Monday, November 26, 2007

USS Essex and USS Kearsarge Marine carrier groups enroute to Bangladesh

Update: U.S. Steps Up Aid To Bangladesh; USS Essex, Kearsarge En Route

November 20, 2007 11:02 p.m. EST

Benjie Telleron - AHN News Writer

Washington, D.C. (AHN) - The White House will dispatch two U.S. Navy vessels to assist in search and rescue operations as well as help provide aid to cyclone-hit areas of Bangladesh.

According to officials, the USS Essex and USS Kearsarge are expected to arrive in Bangladesh within a week; each carrying at least 20 helicopters equipped to aid in the search for survivors and transport medical patients.

In 1991, the U.S. sent a naval ship for relief and rehabilitation efforts in Afghanistan after a cyclone in the region claimed the lives of nearly 143,000. Now, the U.S. will spend at least an estimated $2.1 million in emergency aid for the region.

"The United States is responding in the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr to try to meet the immediate needs of the Bangladeshi people, calling into action a multitude of US government disaster relief agencies and departments," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said. "We extend our deepest sympathies to the people of Bangladesh following this major natural disaster, and we stand ready to assist further."

On Tuesday, an American C-130 cargo plane arrived in Bangladesh carrying the first batch of relief goods worth $161,000.

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