Troops deliver relief supplies to typhoon victims

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — U.S. servicemembers helped deliver more than 170,000 pounds in supplies to victims of Typhoon Megi in the Philippines over the past few days, officials said Monday.

U.S. Marines and sailors worked with the Philippine military to deliver supplies Friday and Saturday after conducting damage assessments for two days prior, said Wossie Mazengia, deputy press attaché for the U.S. embassy in Manila.

About 2,200 servicemembers from the Sasebo-based USS Essex Expeditionary Strike Group and the Okinawa-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit were already in the Philippines for a amphibious exercise when Typhoon Megi struck the northern island of Luzon on Oct. 18. The typhoon’s 140 mph winds and storm surges left at least 28 dead and affected more than 215,000 people in the Philippines, according to The Associated Press. U.S. Marine helicopters airlifted rice, water and other supplies to the affected areas over the weekend.


On Sunday, the U.S. embassy also announced that the U.S. Agency for International Development would make an additional $800,000 available to the Philippines for disaster relief.

U.S. servicemembers began departing the country Monday, Mazengia said.

The USS Essex strike group – which includes the USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry and USS Denver – was at sea Monday and on their way to performing other duties, 7th fleet spokesman Jeff Davis said.

Typhoon Megi weakened to a tropical depression Sunday, but not before leaving dozens more dead and causing millions of dollars of damage in Taiwan before cutting across to southern China and causing more than 300,000 people to evacuate their homes.




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How you can help

In the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan slamming into the Philippines, relief organizations are calling on Americans to donate funds to their efforts.

UNICEF staff in the Philippines is being repositioned to provide emergency aid and the organization is gearing up to deliver supplies to children and their families. Donations can be made online or by texting RELIEF to 864233 to donate $10.

CARE teams are on the ground in the Philippines and the organization plans to provide emergency relief to thousands of families. Donations can be made online or by calling 1-800-521-CARE within the U.S. or +1-404-681-2552.

World Vision is mobilizing nearly 500 staff around the country to respond to the disaster. Donations are accepted online and the organization also lets you sponsor a child in the Philippines.

• The American Red Cross has volunteers spread throughout the region and accepts donations online. You can also mail a check to your local American Red Cross chapter designating Philippines Typhoons and Flood in the memo line.

• The U.N. World Food Programme is urging Americans to make donations to support its emergency food relief after Typhoon Haiyan. You can donate online or by texting the word AID to 27722 to donate $10.

AmeriCares is deploying medical aid and a relief team to Philippines, and says an emergency shipment with enough medical aid for 20,000 survivors is already on its way.

• The Philippine Red Cross has deployed staff and volunteers across the region. You can easily make a donation through organization's website.

• To donate to the Salvation Army's Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts, visit its website or text TYPHOON to 80888 to donate $10 and reply YES to confirm your donation. The organization uses 100% of all disaster donations in support of disaster relief.

• Looking for someone in the Philippines area that is in your family or a friend? Google has launched a person finder for the storm, also known as Yolanda in the Philippines, where you can try and find out someone's whereabouts or enter your own information.