At the request of the Government of the Philippines, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed U.S. Pacific Command to support U.S. Government humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. U.S. Pacific Command has designated the commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, as the executive agent for this operation.
U.S. Military assets began moving Sunday (Philippine time) to begin initial assessments of support requirements. The forward command element/humanitarian assistance survey team, led by Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, the deputy commander of the Third Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) and the commanding general of the Third Marine Expeditionary Brigade (3d MEB), is continuously assessing the situation along with the Government and Armed Forces of the Philippines to determine how to best make use of personnel and resources. Approximately 215 U.S. military personnel are currently deployed in support of this operation.
The initial focus includes surface maritime search and rescue (SAR), airborne maritime SAR, medium-heavy helicopter lift support, fixed-wing lift support and logistics enablers. This includes four MV-22B Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 and five KC-130J Hercules assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, both part of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF, based in Okinawa, Japan. The MV-22 provides a unique capability in this type of operation: with its short/vertical take-off and landing capabilities, it can operate in austere environments. Its ability to convert quickly to fixed-wing configuration gives it greatly increased speed and range over traditional rotary wing aircraft.
Two U.S. Navy P-3 Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 26, based in Jacksonville, Florida and currently on a six month rotation to Misawa, Japan in support of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet,
are in the Philippines to assist with the Armed Forces of the Philippines' search and rescue operations.
On Monday, Marine Corps C-130s assisted in the delivery of 38,000 pounds of relief supplies provided by the Government of the Philippines, as well as the transport of 210 aid workers. On Tuesday, MEB personnel will assist with receiving relief supplies from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-donated relief supplies, as well as assisting with the transport of those supplies to the affected areas.
Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda has impacted more than 4.2 million people across 36 provinces in the Philippines, according to the Philippine government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Philippine officials will have a better idea of the damage and death toll in the coming days as transportation and communications systems are repaired.
In coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Charge’ d’Affairs in Manila, the Department of Defense will continue to monitor the effects of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda and will help our ally recover from the storm.
Since 1990, the U.S. Government has responded to more than 40 disasters in the Philippines at the request of that country’s government, ranging from volcanic eruptions, drought, and population displacement.
To view the Typhoon Haiyan HADR photo album visit:
Also visit the U.S. Embassy Manila Facebook page: