At a White House meeting with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President George Bush expressed his deepest condolences to the victims of Typhoon Frank (Fengshen). "I know there are families that are hurting," said Mr. Bush. “We, the American people, care about the human suffering that's taking place, and we want to help our friends in a time of need.”
Providing immediate response in the wake of the typhoon in affected communities, the Philippine Red Cross began distributing assistance and USAID-funded relief supplies to thousands of victims. In order to help the Philippine Government with their rescue and recovery efforts, President Bush announced that the U.S. Navy has deployed the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier group to the Philippines. The carrier group is supporting immediate rescue, recovery, and disaster relief efforts being carried out by Philippine authorities.
USS Ronald Reagan on-board aircraft are assisting with transportation of humanitarian relief supplies and other cargo and aerial damage assessment and are supporting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) led search-and-rescue operations. Under the direction of Philippine disaster relief authorities, USS Ronald Reagan personnel are also helping with the production and delivery of potable water and food supplies, medical assistance activities, and machinery repair. Upon arrival in the Philippines, U.S. sailors, Philippine military personnel and local residents worked side-by-side to unload approximately 10,000 pounds of rice and over 20,000 bottles of water which were turned over to the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development for distribution to those communities most severely affected by the typhoon.
One of the worst disasters caused by the typhoon that struck on June 21st was the capsizing of a large Philippine ferryboat. The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier group joins the USNS Stockham which was deployed earlier to Sibuyan Island at the request of the Philippine government in support of the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard’s search and rescue efforts. Two U.S. Navy P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft were also deployed to assist in search and rescue efforts.
To assist those in need, USAID is providing one-hundred thousand dollars worth of essential relief goods through the Philippine National Red Cross. USAID is also providing a chartered aircraft with relief supplies worth $565,000 including plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, and other supplies sufficient for 20,000 beneficiaries.
The United States stands ready to provide any additional disaster relief it can to the Philippines -- a close friend and ally –- in the wake of this terrible tragedy.