Pentagon wraps up helicopter relief ops in Haiti

A US Army Black Hawk helicopter deployed in support of Joint Task Force Matthew flies toward Jeremie, Haiti on October 10, 2016 (AFP Photo/Cpl. Kimberly Aguirre)

Washington (AFP) - US military helicopters sent to provide humanitarian relief in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew have almost completed their mission and should leave in the coming days, a senior official said Tuesday.

The Pentagon had sent a detachment of about 10 Army and Marine Corps choppers to help with aid delivery, but improved conditions mean supplies can again be moved by road.

"As the amount of the materials moving over the road has increased, the number of requests for us to move things has now gradually begun to decrease," Admiral Kurt Tidd, who heads the US military's Southern Command, told reporters.

"So it's appropriate for us to withdraw and to allow the organizations that are in there, and in there for the long haul, to take over the responsibility."

The US choppers have left the Port-au-Prince airport, where as many as 400 US troops had been deployed.

Additional air operations will be conducted from the USS Iwo Jima amphibious assault ship, which has arrived in the region.

At least 546 people were killed and more than 175,000 people lost their homes when Matthew roared ashore on October 4, packing winds of 145 miles (230 kilometers) per hour.

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