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US Marines, sailors on their way to help Philippines

11 November 2013, 06:55

Washington - A team of about 90 US Marines and sailors headed to the Philippines on Sunday as part of a first wave of promised US military assistance for relief efforts after a devastating typhoon killed at least 10 000 people, US officials said.

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel at the weekend ordered the US military's Pacific Command to assist with search and rescue operations and provide air support in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded.

CNN reported that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Saturday it is immediately making available $100 000 to go for health care, clean water and sanitation to areas hit hard by the devastating storm.

USAID said in a statement that it is sending a disaster assistance response team to assess the damage, determine the humanitarian needs and keep key players posted on what's happening and what needs to happen next.

The team of US forces from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade left for the Philippines from a US base in Okinawa, Japan, aboard two KC-130J Hercules transport aircraft, the Marines said in a statement.

Two Florida-based Navy P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft, which had been on a six month rotation to Misawa, Japan, have been prepositioned in the Philippines to assist with search and rescue operations, the Marines said.

Most of the deaths appear to have been caused by surging sea water strewn with debris that many said resembled a tsunami, levelling houses and drowning its victims.

- Reuters


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