Sailors pass containers of fresh water which will be loaded onto helicopters aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and transported ashore in support of Operation Damayan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Peter Burghart)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - USS George Washington and her escort ships have delivered about 11 tons of humanitarian assistance to those in need in the Philippines through the morning of Nov. 16 there, as aid distribution continues.

We continue to see fresh clean water as one of the greatest needs – we intend to deliver more than 2,800 5-gallon containers today and tomorrow. In addition, Sailors onboard USS George Washington are using innovation when possible - taking empty 48-cubic-foot containers used for shipping large material, lining them with plastic, then filling them with water and freezing the entire container. This frozen container of ice can then be delivered via helo where it will melt into water when it reaches those on the ground.

We flew 50 humanitarian assistance flight missions yesterday, for a total of 77 since arrival.

The USS George Washington is delivering water, medical supplies and hygienic supplies to Guiuan/Samar, Ormoc, Borongan and Leyte Gulf. 20 US Navy helicopters have been in continuous operation since Nov. 14.

The Government of the Philippines requested assistance in getting supplies to remote areas inaccessible by truck, so that’s where the focus has been. Guiuan is the supply hub and Navy helos distribute from there to the remote areas where need is greatest.

The total tonnage of Navy supplies delivered for 15 Nov was about 11 tons. In addition, USS George Washington and USS Lassen helos have carried displaced and injured civilians from remote areas such as islands in Leyte Gulf to areas where medical aid is present. We have transferred 96 distressed personnel to receive further care in this manner.

Current information from the Government of the Philippines indicates the current level of USS George Washington support is adequate now and will likely be desired for another 5 days or so.

USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) are now onloading supplies and about 900 Marines in Okinawa. If requested by the Government of the Philippines, they can arrive in the Philippine operating area late on Nov 20th or early on the 21st.

  • These ships will bring heavy engineering equipment (backhoes, dump trucks, wreckers); Amphibious transport Vehicles), a tracked vehicle capable of operating both in the water and over land; generators and portable water tanks known as 'water bulls.'
  • Each ship typically has an embarked crew of 20+ officers, 350+ enlisted with an embarked Marine capacity of 400+, 100+ surge troops.
  • Each ship can produce 72K gal/day of fresh water.
  • Each ship has one medical doctor, one dental doctor, 9 hospital corpsman, 17 medical beds and includes a laboratory, X-ray and pharmacy.
  • Three ships (USS Emory S. Land, USS Antietam and USS Cowpens) with 4 helicopters are working in Leyte Gulf to distribute supplies from Tacloban to remote areas.

    USS Mustin is in Ormoc Bay with 2 helos and is moving supplies delivered by C-130s from distribution centers to remote areas where the supplies are needed. USNS Charles Drew is also near Orloc.

    Three P-3 aircraft continue to survey the affected area to assist Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. planners with their response. While flying yesterday the flight crews noticed several distress signs from the air and communicated their location to relief officials.

    The Government of the Philippines is responding to one of the largest disasters its country has ever faced, and the United States is working closely with our ally to deliver assistance as quickly and efficiently as possible to people who need it most.

    Thus far, our cooperation has been excellent. We are in constant communication with the Philippine government. Our military personnel are in close touch, as are our development and disaster relief experts.

    The Philippine government has moved quickly to facilitate humanitarian assistance provided by the U.S. and the international community. They provided quick clearance for U.S. aircraft, ships, and personnel, enabling us to rapidly begin to deliver assistance to the worst affected areas.

    We will continue to do everything we can to support our ally as they work to respond, rebuild, and recover.