U.S. Southern Command is sending troops to Haiti to provide relief as Hurricane Matthew tears a path through the Caribbean towards the United States.

SOUTHCOM head Vice Adm. Kurt Tidd announced late Wednesday afternoon that he dispatched Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle to Port au Prince, Haiti, to launch Joint Task Force Matthew, aimed at kick-starting aid to the country, which has been hampered throughout the day by flooded roads and fallen debris.

“We expect that he will be landing on the ground in Haiti late this afternoon,” Tidd said, adding that the operation would set up shop at Port au Prince’s airport.

SOUTHCOM began moving nine Army and Marine Corps medium and heavy lift helicopters to Grand Cayman, 600 miles west of Haiti, on Tuesday, Tidd said. Those helos should begin arriving Port au Prince Thursday by way of Jamaica, depending on the weather. The full team is about 100 Marines, soldiers and sailors, along with another 50 supporting staff.

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Image courtesy of US Coast Guard

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