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At about 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time Aug. 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Tiburon Peninsula in the Caribbean nation of Haiti, near Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, near Port-Au-Prince, the nation’s capital. More than 2,200 people died and 12,200 were injured. The earthquake also left 650,000 men, women and children in need of food, water and shelter.
U.S. military capabilities are most critical in the early stages of a disaster relief operation, when fewer resources and disaster-response experts are available to help victims and impacted communities. As those disaster relief operations progress and more uniquely experienced experts arrive to assist with longer-term recovery and reconstruction, the need for U.S. military capabilities diminishes as more experienced relief personnel and organizations assume the roles previously performed by military troops and units.
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