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Pacific Air Forces to deliver aid to China

  • Published
  • By Capt. Genieve David
  • 13th Air Force Public Affairs
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFPN) -- Pacific Air Forces Airmen are slated to deliver the first humanitarian aid to the People's Republic of China Sichuan province after an earthquake hit earlier this week.

"We offer our sincere condolences to the citizens of the People's Republic of China who have been affected by the recent earthquake," said Navy Adm. Timothy Keating, U.S. Pacific Command commander. "We will continue to provide any assistance we can to minimize their suffering and loss of life."

Two C-17 Globemaster IIIs, one assigned to the 15th Airlift Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and the other assigned to the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, are scheduled to deliver more than 175,000 lbs. of humanitarian relief supplies to the citizens of the People's Republic of China this afternoon.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in support of the U.S. Department of State, authorized PACOM to support earthquake relief efforts in the People's Republic of China less than 24 hours ago.

"The United States stands ready to help in any way possible," said Maj. Gen. Richard Perraut, vice commander, 13th Air Force. "Our Airmen were able to quickly mobilize and get relief supplies to those affected. The U.S. continues to stand by for any other requests. If those requests are made, they will be handled through the interagency process, and then we will respond accordingly."

A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck the central Sichuan Province May 12, causing significant civilian casualties, structural damage and disrupted power lines and other vital services. Reports also indicate that several thousand civilians have been displaced by the earthquake.

The aircraft are expected to arrive at Chengdu, Shuangliu International Airport May 18 (local time), carrying palletized loads of food, water containers, blankets, lanterns, generators and various hand tools. These supplies are from relief stocks located in Hawaii and Guam.

"You've seen the photos on the Internet -- they are heart-wrenching," said Col. Joe Kim, 154th Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard vice commander, whose crew will be piloting one of the C-17s. "This mission is about people helping people. It's us reaching out to them in their greatest hour of need."

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