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Cablegate: Tfha01: Luxembourg Rescuers in and Out of Haiti in 72 Hours;

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLE #0011/01 0192238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191715Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY LUXEMBOURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0059
INFO RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0002
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0004
RUEHLE/AMEMBASSY LUXEMBOURG

UNCLAS LUXEMBOURG 000011

SIPDIS
DEPT FOR HAITI EARTHQUAKE TASK FORCE
USAID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA
DEPT FOR EUR/WE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV LU HA
SUBJECT: TFHA01: LUXEMBOURG RESCUERS IN AND OUT OF HAITI IN 72 HOURS;
GOL PROMISES 700,000 EUROS

REF: LUXEMBOURG 7; STATE 4854

1. (U) SUMMARY. The Grand Duchy's 17-man contingent
to Haiti has already returned to Luxembourg following provision of
emergency services on the ground in Port-au-Prince. The team
returned to Belgium via Belgian military aircraft and were received
back in Luxembourg by Defense Minister Halsdorf and Cooperation
Minister Jacobs on Sunday (January 17). In the face of some
skepticism, the Luxembourg and Belgian teams announced their
missions' withdrawal, saying they believed they had done all they
could to aid in the effort to locate survivors. Separately,
Luxembourg's Council of State announced Friday (January 15) the
GoL's intention to dedicate 700,000 euros (approximately US$1.05
million) to the ongoing efforts in Haiti. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) Pre-empting criticism that the assistance was
short-lived, Red Cross representative Michel Feider commented that
it makes little sense for a rescue team with rescue dogs to stay on
the ground to search for survivors when the chances of finding
survivors to rescue is greatly reduced 72-96 hours after an
earthquake. By staying on-site, Feider argued, the team runs the
risk of getting underfoot of the other teams conducting recovery
and humanitarian aid missions. The Luxembourg Red Cross does,
however, have a man on the ground as part of the effort to provide
emergency medical assistance to survivors. Laurence Klopp, a
Luxembourgish member of the Benelux Emegency Response Unit, arrived
in Santo Domingo on Saturday (January 16). There is reportedly
also a nurse scheduled to travel to Haiti this week, as part of the
Luxembourg chapter of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans
Frontieres).

3. (U) According to Luxembourgish daily Le
Quotidien, one source close to the rescuers speaking on condition
of anonymity suggested the decision for the rescue mission to come
home so soon was influenced by "political" motivations linked to
security-related problems on the ground. According to the same
story, the UN blue helmets providing protection to the
Luxembourgers came under fire - presumably from looters - Saturday
evening (January 16). While sources appear to be members of the
rescue team itself, the team leader, Yves Marx, told the press that
the team's departure was not accelerated due to security threats.
"We never had the impression that we were under threat," Marx said.
"We simply came home because the duration of our intervention was
over." Finally, Marx added that the Belgian Army made the decision
to come back.

4. (U) The two Luxembourgish families in Haiti
pursuing international adoptions (ref a) managed to escape harm in
the quake but were forced to return to Luxembourg without having
completed the adoption process. Press reports indicate the
families returned with the rescue mission over the weekend. One
daily reports that currently thirteen Luxembourg families are
pursuing adoption of Haitian children.

5. (SBU) On January 15, Luxembourg's Council of State
announced a 700,000 euro pledge to ongoing efforts in Luxembourg.
Of this total, half a million euros is designated for
reconstruction efforts, with the remaining 200,000 euros dedicated
to food assistance. The GoL also announced its support for an
international conference to organize assistance efforts to Haiti,
as well as debt forgiveness programs. Pol/Econ Chief spoke with
Marc Bichler, Director of Cooperation and Development, on January
19, thanked the GoL for its contributions to date, and delivered
ref b demarche points. Bichler attributed Luxembourg's rapid
response, in part, to the close working relationship the GoL enjoys
with its Belgian counterparts. Bichler added that the GoL has no
outstanding assistance offers awaiting a USG response.

6. (SBU) Comment: Luxembourg's lightning fast
mobilization of a 17-member, 7-dog rescue mission to Haiti was
impressive. The direct response and immediate offer of assistance,


even before we or the EU asked, symbolizes an interesting streak of
independence. Pledging 700,000 euros on the heels of its rescue
mission lends credence to its commitment to this humanitarian
action. The rescue team's hasty effort should not be seen as
disengagement; rather, it is indicative of realistic assessment of
the team's capabilities. Luxembourg was one of the first to step
to the plate and deserves recognition for doing so.

7. Minimize considered.
Stroum

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