U.S. 4th Fleet has dispatched the frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts to Panama to assist with flood relief efforts.

Panama has been hit by heavy rains, flooding and landslides, prompting Panamanian President Martin Torrijos to declare a state of emergency for parts of the country along the Caribbean coast, a 4th Fleet news release said.

"Samuel B. Roberts, with embarked Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 60 Detachment 2, will conduct storm damage assessments, as well as be prepared to conduct search and rescue operations and deliver disaster relief supplies," the news release said.

The ship, which has Mayport, Fla., as its homeport, had been conducting an anti-trafficking mission in the eastern Pacific when it was ordered to Panama.

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