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Hospital Ship Comfort Sails for Haiti

The ship is scheduled to arrive off Port-au-Prince by January 21
Posted: January 17, 2010
Related article: Haiti Relief Efforts Widen Amid Devastation
[U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica Snow]
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort.
Washington — The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is on its way to earthquake-stricken Haiti with medical teams and supplies.

“I suspect that we will have medical and naval assets in Haiti [for] six months minimum, and I think longer than that,” Navy Vice Admiral Adam Robinson, the chief of naval medicine, said January 16 shortly before the Comfort left Baltimore for the Caribbean. Since a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti January 12, the Navy has been readying the Comfort for duty.

The ship had just completed a four-month humanitarian mission to the Caribbean and Latin America and was undergoing a full overhaul when the call came to get ready for emergency duty. In less than 72 hours, the 250-bed ship sailed with a full crew of 550 medical and health professionals on board. Most of the medical staff came from the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Virginia. The ship includes staff from all the branches of the U.S. military and the Public Health Service.

The ship is scheduled to arrive off Port-au-Prince by January 21.

Help save lives in Haiti: Visit the White House Web site for options. The International Committee of the Red Cross provides a service to help people find loved ones and the State Department has a Person Finder where people can post information about persons missing in Haiti.

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