Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Contributor for In Homeland Security
On November 8, one of the fastest recorded Category 5 tropical storms hit the Philippine and South China Seas. It is being called a “Super Typhoon” with clocking speeds up to 199 miles per hour and stretching 200 miles wide.
Rough estimates tie 10,000 expected deaths to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines alone and 9.8 million people affected.
The director of USAID’s foreign disaster assistance program Jeremy Konyndyk, said that Philippine cities Tacloban and Ormoc were “wiped out.”
Disaster conditions on the ground: lack of medical supplies, hospital space, shelters, food, missing people and children separated from parents and increasing security concerns with looters. Thousands are homeless.
Haiyan continued to make its way to Vietnam, where over 200,000 thousand are being evacuated.
About 90 US Marines flew to the Manila out of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, dispatched from a the US base in Okinawa, Japan, out of a Hercules transport aircraft to help with military logistics.
Two US Navy P-3 Navy Orion surveillance aircraft are assisting in search and rescue operations.
Marine Brigadier General Paul Kennedy leads the relief effort, with more help on the way.
Acting US Ambassador to the Manila, Philippines, Brian Goldbeck, announced disaster provisions of $100,000 for relief efforts.
The USAID is in the process of sending critical supplies to assist 10,000 families; 55 metric tons of emergency food for 20,000 children and 15,000 adults for a duration of five days.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a press statement: “On behalf of the people of the United States, I offer our deepest condolences and solidarity as you wrestle with the devastation and loss of life that accompanied Super Typhoon Haiyan…The United States stands ready to help, our embassies in the Philippines and Palau are in close contact with your governments, and our most heartfelt prayers are with you.”
A high financial assistance figure statement from Washington for aid for Typhoon Haiyan survivors and damage is yet to offered. The President said, that, “The United States is already providing significant humanitarian assistance, and we stand ready to further assist the Government’s relief and recovery efforts.”
Meanwhile, the UK pledged six million Pounds for emergency financial aid to help 500,000 people. The EU is putting up three million Euros into it humanitarian assistance. The UN World Food Program is providing two million dollars in food for over 100,000 people in the Philippines.
A little foreign assistance rivalry is never a bad thing. The US beat everyone there because it was already there. It will raise a substantial amount of private donations in the millions. But official US aid numbers should rival the others and should take the lead very soon and be very public with multiple announcements in support of our new regional allies.
If you personally would like to help out, please contact one of the charities involved. A few that are helping with Typhoon Haiyan are listed below:
American Red Cross
Philippines Red Cross
Save the Children
Catholic Relief Service
Habitat for Humanity
UN World Food Program (WFP)