Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Military Aid Effort Builds in Philippines, Set to Increase in Indonesia

Assistance to citizens in the Philippine capital of Manila and the surrounding area suffering from recent flooding damage has increased since the Oct. 3 arrival of the Navy’s USS Tortuga and USS Harpers Ferry and their embarked Marines. Meanwhile, an Air Force team arrived in Padang, Indonesia Oct. 5 and is setting up to provide medical care as three U.S. Navy ships make their way there to assist victims of the recent earthquake.

A Pacific Stars and Stripes story summarizes the on going effort to provide assistance in the aftermath of both disasters.


Marines and Sailors from the III Marine Expeditionary Force and the ships Tortuga and Harpers Ferry continue their work to provide relief to victims of flooding brought on by Tropical Storm Ketsana on Sept. 26.

Since Oct. 1, more than 12,000 food packs, consisting of donations from local businesses and private organizations consolidated into bags for individual families by volunteers, have been delivered to various distribution points by the Marines and Sailors. They have also delivered hundreds of cases of water, as well as hundreds of bags of clothing.

While Marines have been using their heavy equipment and vehicles to clear debris on major roadways, Sailors have been conducting medical and dental clinics at various locations, providing medical care to more than 3,500 patients, and dental care to more than 200.

With the arrival of the ships and its additional resources, such as helicopters, the level of assistance in the Philippines is increasing. On Oct. 6, two Marine CH-46 helicopters transported 16,000 pounds of supplies to Talim Island, which lies in the middle of a large lake southeast of Manila, cut off from easy access.


Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, commander of the Navy’s amphibious forces in the region, has been in Indonesia for the past week leading a Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team, and as he explained in an Associated press news story, the arrival of USS Denver, USS McCampbell, and USNS Richard E. Byrd in the next several days will bring a significant increase in capabilities to contribute to the relief effort ongoing since the 7.6 magnitude earthquake Sept. 30.

The ships, which are expected to arrive in the vicinity of Padang within the next several days, will bring seven helicopters with them in total, along with heavy equipment

An Air Force Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team (HARRT) arrived in Padang on Oct. 5 and is coordinating with local officials and completing its set up that will ultimately provide the capacity for providing a variety of medical care to approximately 300 patients per day.

An Air Force C-130 aircraft that was already in Indonesia for a military exercise has been ferrying supplies such as rice, tents, generators and other emergency equipment to Padang from various locations in the country.

Relief operations in both Indonesia and the Philippines are in support of the U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

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