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U.S. Military Responds to Indonesia Earthquake

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2006 – The U.S. military is sending about 100 troops to Indonesia to contribute to international humanitarian relief efforts in the wake of a devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck May 27 near the ancient city of Yogyakarta.

The deployment is part of a larger U.S. government response to a request from the government of Indonesia for humanitarian assistance, according to U.S. Pacific Command officials. The troops will come from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan; U.S. Pacific Air Forces units in Guam; and the hospital ship USNS Mercy, which is operating in the Philippines as part of a five-month medical deployment to Southeast Asia and Western Pacific countries, officials said.

The U.S. troops will bring surgical, shock trauma, laboratory, dental, X-ray, and preventive medicine expertise to the earthquake-ravaged area.

"Doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and supplies are rapidly deploying to Indonesia to support the humanitarian efforts near Yogyakarta. The goal is to reduce further loss of life and help alleviate human suffering," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Dana Atkins, U.S. Pacific Command director of operations. "We offer our sincere condolences to the people of Indonesia affected by this tragedy and will do our best to ease their suffering with available medical assets. The U.S. has strong regional ties to Indonesia, and we are a longstanding friend of the Indonesian people."

The deployment of personnel from USNS Mercy will not affect the ship's ability to continue the mission in the Philippines, officials said. The U.S. military and all organizations aboard the Mercy remain committed to providing humanitarian and civic assistance as previously planned, officials said.

The earthquake death toll has risen to more than 5,000 people, with about 6,500 seriously injured and 100,000 homeless.

(From a U.S. Pacific Command news release.)

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