US to deploy 1,000 more Marines to storm-ravaged Philippines

Agence France-Presse
Two ships will bring heavy engineering equipment and the Marines to support Philippine relief operations

MORE HELP. The USS Ashland (LSD-48) and an LCAC landing hovercraft. The Ashland is one of two ships bringing personnel and equipment to aid the Philippines next week. AFP PHOTO / KIM DOO-HO

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – The US military said Thursday it was deploying 1,000 Marines to support emergency relief operations in the Philippines following Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

About 900 troops will board two US Navy amphibious ships – the Japan-based USS Germantown and USS Ashland – and are due in the Philippines in about 6 days, Marine Forces Pacific said in a statement.

An additional 100 Marines from the same unit will travel to the region by aircraft.

The ships were set to bring heavy engineering equipment – including backhoes, dump trucks and wreckers – amphibious assault vehicles, a tracked vehicle that can operate in the water and on land, generators and “water bull” portable water tanks.

Up to 8 MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft were also set to fly to Manila’s international airport in the coming days, doubling the number of Ospreys available in the area.

The Marines, who will assist with road clearance and relief supply distribution, will travel by landing craft utility boats, landing craft air cushion vehicles, assault amphibious vehicles, small boats and rotary wing aircraft.

The announcement came hours after the USS George Washington arrived in the Philippines with 5,000 sailors aboard, bearing badly needed equipment, supplies and expertise for the thousands left homeless and hungry by one of the strongest storms in history.

It is one of 8 American ships currently in the region as part of “Operation Damayan” — Tagalog for “solidarity.”

US President Barack Obama, meanwhile, urged Americans to donate generously to their former Asian colony. –

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