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 almost 2,500 dead, about 6,000 injured and thousands more still missing. In addition, 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.