WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, Super Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines with the strength of one of the most powerful storms ever to hit land. Although the toll of destruction is not yet clear, we know that millions of people have been affected, including thousands of people who have lost their lives, homes, or livelihoods. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Philippines and the humanitarian teams that are working around the clock to save lives.
In response to the storm, the United States Government announced today $20 million in humanitarian assistance, including emergency food aid and critical relief supplies--like shelter materials and hygiene kits--for disaster-affected areas. These supplies will not only provide life-saving care in the immediate aftermath of the storm, but will also help prevent illness and death from waterborne and communicable diseases. A shipment is already on its way with enough plastic sheeting, soap, toothbrushes, toilet paper, and sanitary supplies to help 10,000 families. Another shipment of the same size will follow closely behind. We are also sending 55 metric tons of food, including highly nutritious bars and paste--containing a day's worth of calories--to nourish approximately 20,000 children and 15,000 adults for roughly 4 to 5 days.
In advance of the storm, USAID prepositioned a Disaster Assistance Response Team in the region, which arrived in the devastated Leyte province ahead of other international government assessment teams. Team members are reporting that 90 percent of housing has been significantly damaged or destroyed in some areas. We are working closely with the U.S. Department of Defense to airlift emergency relief supplies and transport aid workers to areas cut off by the storm.
The American people have a proud and generous history of providing help in times of crisis. In the days and weeks ahead, we will work tirelessly with our partners across the Philippines and around the world to reach those in need and support their recovery. We remain committed to ensuring that our assistance not only saves lives today, but reduces the risk of disaster tomorrow. Together, we will help strengthen the resilience of local communities that continue to inspire us with their spirit and courage.
Last updated: January 05, 2015