The Navy is sending two Virginia-based amphibious ships to the Gulf of Mexico to help in the relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey, the Navy announced Wednesday.

The USS Kearsarge, which is a large-deck amphibious assault ship, and the USS Oak Hill, which is a dock landing ship, have been ordered to get underway Thursday "to support federal, state and local authorities ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey," the Navy said.

The ships are carrying Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Kearsarge is homeported in Norfolk Naval Station and Oak Hill is based at nearby Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

Both ships carry helicopters and landing craft that can be used to provide medical support while ferrying supplies and people.

"We recognize recovery from this catastrophic disaster will be a long-term effort," the Navy said. "We are leaning forward to fully support FEMA and Texas with DoD assistance as requested."