U.S. sends military, USAID to help Haiti after hurricane

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - The United States has sent teams of military and U.S. Agency for International Development personnel to help Haiti after Hurricane Matthew killed hundreds of people and destroyed infrastructure in the Caribbean nation, the White House said on Friday.

USAID has sent teams to Haiti, Jamaica and the Bahamas to work with local authorities to coordinate disaster relief, White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One.

The Defense Department has about 150 people in Haiti now, and “weather permitting” that number will grow to a couple of hundred over the weekend, Schultz said.

The teams are distributing food and water, helping with transportation, and setting up first responder capabilities, he said.

The U.S. military said on Friday the USS Mesa Verde, an amphibious transport dock ship, is heading toward Haiti to support relief efforts and will start helicopter flights to support USAID efforts on the island.

The ship can produce fresh water and has water delivery vehicles aboard.

Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe Aboard Air Force One and Timothy Gardner and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham