Aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) two cruisers and a destroyer are en route to the Philippines to aid in disaster relief efforts in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan, Navy officials told USNI News on Tuesday.
The partial carrier strike group (CSG) will be joined by the Military Sealift Command supply ship, USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE-10) and could be off the coast of the islands by late Wednesday or Thursday.
The Pentagon also mobilized elements of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) to aid in the disaster relief efforts.
“The initial focus of U.S. relief efforts includes surface maritime search and rescue (SAR), airborne maritime SAR, medium-heavy helicopter lift support, fixed-wing lift support and logistics enablers. This includes requests for the Marine Corps’ KC-130 cargo aircraft and MV-22 osprey tilt-rotor aircraft,” according to a release from the Marine Corps.
There is also a team of 19 Navy SEABEES in the country, Navy officials told USNI News.
Haiyan struck Leyte province on Nov. 8, 2013 with the city of Tacloban particularly hard hit.
“As you would expect with 200 mph winds and a 25-foot tidal surge, looks like a bomb went off,” Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy told NPR on Tuesday. “Virtually all of the structures, if they were not made out of concrete or steel, are gone.”
Unofficial estimates put the death toll at 10,000 with millions displaced from the impact of the storm.
In addition to the military presence, the U.S. has sent $20 million in immediate aid to the Philippines.