‘Operation Damayan’ takes shape in storm-ravaged Philippines
November 13th, 2013
04:49 PM ET

‘Operation Damayan’ takes shape in storm-ravaged Philippines

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. military relief effort in the storm-struck Philippines is expected by Sunday to have more than 30 land-based aircraft ferrying relief supplies, in addition to dozens of additional ship-based helicopters and heavy vehicles, according to military officials.

A third amphibious ship, the USS Denver, is now also on its way to the region devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, along with the USS Ashland and USS Germantown.

It is anticipated about 500 Marines will be on board the three ships to help with moving material to Philippine distribution points.

The ships, however, are not expected to arrive before November 19. The bulk of the Marines are expected to move back and forth from their ships as needed.

There are another 300 U.S. military personnel on the ground in Manila, Tacloban and Cebu assisting in operations.

All of the ships, including the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which is expected to arrive Thursday, will help with critical water purification needs, officials say.

The Pentagon has now named the effort “Operation Damayan,” which officials say translates to “help in time of need.”

The Marines expect to have a total of 14 MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft in the Philippines by Saturday.

The V-22, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane, is considered vital to reach remote and heavily damaged areas that may be great distances from airfields, beyond the reach of conventional helicopters.

This is the largest operational deployment of V-22s outside of Iraq or Afghanistan. They only began being based in the Pacific in the last several months.

There will also be more than a dozen C-130 cargo planes operating by the weekend.

The United States also wants to expand operations rapidly into Samar area northeast of Tacloban where some hard hit areas have not yet been reached.

As of Wednesday, about 170,000 pounds of aid including tarps, medical supplies, blankets and other items have been delivered. Five hundred evacuees have been flown from Tacloban to Manila.

The Pentagon has estimated the operation will cost about $4 million for the first 14 days.

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  68. commentor

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      November 15, 2013 at 10:56 am | Reply
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        Look man, I live in Fl, every season we ask the questions, Is this going to be a good year or bad year, are we prepared??? If we have to Evac., whats are plan – We are responsible for our own saftey and and we accept that our standard of living will only be as good as your preperations!! – Every family in my area knows this. So i guess my point is...... If you live in tornado alley, expect a tornado!!!! – but a storm hitting tropical southeast Asia, Was the entire South pacific under the impression that this would never, could never happen??????? -By the way, If i am forced to Evac. from a hurricane, I dont want your MONEY, Sympathy, Opinion, or aid.. I take care of myself..and stay out of my way, 2nd Amendment still applies!!!!!!

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  69. commenter

    HEY USA: we got hit by a storm, please spend billions to help us (dont worry, people should be forced to give charity)
    HEY USA: Theres a crazy lunatic in the Mid. East killing people, you have to save them, (dont worry, people will be greatful)
    HEY USA: HOW can you just go into far off countries and police the world, – We hate you
    HEY USA: we dont really hate you!!!, were just in need of money – please help
    HEY USA: The world knows your broke, but you must print another trillion dollars to help islamic terrorist in Gaza, Syria, Egypt and Libya!!!!

    HEY USA: You cant just print money to send to Terrorist, Poor people, and people THAT GOT a little rain Because they were to STUPID to see the largest storm ever coming there way

    HEY WORLD: Dont be like the idiots in New Orleans and Asia, if you see a big storming comeing your way, I would advise taking somekind of action EVENTUALLY THE PRINTER WE USE FOR CURRNCY WILL BE CUT OFF!!!!

    November 15, 2013 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • GatorDude

      Commenter – If the people on those Philippine islands hopped on a bus or a train a day ahead of time, they'd still be on an Island. If they would have hopped on a boat, they'd have been lost as sea. On a poor island, I doubt that many could have pulled out an American Express card, charged some plane tickets, and jetted away.

      One day, a large part of the United States could be wiped out by a natural disaster. It may well be the rest of the world that comes to our aid. Remember, the Kenyan village that donated one of their finest cows to us on 9/11? In times of extreme disaster, it's time to put budgetary politics aside and help your fellow humans.

      November 15, 2013 at 11:08 am | Reply
  70. Lynn Kennen

    I thought the United states is BROKE. How can we afford to send any help to the Philippines or anywhere else for that matter/????

    November 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply
    • Lordbronie Zabala

      So what do you want your government to do?

      November 15, 2013 at 12:37 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Our "Peoples Rep. of China Credit Card" still works, so what the heck! Somehow we have to get our American companies' call centers reopened. If we don't, the call centers might have to be relocated to the US! Don't you enjoy talking with someone in another part of the world when you call a "customer service" number?
      Oh, I need to mention, America always stands ready to help when disaster strikes. I made my personal donation and many others also will. This disaster happened in a "friendly country", we don't have many "friends" anymore!
      Also, take note of who delivers your mail everyday. The Postal Service is the biggest employer of Filipino Americans. Why? It's hard work, our own unemployed citizens won't do this kind of work. It's not much better than picking oranges but the pay is much better. Still, our own won't do this kind of work! Our young unemployed don't understand the first principle of employment – You have to show up for work everyday, not just on days you feel like working!

      November 15, 2013 at 7:54 am | Reply
    • GatorDude

      We may be broke, but we don't have to be morally bankrupt too. While our government may have deficits and debt, we are still one of the world's most powerful economies. We do have the economic power and borrowing power to help save human lives in a country that has long been an ally.

      November 15, 2013 at 11:00 am | Reply

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