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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                   (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)
For Immediate Release                                    August 21, 1999
                              FACT SHEET:
     U.S. Humanitarian Relief Efforts for Turkey Earthquake Victims

The U.S. is engaged in a broad-ranging assistance effort to help those affected by the devastating earthquake in Turkey. The earthquake caused more than 10,000 deaths and 45,000 injuries, with thousands more still missing.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) deployed two search and rescue teams to help recover earthquake survivors. One team from Fairfax Fire and Rescue arrived August 18 and is conducting 24-hour rescue operations, in cooperation with teams from 20 countries. The second team from Metro-Dade arrived August 21. Each team includes 70 rescue experts, search dogs and sensory and earth moving equipment.

A U.S. team is also working with the United Nations to coordinate overall international rescue and relief efforts. Additional U.S. technical experts are on the way to help Turkish officials assess emergency health, water and sanitation needs.

A 22-member U.S. military crisis response medical team arrived August 19 and is providing medical assistance in Izmit, while an additional team will recommend further assistance needed. The USS Kearsarge will arrive this weekend to provide substantial medical support, including six operating rooms. The USS Gunston Hall and USS Ponce, members of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, will also arrive shortly.

The three ships will bring 2,200 marines and 22 helicopters to support relief efforts.

A U.S.-chartered plane has delivered 30,000 blankets, 500 rolls of plastic sheeting for shelter and medicine for 10,000 people. A second airlift carrying water purification units capable of assisting 28,000 persons will arrive in the coming days.

The President encourages Americans to help the Turkish people by providing support to relief agencies that are active in the region. Cash donations will enable these organizations to purchase exactly what is needed, locally and regionally, thus speeding up the delivery of assistance. For more information on organizations active in Turkey, access the USAID web site at