US ends military relief operations
Thursday, 06 December 2007

The US military ended its relief operations in the cyclone-battered Bangladesh Thursday but civilian efforts would continue, a news report said, quoting officials from both countries.

The Associated Press quoted army chief General Moeen U Ahmed as saying that the operations came to an end and the ship would leave Bangladesh waters soon.

Geeta Pasi, chargé d'affaires at the US embassy in Dhaka, said civilian aid agencies including USAID would continue relief efforts, the AP reported.

Another official with the US embassy told that the emergency operations would come to an end Thursday night, but medium- and long-term efforts would go on.

Helicopters from the USS Tarawa, which took over from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge Monday, made final sorties Thursday, dropping food, water and medicine, said captain John Beal.

The operation involved 20 helicopters.

Since Nov 22, the US military has delivered more than 113,000 kilograms of food and medicine and 54,000 litres of drinking water. The US ships' medical teams also treated 2,355 people, the officials said.

The USS Tarawa also participated in relief operations in 1991, dubbed Operation Sea Angel I, when a powerful cyclone killed about 140,000 people in Bangladesh.

Tropical Cyclone Sidr slammed into the coastal areas on the night of Nov 15, leaving more than 3,200 people dead and millions homeless.
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