Humanitarian aid delivered to Haiti through Denton Program
By Senior Airman Tom Brading, 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 25, 2016
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AFNS) -- Members from the 701st Airlift Squadron delivered humanitarian aid to Port-au-Prince on April 21 as part of ongoing Denton Program efforts.
Two C-17 Globemaster IIIs were filled with 32 combined pallets as they transported more than 170,000 pounds of humanitarian aid to Haiti.
“Our role in the Denton mission is supporting the delivery of the cargo and supplies,” said Capt. Ed Sutton, a 701st AS pilot. “It’s a rewarding experience to be a part of relief efforts to areas like Haiti or anywhere else in the world that may need it.”
The Denton Program creates an opportunity for private organizations to utilize space available on U.S. military cargo aircraft to transport goods to countries in need.
The cargo moved under the Denton Program generally includes medical supplies, education supplies, furniture, vehicles, agricultural supplies, machinery, and clothing to support relief efforts and development projects. The supplies delivered by the 701st AS will be used by nongovernmental organizations throughout Haiti.
Haiti is a developing country that has experienced its share of natural disasters. Currently, 1.5 million Haitians are threatened with malnutrition -- double the estimated number last year -- due to a three-year drought in the Caribbean region.
“Crops are being lost, rivers have dried, and children from villages in the mountains are being left unattended in Port-au-Prince, because their parents believe the children’s survival is greater in the city alone than with them in dry rural areas,” said Pacius Gueston, the Haiti Christian Development Project director. “This aid will save many lives.”
Orphaned as a child, Gueston was raised by a nun in Haiti and taught the importance of education and work ethic. After attending college in the United States, he returned to Haiti to give back to the people that needed support.
Today, 70 percent of the estimated crops on the Caribbean island have been lost due to an ongoing drought, creating food instability for more than 3.6 million individuals. With farming being the primary source of income for Haitians, the drought has created more financial instability.
Many agencies are working together to combat these issues, but more work still needs to be done.
Kathy Cadden, president and founder of the nonprofit Operation Ukraine, is another face on the ground in Haiti welcoming service members, like those in the 701st AS, during the offload of humanitarian supplies.
“We’ll make great use of the donated food and supplies,” said Cadden, who estimates she’ll oversee more than 8,500 dry meals and 3,500 cooked meals to be made for children. “We’re very thankful for everything the donors and the military have done.”
Since 1998, the Denton Program has overseen more than 5 million pounds of humanitarian supplies sent to more than 50 countries across the globe.