MANILA, Philippines –
On November 8, 2013 Typhoon Yolanda slammed into the Philippines leaving death, debris and broken lives in its wake. Within hours the U.S. Embassy, USAID, and U.S. armed forces, working with their Philippine partners were on their way bringing life and hope to the victims. The story of those events and of the hope that has returned to the areas ravaged by Yolanda can be seen on the U.S. Embassy’s YouTube channel: Typhoon Yolanda, A Year Later: U.S. Embassy Manila Supports Filipino Resilience: http://youtu.be/x4HchYeQR-s
At its peak, the U.S. military efforts included more than 13,400 military personnel, 66 aircraft (including 10 C-130s to augment the Armed Forces Philippines’ 3 aircraft along with 8 MV-22 Ospreys) and 12 naval vessels. The United States delivered more than 2,495 tons of relief supplies and evacuated over 21,000 people. More than 1,300 flights were completed in support of the relief efforts for Operation Damayan to approximately 450 sites.
The fast-acting bilateral teamwork between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military was possible because of the Visiting Forces Agreement. Other countries wanted to immediately respond to the Philippines’ call for help, but had to wait as their governments worked out legal agreements for their troops (foreign soldiers) to work in the Philippines.
The initial focus of U.S. relief efforts included aerial damage assessments of the islands, search and rescue missions, and the delivery of food, water and basic supplies to people displaced from their homes. By the seventh day of relief operations, the U.S. military delivered about 665,000 pounds of relief supplies provided by U.S. Agency for International Development. U.S. military aircraft logged nearly 650 flight hours, moved nearly 1,200 relief workers into Tacloban and airlifted almost 5,000 survivors away from typhoon-impacted areas. Eight days after the storm's landfall, a joint DOD-USAID- United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund team helped to rebuild Tacloban's municipal water system and restored water service, reaching an estimated 250,000 people.
Since last November, the United States government, through USAID, U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Defense, has provided assistance worth more than six point four billion pesos (PHP 6,425,217,370 or US $143 million) to help those affected by Typhoon Yolanda to rebuild their lives. The United States is one of the largest bilateral donors to support post typhoon recovery efforts. Whether this was temporary assistance with food, water and shelter, or long-term assistance with building new weather-resistant school and health buildings, training emergency responders, or integrating disaster preparedness into local school curriculum, the United States remains dedicated to the Philippines.