WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2013 – As the islands of the Philippines experience what some are calling perhaps the strongest tropical storm in history, U.S. Pacific command and the Defense Department stand ready to offer assistance, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.
“We are currently monitoring Typhoon Haiyan and its impact,” Little said.
If assistance is requested by the government of the Philippines, he added, then Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “can authorize Pacom assets to assist [the U.S. Agency for International Development] and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.”
U.S. forces frequently provide direct relief and recovery support during and after natural disasters, Little said. He noted that such assistance has not yet been asked for in the Philippines, where the storm struck this morning. Wind gusts of more than 200 mph have been reported.
The U.S. military has a “small footprint” of people and equipment in the Philippines, Little said, and no injuries or damages have been reported.
“Our hearts go out to the people of the Philippines,” Little said. “This is a tremendously damaging storm.”