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When Hurricane Ike slammed into Haiti in early September it flooded vast regions, destroyed bridges, washed away roads, and left residents without food or drinking water. Haitian Prime Minister Mich?le Pierre-Louis pleaded for help, noting that over one-month-long period, back-to-back tropical storms Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike had killed more than 500 people and left another million homeless. In response, U.S. Southern Command on September 5 diverted the USS Kearsarge toward Haiti for a relief mission. The amphibious ship, which resembles an aircraft carrier but carries helicopters, launched Sikorsky-built CH-53 and Lockheed Martinbuilt MH-60 helicopters to provide logistical and humanitarian support to the island nation.
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