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04 January 2005

Defense Department Report, January 4: Humanitarian Relief Efforts

U.S. military has delivered 460,000 pounds of relief supplies

The U.S. military, supporting relief efforts in the earthquake- and tsunami-stricken region of the Indian Ocean, has delivered 460,000 pounds of humanitarian supplies since operations began immediately following the disaster on December 26, 2004.

"The Department of Defense is providing assistance to the governments of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other affected nations as they deal with the effects of the earthquake and tsunami," according to a January 4 Pentagon fact sheet.

Approximately 13,003 U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel are involved in the relief efforts, which are being directed by the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) in Hawaii and from a forward operating base located at the Royal Thai Air Base in Utapao, Thailand.  Most of the personnel -- 11,601 -- are at sea aboard Navy ships and another 1,402 are stationed around the region.

Since relief operations began the military has delivered 316,664 pounds of water, 135,102 pounds of food, and 8,246 pounds of medical supplies.  According to the fact sheet, as of January 4, U.S. military aircraft have flown 404 missions in support of relief efforts throughout the region.

Military equipment being used in relief operations include:

-- 13 U.S. Navy ships that include the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln with five support ships and USS Bonhomme Richard with six other vessels in its expeditionary group;

-- Six maritime pre-positioning ships that carry much needed supplies, and each ship can process 90,000 gallons of fresh water daily;

-- One U.S. Coast Guard cutter;

-- 16 C-130 medium cargo aircraft;

-- Nine P-3 reconnaissance aircraft;

-- Four KC-135 medium refueling aircraft; and

-- 46 helicopters that include 17 from the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, 25 from the USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, and four land-based helicopters.

The 31-member Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit 6 from the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, has been sent to Indonesia to monitor water quality, food sanitation and mosquitoes, and will also participate in disease outbreak surveillance and chemical analysis, according to a PACOM fact sheet.

The Abraham Lincoln carrier group is also providing a full medical department of more than 40 personnel trained in mass casualty and disaster response, a 49-bed hospital ward, three intensive care units, and one operating room.

The Bonhomme Richard group is providing a staffed operating room with three more coming on line when additional medical personnel are available, a stocked blood bank with 686 frozen units and the capability to provide an additional 2,750 units from military personnel.

The Air Force is sending an expeditionary medical support unit from Yokota, Japan.  In addition, the Marine Corps is sending a communications battalion from its base at Camp Pendleton, California, to Phuket, Thailand, to provide essential communication support throughout the area.

The fact sheet can be viewed at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2005/d20050104Tsunami.pdf

For additional information go to http://usinfo.state.gov/sa/south_asia/tsunamis.html

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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