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US military cargo planes are flying dozens of heavy trucks and a team of specialists to New York today to help with efforts to restore power in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, officials said.

The deployment of C-5 and C-17 cargo aircraft came as the National Guard reported its troops rescued some 2,000 stranded residents from flooded homes in New Jersey in the past two days, as the military aided local governments responding to the devastating storm.

The five C-5 and 12 C-17 planes picked up more than 60 vehicles and a 10-member civilian team in California before heading across the country to Stewart Air National Guard base in Newburgh, 97 km north of storm-battered New York City, the Pentagon said.

The array of repair trucks being transported, including cherry-pickers and a mobile command centre, were provided by a utility company, Southern California Edison, to help revive electricity services in areas hit by Sandy, spokesman George Little told presspersons.

Nearly 10,000 National Guard forces have fanned out along the eastern seaboard, delivering generators and water pumps to flooded coastal communities, as well as rescuing stranded motorists in the mountains of West Virginia, which saw heavy snowfall.

The US Navy meanwhile ordered three amphibious ships to head towards the New Jersey coast in case local authorities needed assistance with rescue efforts, officials said.

The move “will allow our forces to be best postured to minimise the amount of time it will take these forces to get on station if tasked,” said US Navy spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

The three ships were the helicopter carrier USS Wasp, the USS Antonio and the USS Carter Hall.

(This article was published on November 2, 2012)
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