Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
Kentucky Air Guard assists USSOUTHCOM, USAID to airlift flood relief supplies to Ecuador

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, March 05, 2008  
Contact Information:  1LT Andi Hahn
Asst. Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Kentucky National Guard

Louisville, Ky. -- In the midst of the largest disaster exercise ever conducted by the National Guard in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Kentucky Air Guard has sent of its C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft on an actual humanitarian relief mission to Ecuador.

The Kentucky C-130 and its crew of seven Airmen, departed Louisville today, March 5, for Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. On Thursday the aircraft will then fly under the operational direction of U.S. Southern Command to Manta, Ecuador, carrying 162 flood clean-up kits and related equipment. Once in Ecuador, the supplies will be provided to local disaster relief officials charged with cleaning items contaminated by mud, sewage, mold and mildew as the flood waters in the country’s western and central provinces recede.

The kits, donated by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, each contain five-gallon buckets with lids, two sets of respirators, two sets of coveralls, two sets of heavy nitrile gloves, two pairs of goggles, two boot covers, a scrub brush and non-hazardous germicidal wipes.

U.S. Southern Command assistance to ongoing flood recovery efforts in Ecuador began last month after Ecuadorian officials declared a national emergency and formally requested assistance from the international community to overcome the impact of persistent rains and flooding near the country’s Pacific coast.

On Feb. 21, U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Linda Jewell issued a disaster declaration paving the way for U.S. government assistance to the South American nation.

The Kentucky National Guard was specifically requested to fly the mission due to its 12-year-old State Partnership Program relationship with Ecuador.

“This is a terrific opportunity to support our partners in Ecuador,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Kentucky’s Adjutant General.   “When you consider the multiple operations impacting the Kentucky Guard just this week  - the largest disaster drill we’ve ever attempted here at home, combined with the fact we currently have 1,500 Soldiers and Airmen mobilized for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Eastern Europe  -  our ability to respond on short notice to fly this vital humanitarian mission absolutely underscores our commitment to our State Partnership Program with Ecuador.”