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U.S. military to send aid to the Maldives

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 200511445024
Story by Combined Support Group Sri Lanka Public Affairs

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Jan. 14, 2005) -- About 100 Marines and sailors specializing in water production and engineering, along with two U.S. Maritime Prepositioning Force ships, will travel to the Republic of Maldives to assist with much- needed relief in the wake of the Dec. 26 tsunami.

The ships, equipment and personnel are scheduled to depart from the Port of Colombo in time to arrive in the Maldives about Jan. 19 to begin relief operations lasting about a week.

The Combined Support Force-Sri Lanka’s Maldives Detachment’s primary focus will be producing fresh water using reverse osmosis water purification units to refill fresh water storage containers.

The U.S. military will also assist with clearing debris and distributing relief supplies in coordination with government of Maldives and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Maritime Prepositioning Force ships are U.S. civilian cargo ships that carry Marine Corps equipment and supplies. They also carry humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies and have a robust capability to make and store fresh water. The ships used in this humanitarian mission are the MV 1st Lt. Jack Lummus and the MV 1st Lt. Alex Bonnyman.

“The assistance required in the Maldives consists mainly of providing fresh drinking water, which has not been requested of U.S. forces in Sri Lanka,” said Brig. Gen. Frank Panter, commander of Combined Support Group-Sri Lanka. “However, we are glad that we came to this region prepared and are able to assist our friends in the Maldives.”

In coordination with the government of Maldives, and in cooperation with French and British relief efforts in the country, water production will begin with Gan Island.

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