September 21, 2021 – HNLMS Holland just moored again at Curaçao. This concludes the military emergency response operation after the earthquake in Haiti. The Defense deployment was for 14 days and started on Friday 20 August. The Dutch government provided military aid at the request of the Haitian government.
The naval ship Holland, with a helicopter and fast motorboats on board, then set course for Haiti. The Dutch deployment took place within a humanitarian aid mission of the European Union. The aid organizations present in Port-au-Prince (including the International Red Cross and UNOCHA from the United Nations) coordinated the aid needs in the disaster area. This resulted in specific tasks for the naval vessel.
For example, Holland carried out various reconnaissance assignments with the helicopter and FRISC’s to get a better picture of the damage and relief needs. The patrol ship also supported logistics by moving personnel and equipment from A to B. The earthquake damaged many inland roads, which are also unsafe due to criminal activity.
That is why people moved by air or sea, for example to Les Cayes. The Holland also unloaded relief supplies in several places. In Aquin, Anse-à-veau, Baradères and Miragoâne, among others, water, medical supplies and ‘family kits’ were mainly delivered.
“Humanitarian aid is an important and rewarding core task of Defense”, said Captain-Lieutenant Commander Harald van Rijn, commander of Zr.Ms. Holland. “We have been able to step in to help people in need. My crew, the soldiers who came on board especially for this mission and I look back with satisfaction on our efforts at and above Haiti.”
Haiti is now taking the step from emergency aid to reconstruction. There is no longer any role for Dutch military personnel.
Outgoing Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld spoke appreciative words for the soldiers involved: “For 2 weeks, Defense provided aid to Haitians in need. Proud of our colleagues who have worked hard.”
Haiti was hit by a major earthquake on August 14, which claimed many victims and caused extensive damage.
Foreign Affairs and the EU financed the deployment of the naval vessel.