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US Aircraft Carrier Group Begins Philippines Relief Operations

A MH-60S helicopter, from the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew (T AKE 10), transports a pallet of water en route to the Republic of the Philippin
A MH-60S helicopter, from the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew (T AKE 10), transports a pallet of water en route to the Republic of the Philippin
VOA News
The U.S. Navy launched a huge relief operation in the typhoon-ravaged central Philippines Thursday, as the devastated Philippine city of Tacloban began the grim task of burying its dead.

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington and a contingent of seven supply ships arrived in the Philippine Sea early Thursday, and began delivering water and emergency rations to the wrecked city. The carrier also has medical facilities and can produce 1.5 million liters of fresh water a day. One of the ships in the carrier group, the USNS Charles Drew, made its first delivery of food and drinking water to the storm ravaged city of Tacloban Thursday.

The giant hospital ship USS Mercy also is making emergency preparations to depart the United States, and is expected to join the emergency flotilla within weeks, along with the British carrier HMS Illustrious.

  • Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington load containers of water onto an MH-60S Seahawk for the Philippines, Nov. 15. 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A C-2A Greyhound carrying relief supplies for Operation Damayan prepares to land on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington, Nov. 15, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington load containers of water onto an MH-60S Seahawk, Nov. 15, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington load containers of water onto an MH-60S Seahawk, Nov. 15, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • An Aviation Electrician’s Mate directs a MH-60S helicopter from the USNS Charles Drew as it lifts a pallet of diesel en route to the Philippines, Nov. 14. 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A Naval Aircrewman prepares to drop supplies, Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Marines load supplies onto a forklift at Tacloban Air Base, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A Naval Aircrewman prepares to drop supplies, Tacloban, Philippines, Nov., 14, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • An MH-60S Seahawk drops supplies onto Tacloban Air Base, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Marines and U.S. Army Soldiers load supplies onto an MV-22 Osprey, Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013.(U.S. Navy)

Meanwhile, rescue personnel began lowering unidentified bodies into a mass grave near Tacloban's city hall Thursday, as U.S. helicopters sped food and water to the city and reconnaissance aircraft began charting the areas worst-hit last week by Typhoon Haiyan.

Factbox: International Aid Pledged to Philippines for Typhoon Aftermath

The flow of relief supplies has been hampered by wrecked roadways and the lack of gasoline in and near the city.  Officials say the fuel shortages have been made worse by retail merchants afraid to sell their gasoline supplies for fear of rioting by an increasingly desperate population.

There were no official burial ceremonies Thursday.  But a police photographer told the Associated Press that a portion of the femur was removed from each corpse, and that technicians will later extract DNA from those remains to match with surviving next of kin.

The death toll from last Friday's storm stands at 2,357, although Tacloban's mayor said the count is expected to rise significantly.

United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who toured Tacloban Wednesday, later called the situation "dismal," with tens of thousands of people living during monsoon season in the open and exposed to rain and wind.

Food, water and other basic necessities are still in short supply for many of the hundreds of thousands displaced. Some have turned to looting to survive. One survivor said she has not received any help, six days after the storm.

"We haven't received anything, not even a drop of porridge. My two siblings could die, my elder brother and my nephew are sick, I'm the only one who is not sick. Are they going to wait for all of us here to get sick and die one by one before they do anything? And when we ask them, they sid, 'We have no information.' What kind of people are these? They said they would help.''

Although the amount of aid material shipped to affected areas has steadily increased, much of it has been unused at airports or other areas because of a lack of fuel and because roads are still blocked by debris.

Asked why the arrival of aid has not happened faster Jeremy Konyndyk, the Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for USAID, said in a VOA interview that: "we had to work a couple of days to work through some logistical obstacles and just to get the aid pipeline set up."  Konyndyk said over the next couple of days there will be a "real uptick" in the amount of relief getting into the small and damaged Tacloban airport,  and getting out to people who need it.

Volunteers Launch Grassroots Effort to Aid Typhoon Victims:
Volunteers Launch Grassroots Effort to Aid Typhoon Victimsi
November 14, 2013 12:58 PM
Much of the attention on the response to Typhoon Haiyan, which has destroyed many communities in the Philippines, is on the large-scale efforts by governments, foreign militaries and announcements from major humanitarian groups. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Quezon City.
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Comment Sorting
by: Roseller castillo from: Woodside nyc
November 17, 2013 12:23 PM
I am a filipino and i know that leyte is gen. Douglas mcarthur land, philippines is one of a daughter of america.

by: East coast
November 16, 2013 4:31 PM
Where is renato Reyes leader of anti American movement. Is he helping Filipino people now.
In Response

by: Edgar from: Philippines
November 17, 2013 1:56 AM
This is the perfect moment for Renato Reyes leader of Anti American Movement to turn his mouth into a SILENT MODE because he cannot match the sophisticated humanitarian effort of the US Government. God Bless America! and to other countries with all their unwavering support. You are truly our friends. God Bless you!

by: enuffnews from: Texas
November 16, 2013 3:39 AM
The US Military has arrived in Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines. Tanauan, is one of the hardest hit areas situated north of the Typhoon Eye Wall. Bombarded with none stop winds in excess of 200 MPH with 17 ft Storm surge. US Airlift Ops includes, Food/Meds re-supply, priority EVAC of injured and elderly. The US is Standing Strong in Support of the Philippines. Regardless of Politics, we (USA) shall always return to the Philippines.

by: Joh from: Philippines
November 15, 2013 11:53 PM
Thank you so much american government for helping Philippines...

God Bless America

by: Brad from: usa
November 15, 2013 11:58 AM
As a US citizen i am surprised we do not have a more rapid deployable humanitarian effort to help nations and our own nation in the time of need; especially as it seems the intensity od global disasters are increasing. i am surprised our relief effort is not much wider especially with such a strong friend that the Pbilippines is.
In Response

by: neil braddy from: st. george utah
November 16, 2013 10:28 AM
my mother in law lives in the town of carrigara ...some 60 km west of tacloban....they have had no relief...if any one knows anyone who can influence a flight officer to despatch a helicopter to the eastern end of the town of carrigara with a load of food and water it will probably save young lives ...
In Response

by: enufnews from: Texas
November 16, 2013 3:20 AM
The 374 AW sits in Yokota and 1&17 SOS with Rescue is in Okinawa. That's how you mount an immediately response. Regardless of your assumptions, the PI is still one of the US closest allies. The US is actually rebuilding the Military bases in the Philippines. 2004 - 2005 - Deployed to Utapao, Thailand, and provided humanitarian relief as part of Unified Assistance after a 26 December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia left some 300,000 people dead or missing, and upwards of a million more displaced. -eNuff Said
In Response

by: Ed in Texas from: Texas
November 15, 2013 9:55 PM
Do you mean our Phillipino "friends" like the people who DEMANDED that the US military close its bases and go away?
You have NO idea what it takes to move ships/assets and equipment around to help others. And if we just ran our ships over to the scene, they could run AGROUND due to changes in the contour of the sea floor from the storm.
Instead of complaining, why don't YOU send them some money if you feel so strongly about helping??
In Response

by: David
November 15, 2013 9:42 PM
@ Brad, More Rapid? 1 Week with massive amounts of help, food, water, medicine, technical support and logistical support? How in the world do you imagine anyone could move faster to a disaster area with such a massive amount of help?

by: Jether
November 15, 2013 10:10 AM
God bless America, thank you for your great generosity to us and may all of the filipinos say Amen and Amen.

by: Ferdinand from: Thailand
November 15, 2013 10:05 AM
We are very thankful for the US Government for the support and aid given to the people in Leyte.
God Bless You

by: vinky lastra from: hongkong
November 15, 2013 5:31 AM
Thank you so much US GOVERNMENT...GOD BLESS U MORE..

by: cyrus from: manila
November 14, 2013 10:10 PM
tank u very much to the u.s goverment and u.s navy sailor who help during disaste god bless
In Response

by: Archie Clint from: Qatar
November 15, 2013 10:51 AM
Thank you so much America for your help and support. May God bless you more.

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