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UPDATE: Navy ships on station in the Philippines

Nov. 13, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
The destroyer Lassen is in the Philippines to help with disaster aid, according to the Navy.
The destroyer Lassen is in the Philippines to help with disaster aid, according to the Navy. (MC3 Declan Barnes/Navy)
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The Navy ships have arrived in the Philippines to render aid, a Navy official confirmed.

“[The destroyers] Lassen and Mustin are on station and awaiting orders from the Marines,” said Pacific Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Steven Curry.

Also on-scene is the submarine tender Emory S. Land and from Military Sealift Command, the survey ship Bowditch, which Curry said is “conducting survey operations in Leyte Gulf and San Pedro Bay to ensure there are no underwater obstacles and hazards to navigation.”

The aircraft carrier George Washington and cruisers Cowpens and Antietam should arrive in the next 24 hours, another Navy official said.

The amphibious dock landing ships Germantown and Ashland have yet to depart Sasebo, Japan, but are scheduled to do so soon. The sailors will pick up supplies and Marines on Okinawa before continuing to the typhoon-ravaged country.

The Philippines government requested relief from the U.S. after what is believed to be one of the worst storms in Philippines history, Typhoon Haiyan. The Marine Corps estimates 4.2 million people have been affected. The death toll has reportedly reached 2,275.

That figure is expected to rise, perhaps significantly, when accurate information is collected from the entire the disaster zone, which spreads over a wide swath of the eastern and central Philippines but appears to be concentrated on two main islands, Leyte and Samar.

Other Navy ships reportedly tapped to help: the destroyer McCampbell and supply ships Charles Drew and Richard E. Byrd.

As for air assets, the Navy has two P-3 Orion aircraft on scene assisting the country’s search-and-rescue-efforts. The aircraft are from Jacksonville, Fla.-based Patrol Squadron 26, which is serving a six-month rotation to Misawa, Japan. The “Tridents” of VP-26 are skilled in sea surveillance and coastal and overland recon.

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