While the USS Essex Amphibious Readiness Group awaits an OK from the Myanmar government to deliver aid to Cyclone Nargis victims, Marines and sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit hit the ropes Sunday aboard the ship in international waters off the coast.

The MEU’s Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, Company E, hosted the static fast-rope training from a stationary CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter, according to a Marine news release. The rope techniques are used during fast troop insertions, rescue missions and supply operations.

The Myanmar military junta’s refusal to accept most international aid has outraged world leaders. The nation’s death toll in the wake of the cyclone could reach nearly 130,000, according to a recent Associated Press story.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military maintains hope it will be able to help Nargis victims.

"We are standing by and ready to provide any relief efforts we can," MEU spokesman Staff Sgt. Marc Ayalin stated Tuesday in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

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