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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-321617 (CQ) US / Tsunami Relief (L-only)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=1/8/05

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-321617

TITLE=(CQ) US / TSUNAMI RELIEF (L-ONLY)

BYLINE=SERENA PARKER

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

/// RE-ISSUING TO DROP FIRST SENTENCE OF 2nd ACT AND EXTRA WORD -- THE -- FROM LAST GRAF OF TEXT ///

HEADLINE: US General Sees Improvement in Coordination of Indonesian Relief Efforts

INTRO: A top U.S. military officer says aid is flowing more rapidly to Aceh, the Indonesian province that was devasted by the December 26th tsunami. VOA's Serena Parker has more on the relief effort to help the nation hardest hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

TEXT: The senior U.S. military officer in Indonesia says the coordination of relief efforts in Aceh, where as many as 100-thousand people perished from the December 26 earthquake and tsunami, improve daily. Brigadier General Christian B. Cowdrey says the U.S. military is working closely with aid groups and other countries' militaries involved in the disaster relief mission.

/// COWDREY ACT ///

"We get better everyday. Our command and control is linked to the relief organizations. And it's all of our hopes that the coordination that we'll have here by co-locating ourselves will improve daily as we get their needs and match their needs to our capability.

/// END ACT ///

General Cowdrey says a major factor complicating relief efforts continues to be the lack of infrastructure in the region. There is only one runway in Banda Aceh capable of handling aid flights. Earlier this week, the runway was temporarily shut down after a cargo plane hit a water buffalo.

To ease congestion at the airport, the bulk of U.S. aircraft refuel on U.S. ships off the coast of Indonesia. General Cowdrey says a third U.S. ship, an amphibious vessel capable of landing supplies and troops on the beach, is expected to arrive in two days.

/// 2nd COWDREY ACT ///

"It has a medical surgical company on board. It also has some Navy construction equipment, some bulldozers and earthmoving equipment. It has Marine engineers that can do some medium repair and it has some additional heavy equipment pieces loaded on board."

/// END ACT ///

In the week since U.S. military personnel arrived in Indonesia, American pilots have flown 197 missions and delivered 173-thousand kilos of supplies to the areas hardest hit by the tsunami.

General Cowdrey says his troops will continue to deliver food and medical supplies but they are also looking toward the future.

/// 3rd COWDREY ACT ///

"I think we're all kind of looking at ways to provide them with some heavier engineering assets ashore so that we can begin to give them greater capability for follow-on efforts by construction companies and those that are going to come in behind us and rebuild roads and repair some of the infrastructure. So access to that would be our next effort I think.

/// END ACT ///

Much of Aceh's infrastructure was destroyed when the tsunami hit. Humanitarian aid groups estimate it could take months for heavy equipment to clear the debris it left. (SIGNED)

NEB/SP/KL



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