Since Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines Nov. 8, the U.S. has provided more than $37 million in humanitarian aid, helping with relief efforts, the White House announced Tuesday.
The massive typhoon, one of the worst storms ever recorded, affected more than 4.28 million people in 270 towns and cities, according to the Philippines Social Welfare and Development Department. The death toll is expected to exceed 10,000 people. Hundreds of thousands more have been displaced.
Typhoon Haiyan, also called Typhoon Yolanda, hit the Philippines’ eastern seaboard Nov. 8. Winds reached 235 kmh (147mph), with gusts even higher, and waves were as high as 15 meters (45 feet), the BBC reported. The storm brought nearly 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in some places.
The hardest-hit region of the Philippines was Leyte Island, whose provincial capital of Tacloban was left devastated by the powerful storm. “Yolanda cut through Tacloban like a scythe, sending walls of water across the downtown area in a furious rush, toppling power lines and felling houses, wrecking trucks and cars totally and, in many cases, ending lives,” Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
President Obama expressed his condolences to the victims of the typhoon. "Michelle and I are deeply saddened by the loss of life and extensive damage done by Super Typhoon Yolanda,” he said in a statement. “The United States is already providing significant humanitarian assistance, and we stand ready to further assist the government's relief and recovery efforts. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the millions of people affected by this devastating storm."
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Current involvement of U.S. aid provided by the White House:
U.S. humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan includes:
· USAID / Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) assisted with $20 million
· USAID / Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) assisted with $10 million
· Department of Defense assisted with $7.2 million
In the days following the storm, U.S. assistance has included:
· Emergency shelter materials for 20,000 families (100,000 people)
· Hygiene kits for 20,000 families (100,000 people)
· Water containers for 14,400 families (72,000 people)
· Restored functionality of the Tacloban municipal water system, benefiting 200,000 people
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.
“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,” the White House statement said. “Thus far, our cooperation has been excellent. Our military personnel are in close touch, as are our development and disaster-relief experts.”