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Release No: 1024-05
October 09, 2005

Statement from the Secretary of Defense on the South Asian Earthquake

On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I express my condolences to those affected by the earthquake in South Asia.

The Department of Defense is working closely with the State Department, and affected governments, to provide assistance to ease the suffering and assist in search and rescue operations.

General John Abizaid, the Commander of the United States Central Command, and others have been in touch with military officials in Pakistan, and is moving five CH-47 and three UH-60 helicopters into Pakistan immediately.

Additional capabilities for airborne reconnaissance, heavy lift ground equipment, and medical support are being identified and dispatched from within the Central Command region.

Today, I will designate a dedicated Task Force commander in the region to work with the affected governments, to help assess their needs, and to draw on U.S. military capabilities from inside or outside the affected region as may be available and required.

Our prayers go with those who have lost loved ones in the terrible situation.

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