Sunday, January 23, 2005
A two-month period was long enough to keep US military personnel and resources at current levels to help tsunami-hit countries, a senior US defence official has said. "60 days is probably a pretty good benchmark for withdrawing military units from the tsunami-affected region," Commander of US Pacific Command, Admiral Thomas Fargo told media in Kuala Lumpur. Pointing at the US army's past efforts as an estimate, Fargo said, "That's not to say that we won't contribute unique capabilities as requested by the host nation past that point." There are currently 11,600 military personnel providing relief support, as well as 15 Navy ships (plus two more en route), 27 airplanes and 36 helicopters, according to a Pacific Command fact sheet. To date, a total of 2,158 air missions have been flown; 18.1 million pounds of relief supplies and equipment have been delivered; and 1,156 patients have received medical treatment. Fargo said professional relief organizations perform reconstruction work more efficiently than the military.
Admiral Thomas Fargo Commander of US Pacific Command