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U.S. Aids Quake Victims

The United States is providing aid to victims of the earthquake that struck Indonesia. The earthquake was centered in the province of Yogyakarta on the island of Java. It killed more than six thousand people and injured at least thirty thousand. It also destroyed more than one-hundred thirty thousand houses, displacing more than six-hundred forty thousand people.

Two U.S. military cargo planes have delivered a mobile field hospital to Yogyakarta. Personnel drawn from the Third Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Pacific Air Force units on the island of Guam, and the U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy are bringing surgical, shock/trauma, laboratory, dental and X-ray equipment to the earthquake-ravaged area, along with medical expertise. The U.S. Navy ship Essex has extensive medical facilities, and is also being sent to the disaster zone.

White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said the Essex would provide assistance such as “helicopter lift assets and badly needed medical assistance.” The U.S. Agency for International Development, or U-S-A-I-D, is also involved in the relief effort. It has sent a disaster assistance response team to Indonesia and is providing earthquake victims with emergency relief supplies, including plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, and medical kits sufficient to serve the needs of forty thousand people for three months. In addition, U-S-A-I-D experts are assessing water supply and sanitation facilities at hospitals and evacuation camps.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said that the United States is also providing funds to assist the international relief effort:

"The United States is providing five million dollars for relief efforts in the wake of the earthquake. One million dollars of that is in response to the May 28th emergency appeal by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies."

President George W. Bush telephoned Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to express his condolences and pledge U.S. assistance. Mr. Bush said in a statement that the thoughts and prayers of Americans are with the Indonesian people "as they comfort all those affected by this terrible disaster."

"Through financial and material support," President Bush said, "the United States is assisting with recovery efforts in coordination with Indonesian authorities, and we stand prepared to provide additional assistance as needed."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.