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Marines Deploy to Aid Philippine Storm Victims

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2004 – Hundreds of American Marines may deploy to the Philippines to help that country following two killer typhoons.

Yoyong hit Dec. 2 and Winnie on Nov. 29, killing hundreds and leaving thousands homeless in the provinces of Quezon, Aurora, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

A 16-Marine U.S. assessment team is in the Philippines now seeing how American servicemembers can help. They arrived Dec. 4. In addition, the USNS Stockholm with two SH-60 helicopters has deployed. The choppers will help with aerial assessment, evacuating casualties and moving humanitarian goods in and around the affected areas.

A Level 2 Trauma Team has also landed in the area and has been incorporated into Philippine efforts at relief.

The U.S. military is prepared to commit more troops and equipment to the effort. Pentagon officials said they are prepared to deploy C-130 aircraft, more heavy-lift helicopters and other transport aircraft. All actions are being coordinated with the Philippine government.

The U.S. forces are based at Clark Air Base, near Manila.

Reports from the Philippines list more than 700 known dead from the storms with 258 injured. Another 730 are missing. More than 30,000 homes have been destroyed in the flooding and mudslides that followed the typhoons. Officials said more than 200,000 people have been displaced, and estimated the damage at more than $1 billion.

U.S. forces are delivering potable water, medicines, shelters, blankets and generators. The forces will remain only as long as it takes to "rapidly reduce the further loss of life and human suffering, and to conduct sustained disaster relief management efforts," said Pentagon officials.

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