Marine Lance Cpl. Xavier Cannon, left, helps civilians displaced by Typhoon Haiyan disembark a C-130 aircraft at Villamor Air Base., Philippines on Tuesday.(Photo: Lance Cpl. Anne Henry, AP)
(USA TODAY) -- The USS George Washington aircraft carrier arrived in the Philippines
Thursday to boost international efforts to bring aid and relief to the
people of the typhoon-devastated region, many of whom have been without
much food and clean water for six days.
The ship is part of the
U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet and is accompanied by seven other ships that make
up the George Washington Strike Group. The aircraft carrier has a crew
of 5,500 and brings with it 21 helicopters, which can be used to ferry
goods to hard-to-reach areas where people have seen no aid since typhoon
Haiyan hit Friday.
The group "will go to a position just off the
eastern coast of Samar island in order to begin to assess the damage and
provide logistical and emergency support to include medical and water
supplies," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, GWSG, in a
See Also: How you can help Typhoon Haiyan survivors
The U.S. has so far pledged $20 million in emergency
shelter, food, water and other supplies to the Philippines and the
Defense Department's Pacific Command is assisting the U.S. Agency for
International Development distribute the supplies.
Dozens of countries have offered millions in aid. The United Nations is targeting a figure of $301 million.
Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would
send 1,000 troops from the nation's Self-Defense Forces, what he called
"Japan's largest relief dispatch in history."
Britain is sending the HMS Illustrious aircraft carrier to the region in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
China, an economic powerhouse closer to the stricken islands than the
major nations already helping out, has pledged less than $2 million in
cash and the estimated worth of some materials. That's less than the
$2.7 million that Swedish furniture chain Ikea has pledged, according to
the Associated Press.
Beijing, which touts its status as the
world's second-largest economy, has been in a dispute with the
Philippines over ocean territory that Beijing claims it owns.
Essentially, China says the entire South China Sea belongs to it, even
the waters surrounding the Philippine coastlines that are thousands of
miles from China's mainland coast.