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As U.S. mission nears end, a million Haitians still homeless

By JEFF SCHOGOL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 20, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va. — As the U.S. military’s mission in Haiti draws to a close, about 1 million Haitians remain homeless, said the former top U.S. military commander in Haiti.

Recently, U.S. troops helped move 2,000 Haitians living in a camp in Petionville to another area where families were issued tents and other supplies, said Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, who stepped down Sunday as commander of Joint Task Force-Haiti. He was replaced by Army Maj. Gen. Simeon G. Trombitas.

“It’s a work in progress and there’s no mistake that obviously the rainy season and hurricane season is approaching, and living in a tent during a hurricane is not optimal,” he said. 

The roughly 2,200 troops now in Haiti are expected to leave by the end of June, but the U.S. military will continue to have an “enduring presence” in Haiti after the relief mission ends, Keen said.

Twelve medical exercises are planned in Haiti through September involving 500 National Guard and Reserve troops who will deploy incrementally between May and September, officials said.

Most of the troops involved will be military engineers and medical personnel, said Michael Wimbish, a spokesman for U.S. Southern Command.