US forces end earthquake relief operation in Japan
Stars and Stripes April 24, 2016
YOKOHAMA, Japan — The U.S. military announced the end of its weeklong earthquake relief mission to Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture on Sunday.
U.S. servicemembers delivered more than 230,000 pounds of supplies to Japanese personnel working in the area, which was struck by a series of intense earthquakes and aftershocks beginning April 14.
Marine Corps Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, Air Force C-130 cargo planes and Army UC-35 transports flew a combined 20 missions delivering supplies and Japanese personnel to the affected areas.
“The people affected by the quake remain in our thoughts and prayers,” U.S. Forces Japan commander Lt. Gen. John Dolan said in a statement Sunday. “I hope that our contribution to the relief effort was able to help them through this difficult time.”
Shortly after the first earthquakes, the Japanese government authorized 25,000 Japan Self-Defense Forces personnel to aid with disaster rescue and recovery.
Tens of thousands of people remain in shelters after the earthquakes left many homes uninhabitable in Kumamoto, a city and prefecture on the island of Kyushu, in Japan’s southwest.
The death toll stood at 48 dead as of Saturday, according to government figures cited by the Asahi newspaper.
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the hard-hit village of Minamiaso on Saturday. Last week, Abe said the national government would consider a supplementary reconstruction budget for Kumamoto Prefecture.