WASHINGTON, May 4, 2015 — U.S. military aircraft landed in Kathmandu, Nepal, yesterday to assist in recovery efforts following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck there April 25, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters today.
The Defense Department’s primary contribution to the recovery work involves rotary-wing assets, Warren said.
Five U.S. Marine Corps aircraft -- a UH-1Y Huey helicopter and four MV-22 Ospreys, began arriving in Nepal yesterday morning, he said.
“These aircraft will help emergency responders access [Nepal’s] remote areas, which are home to the earthquake’s poorest and most vulnerable [people],” Warren said.
DoD Authorizes $10 Million
Defense Secretary Ash Carter authorized $10 million in Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Assistance Funding in support of the operation, he added.
About 121 U.S. service members are on the ground to assist in recovery efforts in Nepal, Warren said, adding that Joint Task Force 505 was established May 1 to organize military personnel operations.
“The joint task force consists of a forward element in Nepal, a logistics support group in Utapao, Thailand, which is assisting with aircraft throughput and additional support [is coming from] Okinawa, Japan,” he said.
DoD aircraft have also partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s disaster assistance response team to view and assess areas of Nepal that have been made inaccessible by landslides and debris, Warren said.
“We’re working closely with host nations to minimize the impact of these activities on local populations,” he said.
The earthquake in Nepal has left more than 7,300 people dead and at least 14,000 injured, according to the Associated Press.