Haiyan: U.S., Britain Send Warships to Philippines as New Weather Disturbance Threatens Relief Operations

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By Sigrid Salucop | November 13, 2013 5:32 PM EST

Britain and the United States are sending warships to the Philippine towns hit by super typhoon Haiyan as new weather disturbance threatens relief operations in affected areas.

The United Kingdom is sending one of its navy warships with equipment to make seawater drinkable.  According to the Telegraph, the UK is also sending a military transport aircraft to the Philippines to aid in relief efforts.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said that HMS Daring will be providing humanitarian assistance as well as flights from HMS Daring's helicopter onboard. Cameron also told the British press that a C-17 will be sent to far flung areas to provide humanitarian aid.

The Telegraph reports that British Prime Minister Cameron said, "HMS Daring, currently deployed near Singapore, will shortly be heading at full speed towards the disaster zone with further support from an RAF C-17 which will be a powerful help to the relief operation."

Reports say that the British navy warship will reach its destination in five days while the C-17 in the days after the warship's arrival in the Southeast Asian nation. Around 200 British military personnel will be involved in the relief operation, sources say.

The British government swiftly responded when news of 10,000 people being killed during super typhoon Haiyan's wake were released. The said number of casualties, however, is still unconfirmed.

The United States also announced that it will send the USS George Washington, one of their warships currently on a port visit in Hong Kong. The carrier has 5,000 sailors according to reports and has over 80 aircraft aboard.

The Pentagon released a statement that USS George Washington will be accompanied by "cruisers USS Antietam and USS Cowpens and the destroyer USS Mustin." It added, "The supply ship USNS Charles Drew is already underway and will rendezvous with the group as they get closer." The US ships will dock in the Philippines in 72 hours sources say.

Aid to the Philippines at a Glance

AUSTRALIA: $9.3m The country sent medical staff, water containers, shelter materials, hygiene kits.

UK: $16m package which includes water, household items, and emergency shelter. HMS Daring was also sent by the British government.

US: $20m aid, 90 marines, aircraft carrier

INDONESIA: The country is providing logistical aid including food, generators, medicine, and aircraft.

JAPAN: $10m package that includes tents and blankets. The country also sent a medical team composed of 25 personnel.

Angry Residents: 'Where is the Aid?'

Despite the help being provided by the international community, residents of areas struck by super typhoon Haiyan are still in need of water, shelter, and food according to officials.

John Ging of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told the BBC that, "The mobilisation of air assets, clearing away the debris, opening up the routes" is a top priority. Mr Ging added that "It's happening too slowly, but it's happening and everybody is working flat out to make it better."

Storm-Ravaged Towns, Invisible Government

Ralph Atienza-Mckenzie, a disaster preparedness expert said, "Well it is sad to say that most local government agencies are one, not really prepared in dealing with any kind of natural disasters" referring to how the Philippine government works during times of calamity.

Jonathan Head of the BBC said that after Haiyan, "Nearly every house has either been flattened or left without roofs or windows." He added that the Philippine government "has taken over the running of Tacloban. But it is almost invisible."

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