Saturday, April 30, 2005
A U.S. navy hospital ship will leave Indonesia's quake-hit Nias island on Saturday, marking a final farewell by U.S. troops involved in Indonesian disaster relief work, the U.S. embassy said.
The 270-metre (890-ft) USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived in Indonesia with the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln after the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami that left more than 160,000 Indonesians dead or missing. The ship ended in March a one-month mission in Aceh province, the region hardest hit by the tsunami, and was on a humanitarian operation off Indonesia's eastern island of Alor when a deadly earthquake struck Nias on March 28. Since arriving on April 5, doctors in the 1,000-bed ship performed 123 surgeries and conducted more than 19,000 medical procedures at Nias, the embassy said in a statement on Friday. The U.S. military contributed one of the largest troop contingents, numbering in the thousands, to relief efforts in Aceh following the tsunami. USNS Mercy (T-AH 19)