Typhoon-Devasted Philippine Villagers Get US Navy Aid

Sunday, November 17, 2013
Photo courtesy of USN

In the small village of Guiuan, located in Eastern Samar province, villagers lined up outside the gate of a runway awaiting food, water and medical supplies to be delivered by helicopters from the 'George Washington Strike Group' (GWSG) in support of Operation Damayan. 

Guiuan was heavily affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which clocked winds up to 195 miles per hour (mph) with gusts up to 235 mph. Houses that were once big and colorful, are now gray and battered. Uprooted palm trees are now makeshift shelters, and water faucets are now showers. But due to support from the GWSG, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) and other organizations in close coordination with the Philippine Government. and military, the villagers' morale and conditions are improving.

Strong winds and waves hit our town early in the morning," said Haiyam Salisa, a Guiuan resident. "We had nothing within the matter of an hour. We were afraid and couldn't stop crying till the storm was over."

The "Golden Falcons" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 and the "Saberhawks" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, embarked aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), have airlifted 3,255 gallons of water, 24,900 pounds of food and 2,630 pounds of general supplies, and have conducted 221 personnel transfers.

"The Americans have brought food and water to us," said Sheen Gonzales, mayor of Guiuan. "But more importantly, they have brought us transportation to and from the island. We were isolated for many days and without the American's help, my people would not be eating their regular meals three times a day."

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