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Cablegate: Chilean Response to Haitian Earthquake

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OO RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS
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DE RUEHSG #0038/01 0132115
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 132112Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0521
INFO WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SANTIAGO 000038

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
FOR HAITI EARTHQUAKE TASK FORCE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR PREL CI HA
SUBJECT: Chilean Response to Haitian Earthquake

1. (U) Chile has taken or will take the following efforts in
response to the earthquake that hit Port au Prince, Haiti.

Initial Chilean Actions

2. (U) Chile has more than 500 troops in Chile as part of
MINUSTAH. The Chilean armed forces operated their three
helicopters in Haiti through the night to evacuate people to an
Argentine field hospital. Chilean General Ricardo Toro, the deputy
commander of MINUSTAH, acted as commander of MINUSTAH in the
absence of the Brazilian commander, who was in Brazil.

Offers of Assistance

3. (SBU) Chile has announced that it will send two airplanes, a
767 and a C-130, with doctors, medical supplies, and other
emergency equipment to Haiti. The first of the flights is schedule
to arrive in Port au Prince at 9 am on January 14. According to
the commander of the Chilean army, one of the planes will first
stop in Miami to acquire earth removal equipment for use by the
Chilean engineering company in Haiti. The Chilean Navy has an
amphibious ship, LST Valdivia, on standby to send to Haiti, pending
guidance from the Chilean government; if it goes, it will carry
medical supplies.

4. (U) According to an announcement from the President's office,
Chile is sending more than 20 doctors, two victim identification
experts, six search and rescue specialists, and two dogs. It is
also sending 12 tons of non perishable food, tents, bedding,
disposable diapers, three tons of medicine and medical supplies.

Request for U.S. Coordination/Logistical Assistance

5. (U) Foreign Minister Fernandez called the Ambassador on January
13 to inform him that the first plane will depart Chile at 2 am on
January 14, arriving in Port au Prince at 9 am. The Foreign
Minister said that Chile is concerned about distribution of the
supplies after arrival, and requested USG assistance with
distribution. The Foreign Minister's office subsequently clarified
that Chile's principal concern is transportation from the airport
to distribution centers, given the poor state of roads in Port au
Prince. Contact information in the Foreign Minister's office was
provided to the Department's Haiti Task Force.

Senior Chilean Officials

6. (U) President Bachelet announced that she has designated Juan
Gabriel Valdes as the Presidential Delegate to Haiti. Valdes was
the first head of MINUSTAH. Valdes will travel on the Chilean
plane arriving on January 14. Lt. General Avedano, the new Chief
of Defense Staff, will also travel to Haiti to assess the
situation.

Missing Chileans

7. (U) Maria Teresa Dowling, the wife of General Toro, was
visiting her husband when the earthquake struck. The building
where she was staying collapsed, and she is missing. Andrea Loi, a
UN employee, is also missing.

Presidential Statement

SANTIAGO 00000038 002 OF 002


8. (U) President Bachelet expressed "in the name of my government
and all the Chilean people, our solidarity and support for Haiti in
these difficult hours that it is living as a result of an
earthquake that has devastated it. The images have been
devastating." She also highlighted the efforts of the Chilean
Armed Forces in Chile, and noted her concern for the two missing
Chileans.
SIMONS

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