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American Forces Press Service

Military Continues Hurricane Katrina Support

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2005 The more than 72,000 active and reserve component troops were continuing their support today for Hurricane Katrina relief operations through air, sea and ground operations, defense officials reported.

In new developments, nine mortuary affairs teams from the 54th Quartermaster Company at Fort Lee, Va., are preparing to deploy to the region to perform all aspects of the mortuary affairs mission until a new civilian contractor is identified. Another nine teams from the company are on an alert status and ready to deploy, if directed, officials said.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the Federal Emergency Management Agency's request that the military perform the mortuary affairs mission.

Also, two sorties from the Air Force Reserve's 910th Air Wing began mosquito-spraying operations, covering 92,000 acres in St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes, officials said.

In addition, almost 1,800 Army Corps of Engineers workers are supporting relief operations, focusing on pumping water from flooded areas, removing debris, restoring power and reopening affected waterways to navigation.

Officials reported these ongoing operational highlights:

  • 72,614 troops - 22,439 of them active duty, 45,871 National Guard and 1,895 reserves - are serving on the ground or aboard ships in the region;
  • 19 U.S. Navy ships are in the area;
  • 346 helicopters and 68 airplanes are supporting the operation;
  • 259 sorties were flown during the past 24 hours, bringing the total to date to more than 12,000;
  • 2,037 DoD medical personnel are serving in the area;
  • 7 installations are serving as transportation staging areas for ice, water, food and medical supplies;
  • 16.7 million meals, ready to eat have been delivered, with 1 million of them diverted to Virginia and Georgia to support Hurricane Ophelia response, if required;
  • 789 beds are available in field hospitals at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, the 14th Combat Support Hospital, and aboard USS Bataan, USS Iwo Jima and USS Shreveport;
  • 119 nations and 12 international organizations have offered assistance, with Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., serving as the central collection point for supplies donated by foreign countries;
  • 19,056 cubic square feet of water is being pumped out of Louisiana's New Orleans and Plaquemines parishes by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of Task Force Unwater;
  • 12 interim repairs have been completed on New Orleans' levee system, with Army Corps of Engineers identifying a total of 27 levee breaches, 19 of them attributable to Hurricane Katrina; and
  • 390,487 cubic yards of debris, of the estimated 77.5 million cubic yards that require moving, have been removed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

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