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Pacific Command in Hawaii leads humanitarian relief operations

By Star-Advertiser staff and news services

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:09 p.m. HST, Nov 11, 2013


U.S. Marine Corps C-130 cargo aircraft assisted today in the delivery of 38,000 pounds of relief supplies provided by the government of the Philippines as the United States military helps in the recovery of the Philippines from Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

At the request of the Philippines, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directed U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith to support humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines.

U.S. Pacific Command designated U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, also at Camp Smith, as the "executive agent" for the operation, the Marines said.

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, "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," the Marine Corps said.

Approximately 215 U.S. military personnel are currently deployed in support of this operation.

The initial focus includes surface and airborne maritime search and rescue, medium-heavy helicopter lift support, fixed-wing lift support and logistics enablers.

This includes four MV-22B tilt-rotor Ospreys and five KC-130J Hercules aircraft out of 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," the Corps said. "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 26, based in Jacksonville, Florida, and currently on a six-month rotation to Misawa, Japan, are in the Philippines to assist with the armed forces of the Philippines' search and rescue operations.

On Tuesday, Marine personnel will assist with receiving relief supplies from the U.S. Agency for International Development-donated relief supplies, as well as assisting with the transport of those supplies to the affected areas.

Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda 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.

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 the super typhoon "and will help our ally recover from the storm," the Marine Corps said.

Since 1990, the United States has responded to more than 40 disasters in the Philippines at the request of that country's government, including volcanic eruptions, drought, and population displacement.






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