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Thursday, March 31, 2005

U.S. sending Navy ships to quake region

U.S. sending Navy ships to quake region:
The U.S. Navy has dispatched two vessels to Nias island in the earthquake-struck region of Indonesia, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

The USNS Mercy, a hospital ship, and the USNS Niagara Falls, a supply ship, are under way and should arrive at Nias island in six days, Lt. Cmdr. Greg Hicks said. The two vessels assisted in the recovery efforts from the December tsunami, and have since been on a humanitarian mission to East Timor.

The ships were sent to Nias island in response to an informal request for assistance from Jakarta, Hicks said. A formal request for help is expected through diplomatic channels shortly.

Other U.S. military assets, including aircraft and stockpiles of medical supplies, are standing by at Pacific Ocean bases if additional requests for aid are transmitted, Hicks said.

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