President Obama on Wednesday urged Americans to help the Philippines recover from a devastating typhoon that left thousands dead and scores homeless, saying he promised that country’s leader, President Benigno Aquino III, that the U.S. would “offer whatever assistance we can.”
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people of the Philippines as they mourn so many loved ones and neighbors lost in the awful destruction of Typhoon Haiyan,” said Obama in a statement.
“Our support is rooted in the compassion and generosity of the American people who, time and again, have stepped up and helped those in need around the world,” he continued.
Obama encouraged the public to visit whitehouse.gov/typhoon, where they could find a list of groups working in the Philippines to aid in the recovery effort.
“With so many families and communities in the Philippines in urgent need of food, water, shelter and medicine, even small contributions can make a big difference and help save lives,” said the president.
Haiyan struck the Philippines last Thursday, with initial estimates suggesting that 2000 to 2500 people may be dead, with as many as 800,000 displaced.
Obama spoke on Tuesday with Aquino and offered his condolences and U.S. aid. On Wednesday, he said the federal government was doing its part.
“Our USAID and military personnel are on the ground and working around the clock. The first American planes carrying emergency supplies and food for 10,000 families have arrived,” he said.
Obama added that the aircraft carrier USS George Washington is also headed to the area to boost search-and-rescue operations and to provide medical care to survivors.
The president, though, cautioned that “recovering from one of the strongest storms ever recorded will take years.”
“Our message to our Filipino allies is that we stand with you once more. In the difficult days ahead, we’ll do our part to help you recover,” vowed Obama. “And as you rebuild from this terrible storm, you will continue to have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”