U.S. Forces Continue to Aid Earthquake, Tsunami Victims

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2011 — Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers in Japan con­tin­ue to help the Japan­ese peo­ple recov­er from the cat­a­stroph­ic March 11 earth­quake and tsuna­mi.
At the same time, many fam­i­ly mem­bers have tak­en advan­tage of the vol­un­tary autho­rized depar­ture process.

Japan­ese author­i­ties say that more than 10,000 peo­ple are known dead from the twin dis­as­ters and anoth­er 17,000 are still miss­ing. More than 250,000 are liv­ing in evac­u­a­tion shelters. 

The nuclear emer­gency at the Dai-Ichi pow­er plant con­tin­ues, and Japan­ese author­i­ties today asked those liv­ing between 20 and 30 kilo­me­ters from the plant –- about 12 to 20 miles — to move. 

Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers based in Japan were among the first inter­na­tion­al per­son­nel to pro­vide aid. 

As of March 24, U.S. ser­vice mem­bers have deliv­ered 1,707,815 gal­lons of water, 172 tons of food, 10 tons of med­ical sup­plies and 34 tons of oth­er relief sup­plies. DOD per­son­nel are work­ing with Japan­ese emer­gency respon­ders to search for bod­ies, clear air­ports and roads and deliv­er human­i­tar­i­an supplies. 

Amer­i­can heli­copters have hop-scotched the area deliv­er­ing sup­plies, trans­port­ing sur­vivors or bring­ing in personnel. 

Six­teen U.S. ships, includ­ing the air­craft car­ri­er USS Ronald Rea­gan, are deployed in sup­port of oper­a­tions. Marines from the 31st Marine Expe­di­tionary Unit and 3rd Marine Expe­di­tionary Force are involved with the relief effort. Air­men from Mis­awa, and Kade­na air bases also are involved at many levels. 

A total of 4,744 U.S. fam­i­ly mem­bers have returned to the Unit­ed States via the vol­un­tary autho­rized depar­ture pro­gram. About 8,000 Amer­i­can fam­i­ly mem­bers are still in Japan await­ing departure. 

Ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies have had con­cerns about pos­si­ble con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of food and water in Japan, and U.S. Forces Japan has enhanced the mea­sures the com­mand takes to ensure the safe­ty of food and water supplies. 

The food and water on U.S. mil­i­tary instal­la­tions are safe and in accor­dance with U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion stan­dards, accord­ing to a release on the command’s website. 

The com­mand will con­tin­ue to test water sup­plies and will increase the num­ber of tests as an added pre­cau­tion, the release added. 

“The safe­ty and secu­ri­ty of our ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies are our top pri­or­i­ty,” the release said. “We take extreme care to ensure our per­son­nel are pro­tect­ed and will con­tin­ue to mon­i­tor the situation.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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