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Homeland Security

Marines, sailors bring aid to Philippines

US Marine Corps News

10/2/2009 By 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, III MEF

The U.S. military is providing critically needed disaster-relief supplies to mitigate suffering and prevent further loss of life in the wake of Tropical Storm Ketsana, which struck the Philippines on Sept. 25.

"Marines and sailors are working with the Philippine government to rapidly deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the areas the Philippine government deems most in need," said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Douglas Powell, spokesman for the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force.

U.S. military personnel are delivering relief supplies to remote areas by way of air and ground, providing limited medical and dental care and establishing long-range communication capabilities for relief efforts.

A team of about 100 3rd MEF Marines flew from Okinawa to the Philippines Sept. 29 to assess the situation. The next day, U.S. Navy ships USS Denver, USS Tortuga, and USS Harpers Ferry, with embarked Marines and sailors of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, set sail from Okinawa toward the Philippines.

Yesterday, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis, commander of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, flew to the Philippines from Okinawa to lead planning and humanitarian assistance efforts.

Medical personnel attached to the MEU set up a medical civil affairs program at an elementary school in Marikina City yesterday that provided care for more than 760 medical and dental patients. A food-distribution mission yesterday provided more than 2,400 meals for Quezon City residents.

C-130 transport aircraft from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing already have delivered humanitarian relief aid to the region. U.S. forces temporarily deployed in Zamboanga provided 20 personnel, a helicopter and
four Zodiac inflatable boats to move food and medical supplies and conduct initial rescue operations in the Manila area.

A 3rd MEF humanitarian assistance support team will arrive today to assess the operation and request additional support the areas hardest hit by the storm may need.

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