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Cablegate: Colombia Continues Robust Relief Efforts in Haiti

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INFO WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
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SUBJECT: COLOMBIA CONTINUES ROBUST RELIEF EFFORTS IN HAITI

1. (SBU) Summary. Colombian military and civilian sectors continue
in high gear supporting relief efforts in Haiti. Colombia has
flown 14 flights transporting 294 personnel, 21 dogs and 224,509
pounds of supplies to Haiti. Colombian medical personnel have
performed more than 2,150 procedures near the earthquake zone. The
Navy ship Cartagena continues to unload supplies in Haiti and the
Buenaventura will set sail within the next few days with 400 tons
of supplies. In addition to US$1.25 million raised by the Colombian
Red Cross, more than 50 companies are conducting donation
campaigns. End Summary.

Colombia Air Relief

--------------------

2. (SBU) The Colombian military, police, the National System of
Disaster Prevention and Assistance, and the Red Cross have teamed
up together to send a total of 14 flights to date with 294
personnel including military, police, firefighters, doctors,
nurses, and Red Cross. Colombian medical personnel in Haiti have
performed 2,150 procedures to date. The flights have also included
21 dogs and 224,509 pounds of humanitarian relief supplies.

3. (SBU) A U.S. C-17 departed Bogota for Haiti on January 27 with
78,000 pounds of Colombian-donated humanitarian goods. Another
C-17 may be available for a similar flight on February 1, and a
C-130 will depart for Haiti on January 30. The C-130 flight will
carry five pallets of supplies bound for Haiti and one pallet of
USG-provided firefighting equipment to support GOC efforts to
combat ongoing forest fires. This pallet will be delivered to the
Palanquero DCA base on the way to Haiti. The Ambassador is planning
a press event around that flight on

January 30 with several high-level GOC officials to promote
USG-Colombia cooperation on Haiti relief assistance as well as USG
support to combat Colombian forest fires.

Relief Supplies By Sea

-----------------------

4. (SBU) The Colombian Navy ship "ARC Buenaventura" continues to
be loaded with supplies and will set sail within the next few days.
Its 400 ton cargo capacity includes 15,000 gallons of water donated
by the aqueduct company Hidropacifico S.A. Colombian Navy
logistics ship "ARC Cartagena de Indias," is still off-loading
supplies in Haiti. These include: 41,000 lbs of perishable goods,
18,700 lbs of bottled water, and a total of 61,600 lbs of
humanitarian goods.

Widespread Private Sector Campaigns

------------------------------------

5. (U) More than 50 Colombian companies have announced relief
activities, from fundraising drives to offers to reconstruct a
neighborhood in Haiti, much of which will be coordinated through
the Red Cross. Food manufacturer Alpina and retailer Carrefour have
committed to donate hundreds of metric tons of supplies. The bank
BBVA Colombia will donate US$10,000, and Bridgestone's Colombian
branches collected US$75,000 in donations. Employees of Harinera
del Valle, Nacional de Chocolates, Bancolombia, and other companies
donated a full day's salary to the cause. The Colombian staff of
USAID contractor ARD collected US$7,000, purchased supplies in
Santo Domingo, and delivered them to Haiti.

6. (U) Telecommunications company Telmex publicized a tollfree
number for its customers to register a donation, which can be added
to their monthly phone bill. Other telecom companies like EPM and

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UNE are donating services and supplies.

7. (U) Argos cement company, which has a plant in Haiti, sent 400
medical kits and supplies to its employees there. The company is
lending its dock in Haiti for the unloading of international relief
supplies. The Colombian firm offered its boats and docks in
Cartagena to the Red Cross and private relief efforts. The
Colombian Red Cross reports that within the next few days the
company plans to send one of its boats carrying 860 tons of Red
Cross supplies. The Colombian National System of Disaster
Prevention and Assistance, the Colombian Navy, Argos, the Red Cross
and Red Crescent will distribute these supplies in earthquake
affected areas.

Positive Media Coverage

------------------------

8. (U) Post continues to closely follow the Colombian media
coverage of the U.S. role in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.
Reporting on U.S. disaster and humanitarian assistance continues to
be very positive. The very few negative editorial comments have
been insignificant and, in these cases, post has actively sought to
clarify the intention of the authors and has promptly provided
guidance and relevant, informative materials on USG assistance.
BROWNFIELD

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