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When the ‘Big One’ hits, the Navy is ready

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CLATSOP COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — Scientists agree: It’s not a matter of if The Big One hits, but when. Ports along the Oregon coast will be destroyed after a tsunami following a major earthquake, but the US Navy has landing crafts that can quickly haul 60 tons of relief equipment to people.

The amphibious ships can haul supplies from the Navy’s massive landing platform docks.

“It gives us a tremendous ability to get supplies ashore into a disaster zone,” said Commander Dennis Jacko of the USS Anchorage. “Best designed and best built ships in the Navy, as far as I’m concerned.”

The USS Anchorage practicing along the Oregon coast in an earthquake preparedness drill, June 3, 2019 (KOIN)

There’s 25,000-square feet of vehicle space on these ships, which can also hold up to 10 helicopters and 800 troops. They possess tremendous hospital facilities, including 2 operating rooms and a half-dozen ICU beds.

“A US Navy ship on the horizon is going to be the first sight of help arriving and possibly for some period of time we could be the only ones, depending on the extent of the damage,” Jacko said.

But after a major earthquake and tsunami, the Navy estimates the earliest they could provide relief is a week.

An amphibious Navy ship practicing along the Oregon coast in an earthquake preparedness drill, June 3, 2019 (KOIN)

“It’s important for people to understand with an event like Cascadia it’s going to take the federal government time before they’re ready to go,” said US 3rd Fleet Commander Brian Sauerhage. “People are going to have to take care of themselves.”

Navy officials stressed families in the Pacific Northwest, especially in the tsunami zone, need to be prepared and plan for an evacuation.

But when The Big One hits, the Navy will be ready.

An amphibious Navy ship practicing along the Oregon coast in an earthquake preparedness drill, June 3, 2019 (KOIN)

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