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    Two C-130 aircraft arrive in Chile to support earthquake relief efforts



    Courtesy Story

    U.S. Southern Command

    SANTIAGO, Chile - Two U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft and a team of about 50 Airmen from the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard will arrive in Santiago March 6 to support ongoing U.S. and international relief efforts in areas impacted by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake Feb. 27.

    The humanitarian airlift deployment will join the ongoing U.S. relief efforts led by the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and will augment an ongoing C-130 airlift relief operation led by Chile's Air Force.

    The C-130 missions will deliver aid to affected communities near the earthquake's epicenter in the vicinity of Concepcion.

    The C-130 Hercules can carry up to 42,000 pounds and use its high-flotation landing gear to land and deliver cargo on rough, dirt strips.

    The two aircraft departed Muñiz Air National Guard Base, Puerto Rico Friday and made an overnight refueling stop in Cartagena, Colombia before continuing their transit to Chile.

    On Feb. 28, U.S. Ambassador Paul E. Simons issued a disaster declaration in response to the effects of the earthquake. Following the Ambassador's declaration, USAID/OFDA deployed a 12-person Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to work in coordination with U.S. Embassy personnel and Chilean officials to evaluate humanitarian needs.

    To date, USAID/OFDA assistance totals more than $1.6 million, including support for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies emergency appeal and the provision and transport of 300 rolls of plastic sheeting and eight water treatment units from the USAID/OFDA warehouse in Miami. The U.S. government has also provided Chilean emergency response officials with 85 satellite telephones to facilitate communications until telephone networks in affected areas are repaired.

    U.S. military assistance to foreign countries following natural disasters is formally requested by affected nations through the U.S. ambassador.

    As the headquarters responsible for U.S. military operations in South America, Central America and the Caribbean, SOUTHCOM leads all U.S. military relief support to nations in the region.

    Once U.S. forces join a disaster relief effort, they work in concert with the U.S. interagency and multinational relief workers, coordinating with the host nation and USAID to provide needed services, from airlift capability, logistical and medical support, and engineering expertise. Recent disaster relief efforts have seen U.S. forces spend anywhere from days to weeks conducting operations after natural disasters.

    Since 2005, the command has led U.S. military support to 15 major relief missions, including assistance to Haiti following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 12.



    Date Taken: 03.06.2010
    Date Posted: 03.06.2010 16:42
    Story ID: 46265
    Location: SANTIAGO, CL 

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