The has announced an initial contribution of $6 million in support of the global Red Cross response to the devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
The funds will support the distribution of relief items, the repair and rebuilding of shelters, emergency healthcare needs, and access to clean water and sanitation systems. In addition to financial assistance, the Red Cross is contributing staff, expertise, and equipment. The relief organization expects to make additional contributions over the next few days in support of relief and recovery efforts.
Emergency supplies finally began reaching typhoon-devastated regions of the Philippines on Thursday, with a U.S. aircraft carrier group dispatching helicopters to ferry in medicine and water, the reports. The typhoon transformed Tacloban, once a bustling provincial capital of 220,000, into a shattered landscape of debris, denuded hills, and abandoned and dilapidated government buildings. The U.S. military has transported nearly two thousand gallons of water and three pallets of food to the city's airfield and also has delivered pallets of clean drinking water to the airfield in Guiuan, a former U.S. Navy air base in eastern Samar province. One of the U.S. ships was headed to another devastated area, Ormoc, which is on the same island as Tacloban.
According to the , "typhoon gridlock" is threatening rescue operations, as undistributed aid piles up and volunteers arrive with nowhere to sleep. Gas station owners, who have plenty of gas on hand, are growing increasingly concerned about theft and violence. As local authorities struggle to provide food and water and maintain law and order, the mayor of Tacloban has encouraged residents to leave the area and find shelter with relatives. The Times also reports that international humanitarian groups are rapidly escalating their response in Tacloban and other parts of the archipelago. Doctors Without Borders said its teams had traveled by car, boat, plane, and helicopter to some of the outlying areas of northern Cebu Island, eastern Samar Island, Panay Island, and western Leyte Province, which neither the Philippine government nor relief agencies have been able to reach.
Donations received from American Red Cross and other Red Cross partners will be directed to relief efforts through the and other organizations. The largest humanitarian organization in the country, with a thousand staff members and an estimated five hundred thousand active volunteers engaged in the response to the disaster, the Philippine Red Cross has extensive experience in search-and-rescue and large-scale relief and recovery programs.
"We are grateful for the American public's generosity and compassion following what has been called one of the strongest storms in world history," said American Red Cross chief international officer David Meltzer. "The American Red Cross is in a unique position to help provide support by airlifting relief supplies from its warehouses around the world, providing trained disaster responders specializing in damage assessment and telecommunications, and by channeling its financial support to the Philippine Red Cross and its more than five hundred thousand staff and volunteers and our other global partners in the Red Cross network — all of which go to providing relief from this devastating storm."