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DoD Aids India's Quake Survivors

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2001 – The United States is assisting international relief efforts following the Jan. 26 earthquake that devastated a large region of western India.

Indian officials report about 15,000 people are known dead as a result of the 7.9 magnitude quake which struck hardest in the state of Gujarat. The quake also affected Pakistan and was felt as far away as Nepal.

President Bush extended condolences and pledged America's support to both India and Pakistan in a White House statement released that day.

"Earthquakes know no political boundaries," the president said. "We stand ready to assist as needed and as desired by the governments."

As part of the overall U.S. support, a six-person team from U.S. Pacific Command was sent to help the U.S. Embassy assess potential DoD support for relief efforts. The team made up of communications, logistics, and medical support specialists deployed Jan. 30 from Honolulu.

DoD has also sent heavy equipment and supplies. A U.S. Air Force transport plane left Travis Air Force Base, Calif., Jan. 31, and another left Dover Air Force Base, Del. Feb. 1.

After a brief stop at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the aircraft set off for Ahmadabad, India, carrying relief supplies including a two-and-a-half ton truck, two large forklifts, two 400-gallon water trailers, about 10,000 blankets, 1,500 sleeping bags and 92 large tents that accommodate 50 people each.

The first plane, carrying some of the "military handling equipment," was expected to arrive Feb. 2, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said Feb. 1. Indian officials have said one of their key needs is for equipment to help move relief supplies out to areas where they're needed most, he said.

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