President Obama on Tuesday spoke with Philippines President Benigno Aquino III to offer condolences and humanitarian aid as the island nation recovers from a devastating typhoon that killed thousands.
“Today President Obama spoke with President Aquino of the Philippines to express deep condolences on behalf of the American people for the lives lost and damage caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, one of the strongest storms to ever hit land,” the White House announced in a statement.
“Over the weekend, the president directed the administration to mount a swift and coordinated response to save lives and provide assistance to alleviate the suffering of so many Filipinos,” the White House added.
The typhoon struck the Philippines on Thursday, leaving an early death count of 1,700 — a figure that is expected to rise. Reports say over 600,000 people were left homeless by the storm.
The U.S. has offered initial aid of $20 million, and military planes carrying relief supplies and a unit of Marines arrived in devastated areas on Tuesday.
The White House said Obama and Aquino discussed “the need for a speedy assessment of what further American resources would be most helpful to assist in the Philippine recovery effort.”
“In the days ahead, the United States will continue to work with the Philippines to deliver whatever help we can, as quickly as possible,” the statement added.