DoD Sends Aircraft to Support Disaster-assistance Operations in Nepal
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Jennifer Massey and her K-9 dog, Phayu, board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III on Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 26, 2015, bound for Nepal. Massey is a Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue K-9 search specialist from Fairfax, Va., serving as part of a 69-person search and rescue team deploying to Nepal to assist in rescue operations after the country was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Johnson
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Members of the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team await takeoff on a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 26, 2015. The 69-person team is deploying to Nepal, along with about 70,000 pounds of supplies, in support of disaster-recovery operations after the country was struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Johnson
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U.S. Air Force personnel load pallets of equipment and supplies for victims of the Nepal earthquake into a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft on March Air Force Base, Calif., April 26, 2015. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor Queen
The United States has sent an Air Force aircraft to Nepal to deliver personnel and cargo in support of disaster-relief operations, according to Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren.
A magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit the country yesterday, reportedly leaving more than 4,200 dead and more than 7,000 injured. Thousands of people are currently reported to be without food, water or shelter.
"This morning at approximately 11:18 a.m., a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster departed from Dover Air Force Base bound for Nepal," Warren said in a statement released today. "The aircraft is transporting nearly 70 personnel, including a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue team and several journalists, along with 45 square tons of cargo."
The flight is expected to arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 27, according to Warren.
The initial estimated cost for the U.S. Defense Department's support is approximately $700,000, and there are currently no additional requests for DoD support, officials said on background.
At the time of the earthquake, there were 26 DoD personnel and one U.S. C-130 in Nepal to conduct a previously scheduled training exercise. All DoD personnel in Nepal are accounted for, officials said.
***EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was updated April 26, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. ET, to reflect more current reported casualty numbers.***