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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 1029-05
October 10, 2005

Department of Defense Statement on South Asian Earthquake Relief Efforts

The Department of Defense today announced that Navy Rear Admiral Michael Lefever has been designated to establish a Humanitarian Coordination Center in Islamabad, Pakistan. RDML Lefever will coordinate Defense Department support to the State Department, other U.S. government agencies, and the Pakistan government in response to the earthquake that struck South Asia on Saturday.

LTG Karl Eikenberry, the Commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan has been in Islamabad to oversee the initial U.S. military assistance response to the disaster. LTG Eikenberry is returning to Kabul, Afghanistan to resume his responsibilities there.

The immediate Defense Department assistance has flowed into Pakistan from throughout the region, including 12 pallets of food and medicine from U.S. supplies in Qatar and Kuwait, and heavy lift and supply helicopters from Bahrain and Afghanistan. Additional C-17s with more support and equipment are scheduled to arrive October 11.

The Department of Defense is identifying and will deploy additional capabilities to assist the State Department and affected countries, including helicopters, engineering and heavy lift capabilities, medical support, and humanitarian assistance. Together with the other agencies of the United States government that are rendering assistance, the Department will continue to work with the Pakistan government to assess what assistance can be made available immediately and in the longer term.