Marines load a KC-130J Hercules aircraft at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma bound for the Republic of the Philippines on Dec. 8 to assist in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Bopha. (Lance Cpl. Matthew Manning / Marine Corps)
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SAN DIEGO Marine Corps transport airplanes have been ferrying equipment, supplies and personnel in the Philippines after a super typhoon killed more than 600 people and left as many as 1,000 missing.
The Marine Corps provided three water purification systems to the Philippine military. KC-130J Hercules turboprop transport planes with Japan-based Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 have been delivering family food packages and other supplies to Manila for distribution to areas hit hard by Typhoon Pablo, an official said.
"Over the next few days, you'll continue to see more relief flights," Lt. Col. Brad Bartelt, a Marine Corps Forces-Pacific spokesman in Hawaii, said Monday.
The U.S. Agency for International Development is sending $3 million in relief supplies, including water, emergency shelter and sanitation.
"The initial focus includes transporting life-saving supplies from Manila to communities isolated by infrastructure damage," Pentagon officials said Dec. 8.
U.S. military officials redirected several groups of personnel who were in the Philippines on other business to help with the relief efforts when the typhoon struck, according to the U.S. embassy in Manila.
The Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, which has been conducting training operations with the Philippine military, sent a team to help coordinate distribution of relief supplies in Mindanao. Aircraft with the task force also have been searching for victims and conducting damage assessments.
Many of the deaths were attributed to flash foods and mudslides from Typhoon Pablo, also known as Typhoon Bopha, which struck the island-nation twice in the past week as it moved through the region.
As many as 300 fishermen were believed lost at sea during the storm, the Associated Press reported.
Members of III Marine Expeditionary Force were in the Philippines for a joint planning conference for the annual Balikatan exercise when the storm hit. Next year's exercise will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations."