The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 19, 2013
Since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8, U.S. disaster relief experts and military personnel have worked around the clock to deliver food, water, medicine, and shelter to help those hit hardest by the storm. In support of the Philippines’ relief effort, the United States is providing more than $37 million in humanitarian aid to those in need.
U.S. Assistance at a Glance
U.S. humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan includes:
In the days following the storm, U.S. assistance has included:
There are currently 15 USAID disaster response specialists and approximately 9,500 U.S. military personnel responding to the crisis.
U.S. military aircraft have logged some 945 flight hours, delivered more than 750,000 pounds of relief supplies and equipment, moved more than 1,200 relief workers into Tacloban, and airlifted nearly 5,640 survivors from storm affected areas.
A significant amount of U.S. assistance has also supported logistical operations, including helping get airports up and running, providing communications support, expanding transportation capacity, and establishing aid distribution centers.
A Coordinated Response
Even before the storm reached land, the United States began coordinating potential support to the Philippines’ response effort. Departments and agencies in Washington and our Embassy in Manila were in close communication in the days before the storm. Our Embassy put out a warning message for American citizens and USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to the area.
The DART was the first government assessment team to arrive in Leyte province, and continues to play a critical role in leading the U.S. response effort, assessing storm damage, advising on critical humanitarian needs, coordinating relief efforts in support of the Philippine government, and working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies. Five USAID airlifts have delivered needed emergency supplies like plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, water containers, and nutrition-dense food items. Of the more than $37 million in U.S. assistance, we provided $10 million to the World Food Programme to enable, in part, the purchase of 2,500 metric tons of rice being distributed by the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development.
U.S. Marines on the ground in the Philippines were among the first to respond, using C-130s and MV-22 Ospreys to airlift relief supplies to Tacloban and other hard hit areas. The USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group arrived in the Philippines on November 14, and has helped expand search and rescue operations, provide medical care, and deliver supplies using its 21 helicopters. In addition, U.S. Pacific Command has established a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief-certified Joint Task Force at Camp Aguinaldo. A joint contingent of more than 850 military personnel is currently ashore in the Philippines. Two U.S. amphibious ships – the USS Ashland and USS Germantown -- are currently en route to the Philippines after loading elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit at Okinawa, Japan and will bring with them heavy engineering equipment like backhoes, dump trucks and wreckers needed to support the response.
Our Philippine ally is responding to one of the largest disasters its country has ever faced, and we have been coordinating closely with them at every step. Thus far, our cooperation has been excellent. Our military personnel are in close touch, as are our development and disaster relief experts. The Philippine government has moved quickly to facilitate humanitarian assistance provided by the United States and international community, and has provided quick clearance for U.S. aircraft, ships, and personnel, enabling us to rapidly begin to deliver assistance to affected areas.
How Americans Can Help
As President Obama said last week, when friends are in trouble, America helps. The United States will continue to offer whatever assistance we can to the people of the Philippines, but this is more than just a government effort. Learn more about how you can help at http://www.whitehouse.gov/typhoon.