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.