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Navy Region Hawaii Commands Involved in Tsunami Relief Efforts

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050113-12
Release Date: 1/13/2005 11:06:00 PM

By Journalist 2nd Class Devin Wright, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Navy commands throughout the Hawaii region are helping with relief efforts in Southern Asia after a tsunami hit the region Dec. 26.

Navy Patrol Squadron (VP) 4, based at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base, is supporting the humanitarian relief efforts for tsunami victims in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Squadron support for this effort is based out of Diego Garcia, a U.S. Navy outpost in the Indian Ocean, where Sailors are working with a detachment from Navy Patrol Squadron (VP) 8.

The crews are visually surveying damage in remote areas to help planners determine what areas can be used as temporary relief headquarters. Missions involve use of electro-optic and infrared cameras to determine condition of utilities, roads, bridges and possible landing zones for helicopter support. Crews also survey for signs of survivors, conditions of port facilities and provide a communication relay between remote areas and relief coordinators.

Eighteen members from the Naval Station Pearl Harbor Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 6 are deployed to Sumatra to support humanitarian and disaster relief efforts by providing high level and preventive medicine support to the Indonesian population and the non-governmental agencies supporting the efforts. This includes providing preventive medicine officers, who are also trained in epidemiology, environmental health officers, industrial hygiene officers and entomology officers, as well as bringing a laboratory for rapid diagnostics.

"Because we are in this region, we have familiarity with diseases in the area," said Capt. Gail Hathaway, officer in charge at NEPMU 6. "We're bringing knowledge to the area. This is a robust team of experts, and we can help. That's the most important thing."

For one NEPMU 6 member, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Kati Ivey, who has been deployed to Iraq, the opportunity to help victims and prevent future illnesses and death is more than enough reason to be deployed to the area.

"I've braced myself for the amount of destruction I'm going to see," said Ivey. "It's important to me to be able to help others in need and learn from this experience to hopefully pass on to others."

For related news on Navy tsunami relief operations, visit the Focus on Tsunami Relief Operations page at www.navy.mil/local/tsunami.



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