- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - The 300 U.S. Marine, Army, Air Force and Navy personnel involved in rescue operations in Nepal since a major earthquake struck last month concluded their work Wednesday, officials said.

Commander of the U.S. joint task force in Nepal Lt. Gen. John Wissler said the operations ended and they will begin leaving Nepal, where they brought in helicopters and other aircraft to assist in rescue and relief.

“Today marks the conclusion of the joint task force participation in the ongoing relief mission as our unique military capabilities are no longer needed. We begin the return to our homes ready to return to Nepal should our two nations deem our support necessary once more,” Wissler said.

Powerful earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 killed at least 8,622 people and damaged 756,000 houses and other buildings.

The U.S. military personnel have been flying relief goods to mountain villages and bringing back injured villagers. They also have assisted in search and rescue missions in urban areas where buildings collapsed.

A U.S. Marines UH-1 “Huey” helicopter crashed last week while on a rescue mission in the mountains, killing six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers.

The U.S. has provided $47 million in humanitarian assistance for earthquake relief efforts.

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