISC motorboats in order to get a better picture of the damage and the needs for assistance. The patrol ship also assisted in logistics by moving personnel and equipment from A to B. The earthquake damaged many domestic roads, which are also unsafe due to criminal activities.
People therefore travelled by air or sea, for example to Les Cayes. HNLMS Holland also unloaded relief goods in several places. Water, medical supplies and family kits were distributed in Aquin, Anse-à-veau, Baradères and Miragoâne, among other places.
From emergency assistance to reconstruction
"Humanitarian aid is an important and rewarding core task of the Defence organisation," said the Commander of HNLMS Holland, Harald van Rijn. "We were given the opportunity to help people in need. My crew, the military personnel who came on board especially for this mission, and myself look back on our deployment to and over Haiti with satisfaction."
In Haiti, the step from emergency assistance to reconstruction is now being made. There is no role for Dutch military personnel in this process.
Outgoing Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld spoke words of appreciation for the military personnel involved: “For two weeks, the Defence organisation provided assistance to Haitians in need. We are proud of our colleagues, who all worked so hard.”
Reconstruction of Battle of Chora
Reconstruction of Battle of Chora offers unique insight into complex mission
Two academics have published an English-language paper that comprehensively reconstructs the Battle of Chora, which took place in June 2007. The Netherlands Defence Academy considers ‘The Battle of Chora’ by Ivor Wiltenburg and Lysanne Leeuwenburg as the most complete reconstruction of the battle to date.