(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, President Obama Wednesday encouraged Americans to support relief efforts in the Philippines as, he said, "the U.S. government continues to do our part." In addition to the USAID and military personnel on the ground distributing supplies and food, the U.S. Navy is activating the hospital ship USNS Mercy to the Philippines.
The ship, based in San Diego, would leave "in the next several days," but would not arrive in the Philippines until "sometime in December," according to U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs. The lengthy wait is necessary because the crew has to be prepared and supplies loaded on the slow-moving vessel that would then have to cross the Pacific.
"The friendship between our two countries runs deep, and when our friends are in trouble, America helps," President Obama said Wednesday in a statement about relief efforts in the Philippines. "That's why, as I pledged to President Aquino yesterday, the United States will continue to offer whatever assistance we can."
To date, the military says Philippine and U.S. personnel have transported more than 107,000 pounds of relief supplies.
The carrier USS George Washington is expected to arrive in the Philippines Thursday evening local time.
The USS Germantown and Ashland will leave port soon in Sasebo, Japan, bound for Okinawa, where they’ll pick up several hundred Marines, gear and aviation assets. Those two ships aren’t expected to arrive off the southeastern coast of the Philippines until Nov. 19 at the earliest.
"Recovering from one of the strongest storms ever recorded will take years. But the strength, resilience and faith of the Filipino people are legendary, and the areas affected by this storm are some of the same places where Americans and Filipinos sacrificed together to liberate the Philippines during World War II," President Obama said. "Today, our message to our Filipino allies is that we stand with you once more."
The president said people who want to support relief efforts can visit whitehouse.gov/typhoon, which offers links to organizations working in the Philippines and ways to support their efforts.
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