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MCLB to ship humanitarian supplies to Haiti

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

MCLB-ALBANY -- The Department of Defense's Humanitarian Assistance-Excess Property Program (HAP-EP), which has storage facilities at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, has been called on to supply relief supplies for earthquake stricken Haiti.

HAP-EP Program Director Bill Lane said Thursday afternoon that workers will continue loading approximately 600,000 humanitarian daily rations (HDRs) onto trucks to be transported to Jacksonville, Fla.

From there, Lane said, the HDRs will be staged and airlifted into Haiti where relief workers will dispense the rations to those affected by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

"We are currently loading the humanitarian daily rations because that is what was requested as the priority," he said.

More than 35 truckloads of the rations have been requested from the HAP-EP facility by the U.S. Southern Command for relief aid.

"We are going to load five trucks today," Lane said Thursday. "We will continue to work 24/7 until all 35 are loaded and are on their way to Southern Command in Florida."

Lane said it takes between eight to 15 minutes to completely load the trucks with 38 pallets. Each pallet contains 48 cases of rations, with 10 packages each in a case.

"Each truck will be carrying about 42,000 pounds of rations," he said.

MCLB is working with the tenant agency on locating available transportation for the rations.

"They contract out to different carriers," Lane said. "The base has always been helpful with transporting these materials."

The HAP-EP facility may also be called upon to provide additional humanitarian supplies as relief efforts continue in Haiti.

"It will be an ongoing process," Lane said. "They will continue to keep us updated on what supplies they need and we will provide what we can."

The HAP-EP facility at MCLB is the only such facility in the United States. It consists of a large warehouse with five bays approximately 40,000 square feet each.

"Every warehouse here has five acres of covered storage," MCLB Public Affairs Officer Lt. Caleb Eames said.

The warehouse provides storage for a variety humanitarian supplies, such as food, cots, tents and blankets, tools, clothing and medical equipment.

Lane said through the excess property program, the Department of Defense donates and distributes excess materials to avert humanitarian crises and enable countries to recover from conflict.

"The DOD turns in all of their excess materials and anything that can be re-utilized is stored at three facilities around the world," he said.

The excess material provided for relief efforts doesn't put additional strain on taxpayers since the supplies aren't new and have already been purchased.

"Our mission is to use this excess to reach out to the hearts and minds of those devastated by conflict," Lane said. "We provide relief to over 400 countries throughout the world."

Lane said the HAP-EP facility was already put on alert earlier this week to prepare to ship supplies if needed.

"We are always prepared and once we hear about a disaster we get geared up to go to work," he said.

Lane said the hardest part will be over soon for HAP-EP, it will be up to relief workers in Haiti to make the difference.

"The easiest part is getting the materials," he said. "The hardest part right now will be getting the supplies to the people."

The earthquake that struck Haiti Tuesday caused numerous buildings to collapse and has made transportation to and from the area nearly impossible.

Lane said he had traveled to Haiti before and had seen the conditions in which the country was in before the disaster.

"The conditions were bad already," he said. "I just hope that the relief we are providing will find the right hands and help ease the process."