U.S. military sends aid to Pacific disaster-torn areas

10:53, October 04, 2009      

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The U.S. military has been providing assistance to typhoon- and earthquake-damaged areas in the Pacific Ocean, the Army Times reported on Saturday.

The U.S. Pacific Command has sent five Air Force C-17 transport jets from Hawaii, to the U.S. island territory of American Samoa, which was devastated by a strong earthquake and an ensuing tsunami Tuesday that took at least 31 lives, it said.

The aircraft sent to American Samoa were laden with search-and-rescue teams, mortuary affairs personnel, food and water, more than 10 wheeled vehicles, as well as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supplies.

In addition, a U.S. frigate has arrived off the coast of American Samoa.

In the Philippines, where downpours on Sept. 26 caused by Typhoon Ketsana flooded capital Manila, two U.S. dock landing ships are standing by offshore with some 1,500 personnel aboard, including elements of III Marine Expeditionary Force out of Okinawa, according to Timothy Keating, head of the Pacific Command.

As the Filipinos are bracing for even more severe weather, Keating said the U.S. military will provide further assistance if it is required.

The Pacific Command also sent a C-130 transport aircraft to western Indonesia, where it delivered relief supplies following the Sept. 30 earthquake there.

In addition, the amphibious transport dock ship Denver, with 1,033 service members aboard, will arrive in Indonesia in "a couple of days" with its three CH-53E heavy-lift helicopters and a half-dozen smaller helos.

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