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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 148-00
March 24, 2000

U.S. Military to Begin Phased Withdrawal of Humanitarian Assistance Forces in Mozambique

The Government of Mozambique has concluded it is appropriate to begin the transition from military resources to civilian means for the continued delivery of humanitarian supplies to flood-damaged areas of Mozambique. Representatives of international aid organizations agree with the government of Mozambique's assessment.

Continuing repair work on the roadways to affected areas has allowed an increased use of trucks to deliver aid supplies, and civilian aircraft available in the area soon will be able to accomplish the remainder of relief transportation requirements.

As a result, the bulk of deployed U.S. military personnel, aircraft and equipment are expected to begin returning to their home bases in Europe next week. The redeployment of the U.S. military forces will be accomplished in three phases. Joint Task Force Atlas Response personnel will continue to assist in the relief effort until the last U.S. military assets redeploy to their home stations at the completion of Phase III.

Since March 6, the U.S. Joint Task Force Atlas Response has made a significant contribution to the multinational relief effort in Mozambique. The American military has been fully integrated into the multinational relief effort, and has delivered more than one and one half million pounds of cargo, including more than one million pounds of humanitarian relief supplies, and flown more than 1,100 aid workers, assessment team members, U.S. military and other passengers in support of international relief operations.

U.S. civilian assets, through U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, will remain in Mozambique beyond completion of Atlas Response. This includes 14 aircraft chartered under USAID grant and plans for an expanded air support capability until emergency road repairs are completed.

Questions about Joint Task Force Atlas Response can be directed to Lt. Col. Thomas Dolney at 00-44-7720-805-652 or at the Hotel Cardoso at 00258-149-1071 Rm. 322 or Lt. Col. Henry Huntley, Air Force Base Hoedspruit, South Africa at 00-27-15-799-2578.