US Marines started on Monday bringing in the first shipments of water, generators and other emergency supplies. In the meantime, the Department of Defense
has issued orders for the USS George Washington (CV-73) along with several other support ships to dispatch at full speed to the Philippines to provide further assistance
where the death toll is estimated to reach 10 to 12,000 or more. The storm has also reportedly displaced up to 660,000 civilians in the most devastated areas that the
storm ravaged. The George Washington was in port in Hong Kong where she was making final preparations to deploy Monday morning and is expected to arrive within
48 to 72 hours. The British Navy also reports that it has also dispatched the HMS Daring which is expected to arrive in 2 to 3 days to assist. The George
Washington can produce up to 400,000 gallons of fresh water a day and also has what could be considered a small hospital onboard as well, in addition
to a large contingent of the crew of 5000 sailors who could assist in search and rescue operations.
The Marines, utilizing two US C-130 transport aircraft which were filled with relief supplies and a contingent of troops left Manila to the city of Tacloban on the eastern
seaboard where the storm initially struck. The Marines are being lead by Brig. General Paul Kennedy who said, after taking a flight over Tacloban which is the largest city
in Leyte province, “We saw bodies everywhere, some floating in the water, others in a schoolyard”. He said trees were uprooted for miles, roads were impassable and power
line were down. After conducting a survey flight by helicopter, the General stated that literally every building he could see was either completely destroyed or severely
damaged by the storm.
John Ging, the operations manager of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said “many places are strewn with dead bodies” that need to be buried
quickly to prevent deadly disease outbreaks. “We’re expecting the worst as we get more and more access,,” Ging told reporters at UN headquarters. According to reports,
rescue efforts are being hampered by looters, including some who attacked trucks of food and other supplies being sent in by the Philippine National Red Cross. Rescuers
are also faced with blocked roads and the airport has suffered damage as well while they attempt to deliver desperately needed tents, food and medicines to the area. Due
to rampant looting being reported, President Benigno Aquino III said Sunday that he was considering declaring a state of emergency or martial law in Tacloban to try to help
bring the situation under control.
Authorities said at least 9.7 million people in 41 provinces were affected by the typhoon which appears to be the largest in recorded history.
PLEASE PRAY for the people of the Philippines in this desperate time of need and PRAY for our troops and for their safety during these rescue and support operations.