Rumsfeld in Indonesia, Offers Condolences to Earthquake Victims
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2006 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld arrived here this afternoon for a series of meetings with Indonesian leaders, and offered condolences to earthquake victims and relatives of those killed.
Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono welcomes U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to the Ministry of Defense in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 6. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley, USN
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
In a combined news conference this afternoon with Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono at the Ministry of Defense, Rumsfeld offered condolences to the families of nearly 6,000 people killed in a May 27 earthquake centered near Yogyakarta, on the island of Java.
"Certainly we bring the sympathy and condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the earthquake, and are pleased to be able to provide some assistance and work with the Indonesian government and the other countries that have been assisting in the relief efforts," Rumsfeld said after meetings with Sudarsono and earlier with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
U.S. military forces stepped in nearly immediately to begin bringing aid into the devastated region.
One hundred sixty-five American servicemembers, most from a Marine surgical company, are deployed to Java on this humanitarian mission, a spokesman told reporters traveling here with Rumsfeld. They've treated nearly 800 patients since May 30
Sudarsono today called the performance of U.S. Marines in central Java "superb."
Also, more than 400 military aircrew members have completed 42 missions, carrying 277 short tons of relief supplies as of today. Air sorties have included five C-17 transport missions, six C-130 transport missions, and 31 KC-130 tanker/transport missions. Most planes involved came from elsewhere within the Pacific theater, predominantly from Japan and Hawaii.
The American servicemembers have brought in tents, tarps, water, and medical supplies, as well as materiel-handling equipment. Forklifts and pallet movers that can get on and off aircraft have improved efficiency in offloading relief supplies, the spokesman said. "Until this materiel-handling equipment arrived, ... people were off-loading the aircraft by hand," he said.
"I would like to thank the secretary and Defense Department for the tragedy assistance provided by U.S. forces in the recent earthquake in central Java," Sudarsono said.