Rapid response from the United States!
Saying that U.S. Government’s response to Super typhoon Haiyan has been rapid, well-coordinated, and substantial, the United States of America today announced that the US government is extending a total $37 million in humanitarian response to the Philippines and the victims of the typhoon.
In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in Washington DC, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Scot Marciel said US Embassy in Manila announced an initial $100,000 in assistance almost immediately aftermath the disaster.
Few days later after the disaster hit the central part of the Philippines, USAID announced $20 million in humanitarian and an additional $10 million in humanitarian assistance on November 18.
In addition, the Defense Department provided another $7 million in humanitarian assistance.
“The combined U.S. government assistance being provided in response to the disaster is $37 million.” – Mr. Marciel
Before the typhoon
According to Mr. Marciel, the USAID prepositioned a team in US Embassy in Manila before the typhoon, issuing a message warning American citizens of the storm, and staff in Washington to communicate and coordinate in preparation for a potential disaster.
Once the storm hit, the State Department, USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Pentagon, and the Pacific Command have worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in Manila as well.
In addition,the US agencies began a period of intensive communication and coordination to ensure a swift and effective response.
Mr. Marciel said the USAID and PACOM disaster assistance teams headed to Tacloban, the capital of head-hit Leyte Province, and moved rapidly to conduct joint disaster assessments.
The generous USAID is leading and coordinating the US government response, including with other donors.
Five Americans died due to the typhoon
Mr. Marciel noted that there are now five confirmed American deaths caused by the Typhoon which reportedly killed about 4,000 people and injured more than 18,000 people.
He said the State Department has been working around the clock to assist those who have lost loved ones.
The Embassy has received nearly 950 requests for information on US citizens in the disaster area, the agency has located more than 475 US citizens at this time.
“We will do everything we possibly can to locate and assist these U.S. citizens. “ – Mr. Marciel
US overwhelming support to the Filipino people
According to Mr. Marciel, the American people have responded to this natural disaster with an outpouring of support where the American business community has made donations to help those in storm-hit areas.
He stated the U.S. Embassy has worked with the American business community to ensure that donations are channeled most directly and effectively.
“As President Obama said, the best way for private parties to help is to make a “monetary “donation to a relief organization already working to provide aid on the ground.” – Secretary Marciel
In addition, the US government is also coordinating with other international donors, and together, donors have already pledged funding nearly $200 million, an amount equal to about two-thirds the UN flash appeal of $301 million.
Strongest typhoon in history struck Philippines
The typhoon ‘Haiyan’ is considered as one of the largest and strongest in history. The monster storm struck the central Philippines from the east which left trails swath of destruction across the middle of the country.
The hardest hit were Leyte, site of General MacArthur’s return to the Philippines in 1944, Samar, and a series of other islands.
The typhoon’s powerful winds and storm surge killed an estimated 4000 people, left hundreds of thousands of others homeless, and devastated cities, towns, villages, and the region’s infrastructure.
On November 8th, weather forecasters said they expected Typhoon “YOLANDA” to continue to move in a west northwest direction and bring stormy weather with rough to phenomenal seas over Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras. Also Metro Manila, Bataan, Calabarzon, Marinduque, Bicol region, Central Visayas, Negros Occidental, Samar and Leyte provinces, Camiguin, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat province will have rain and gusty winds with moderate to rough seas. The rest of the country will be cloudy with light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms. By the morning of November 9th, they expected Typhoon “YOLANDA” to be outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility