International flotilla awaits Burma go-ahead

It now appears that a combined American, French and British naval force comprised of amphibious ships, helicopters, landing craft and frigates is likely the West's only option to deliver relief supplies into Burma. The plan may involve the naval forces delivering the aid close inshore and on the beaches where it will be turned over to local groups to do the actual delivery.

The capacity is significant:

"The U.S. ships can produce more than 70,000 gallons of drinkable water per day and the Marines carry equipment capable of producing 5,000 gallons more per hour ashore. On the ships are more than 120 Navy medics, 12 doctors and three dentists." The force also has at least 17 helicopters, two large landing craft and several hovercraft.

This is a repeat of the American performance during the 2005 Tsunami disaster. At that time, US naval and amphibious forces were delivering 150,000 lbs of relief supplies a day to areas that only they could reach due to damaged Indonesian roads and rail links. A total of 1,300 helo missions delivered a total of 3.3 million lbs of relief supplies.