Headwater in the News

General Honoré Talks About Haiti To The Media

Peacekeeping - MINUSTAH
UN Photo/Logan Abass

When disaster struck in Haiti, it is no surprise that many in media, government and relief organizations turned to HeadwaterProject Senior Advisor to the Board General Honoré for his counsel and thoughts. Here, we have collected excerpts from various interviews with General Honoré that occurred in the days and weeks after the earthquake.

From Britain’s Telegraph (1/17/10)

Yesterday Russel Honoré, the retired US general who coordinated the military response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster that devastated New Orleans, said the aid effort for Haiti had been too cautious to start off with.

“The next morning after the earthquake, I assumed there would be airplanes delivering aid,” he said. “What we saw instead was discussion about, ‘Well we’ve got to send an assessment team in to see what the needs are.’ And anytime I hear that, my head turns red.”


From firstcoastnews.com (1/17/10)

As conditions grew more challenging in the Caribbean nation, where a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck last Tuesday, the man whom many vaulted to hero stature in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina said Sunday that it would make more sense to have the military run relief operations in Haiti, not USAID and not bureaucrats in Washington.

“The military should have the lead as opposed to the USAID having the lead,” retired lieutenant general Russell Honoré, commander Joint Task Force-Katrina and a CNN contributor, said in a telephone interview. “I think we need to move faster and to use every military capability we’ve got.”

U.S. military units are capable of parachuting people and equipment onto a roadway near the capital and turning it into a landing strip fit for a cargo plane in a day, Honoré said. He recommended creating multiple airstrips this way.

Honoré also said that concerns about security that have come with conducting food drops should not take precedence over getting supplies to people quickly. “I say, when you have people dying, getting food and water on the ground should end any talk of security,” Honoré said.

The military expert added that Haitians could be hired to help distribute supplies, and he also urged that rules that dictate that Haitians need visas to enter the United States should be broken.

“If we don’t break some of the rules, more people will die,” he said.


From Official Wire columnist Greg Palast (1/17/10)

From my own work in the field, I know that FEMA has access to ready-to-go potable water, generators, mobile medical equipment and more for hurricane relief on the Gulf Coast. It’s all still there. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who served as the task force commander for emergency response after Hurricane Katrina, told the Christian Science Monitor, “I thought we had learned that from Katrina, take food and water and start evacuating people.” Maybe we learned but, apparently, Gates and the Defense Department missed school that day.


From USA Today (1/18/10)

The focus on security was criticized by retired lieutenant general Russell Honoré, who led the military relief effort on the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Honoré said the U.S. response has been too slow in part because the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has taken the lead, rather than the military. He said U.S. forces aren’t bound by as many rules and could have set up landing strips to deliver aid quickly.

“I say when you have people dying, getting food and water on the ground should end any talk of security,” he said.


From Public Safety Blog USA (1/19/10)

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who led relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, says “we need to start talking about evacuating the vulnerable population” — including those who are injured, elderly, pregnant and disabled. “We need to talk about a mass evacuation, and we need to tell the United States military to open two more airports. … We’ve got the capability to do it, we need somebody in Washington to wake up and make it happen, and we can’t wait for the U.N. to figure out it needs to be done,” Honoré said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”


From Caribbean Analysis (1/20/10)

As retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré told CNN on Thursday, U.S. military forces “could have been there a day earlier.”


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