When Typhoon Haiyan crossed the Philippine Islands on November 8, it caused utter devastation in 41 of the country’s 80 provinces. And although it could be months before all casualties are accounted for, we do know that nearly 10 million people were directly affected by Haiyan, also known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda. Hundreds of thousands of people are in dire need of food, water, shelter, and medical care.
As one of the Philippines’ closest allies, the United States has been working to provide rapid and effective relief to those in need. Through the USAID, the United States government is providing $20 million for immediate humanitarian aid and has deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team to coordinate the U.S. relief effort.
The United States government is providing $20 million for immediate humanitarian aid.
Within hours after the typhoon made landfall, a contingent of U.S. Marines and sailors, along with aircraft for search and rescue operations, arrived in the Philippines as part of a first wave of U.S. military assistance. Slower to arrive was the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier "U.S.S. George Washington," which set out for the Philippines from Hong Kong. The ship, with its 5,000 sailors and 80 aircraft, was accompanied by its escort of four other U.S. ships.
These vessels are well equipped to provide immediate aid in disaster areas. They carry 23 helicopters and numerous medical facilities and supplies. As well, the aircraft carrier can convert sea water into fresh water: its distilling plants can hold 1.5 million liters of water, enough to supply 2,000 homes.
“The U.S. government is organizing emergency shipments of critically needed material to provide shelter to the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos driven from their homes by this unprecedented typhoon,” said Secretary of State John Kerry in a written statement.
“We are also organizing emergency shipments of food and hygiene supplies to thousands of families. Pentagon personnel are also deeply involved, providing logistical support to make sure relief gets to the right locations as quickly as possible. Non-governmental organizations, charities and private relief organizations are also on the scene.
“I want to assure the people of the Philippines and the many Americans of Filipino heritage that we are working as hard as possible to provide essential assistance to help the Philippine people and their government, recover from this tragedy.”