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Natural Disasters Relief

Pacific Fleet helping American Samoa, Indonesia, Philippines  Oct 04, 2009

PEARL HARBOR – The U.S. Pacific Fleet is deploying personnel and units to provide humanitarian aid in the wake of natural disasters that have stricken the Philippines, American Samoa and Indonesia.

The United States extends its sincere condolences to the people of these areas in the wake of the recent natural disasters.

The United States has military capabilities positioned in the affected regions that are ready to support emergency relief efforts and minimize human suffering. Because of the forward deployed presence of the U.S. military, it is poised to help as much as possible.

For Indonesia, U.S. military assets include a Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team composed of personnel from various units within U.S. Pacific Command and USS Denver with Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. Denver has three CH-53E "Sea Stallion" helicopters capable of providing heavy lift from off shore.

As is typical in international relief operations, U.S. military efforts are in support of the U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. U.S. Pacific Command will continue to work closely with the Indonesian government, the U.S. Embassy and International Relief Organizations of Indonesia on humanitarian assistance operations at the request and invitation of the Indonesian government.

The USS Denver Amphibious Ready Group has also sent two ships to the Philippines to help that
nation recover from Tropical Storm Ketsana and cope with the approaching Typhoon Parma. USS Tortuga and USS Harpers Ferry and their embarked Marines began conducting humanitarian assistance operations today (Oct. 2) in the Manila metro area. The Marine air combat element on those two ships includes 10 CH-46E "Sea Knight" helicopters.

Splitting the group allows the Navy to provide varied capabilities in different locations while still sending the right tools to the right locations. The ARG/MEU Team constantly trains together for real world operations. Exercises in the Western Pacific usually contain some humanitarian assistance training as well. The Navy and Marines have not only worked together on these types of scenarios, but have also worked with other allies in the region on HA operations.

Also, the frigate USS Ingraham arrived Wednesday in American Samoa to provide aid to victims of Tuesday's earthquake and tsunami.

USS Ingraham, homeported in Everett, Wash., launched its helicopter and rigid hull inflatable boat to help local authorities survey damage and conduct recovery operations. Sailors from Ingraham were also clearing debris ashore.

The Navy's ability to provide rapid, flexible response for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief is a cornerstone of America's maritime strategy. The Navy is uniquely equipped to provide critically needed supplies and support to help mitigate human suffering and prevent further loss of life.

The U.S. military in the Pacific has a history of working with international relief organizations and host nations to reach those affected by natural disasters. The U.S. Pacific Fleet provided assistance to victims of the December 2004 Indonesia earthquake that generated a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people from Indonesia through Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean to the east coast of Africa. The Pacific Fleet also provides more routine humanitarian civic assistance with its annual Pacific Partnership missions.

Pacific Fleet helping American Samoa, Indonesia, Philippines
Photo by Dorothy Ah Ching

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