WASHINGTON — The U.S. military will begin airlifting blankets, sleeping bags, hygiene kits and other supplies to Turkey in the next day or two to help victims of the powerful earthquake that struck Sunday.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is authorizing U.S. European Command to begin providing humanitarian assistance after receiving a request from the Turkish government.
The 7.2 magnitude quake leveled about 2,000 buildings in eastern Turkey, killing at least 575 people and leaving about 2,500 injured and thousands of homeless.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby says the U.S. will assist in any way possible. He says Turkey continues to work with local authorities and other international relief agencies to cope with the aftereffects of the earthquake.