The U.S. military says it is sending medical personnel and supplies to Indonesia to help in the international earthquake relief efforts in central Java. VOA's Heda Bayron from our Asia News Center in Hong Kong spoke with Lt. Commander Jason Salata, of the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii.
HB: Lt. Commander Jason Salata could you tell us what the U.S. military is doing to help in Indonesia's earthquake relief efforts?
JS: Medical personnel, equipment and supplies from the U.S. Pacific Command are being sent to Indonesia to contribute to the international humanitarian relief efforts in the wake of this devastating 6.2 [sic] magnitude earthquake that struck near the city of Yogyakarta.
HB: What kind of expertise and supplies are you sending?
JS: The deployment will … establish some command and control and abilities to scope out the scene and find exactly where our personnel need to be deployed …. And then approximately 100 personnel will deploy overall for our initial response and they'll bring surgical, shock trauma capacity, laboratory, dental, X-ray, preventative medicine expertise to that earthquake-ravaged area.
HB: How soon would U.S. personnel get there?
JS: This deployment is already taking place. It's in process right now.
HB: You mean there are already U.S. troops there?
JS: There are en route.
HB: Part of this effort, I understand, are personnel from (U.S. military bases in) Okinawa, Japan, Guam and the hospital ship Mercy which is currently in the Philippines. Is the Mercy on its way to Indonesia or is it still wrapping up operations in the Philippines?
JS: This current response will not change the scope of the U.S.N.S. Mercy's mission in the Philippines whatsoever. We are intent to keep the Mercy on its mission in the Philippines but there are some doctors and medical personnel from the Mercy, approximately 12 personnel will leave their station in the Philippines and fly and join our other personnel in Indonesia.