US Carrier Arrives in Philippines


US marines are on the ground in the Philippines as part of Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts

A US aircraft carrier and its escort of two cruisers are due to arrive off the Philippines to help communities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

The USS George Washington will expand search-and-rescue operations and provide a platform for helicopters to move supplies, the White House said.

The top US commander in the Philippines told the BBC that US military support would be on an unprecedented scale.

Some 11 million people have been affected by the typhoon.

Although the official death toll stands at more than 2,300, local officials and aid workers fear it could rise much higher.

With images of the suffering flashed around the world, a huge international aid effort has swung into operation.

The USS George Washington is expected to arrive off the Philippines later on Thursday along with its escort ships, the US Navy said. Two US destroyers have already arrived in the Philippines and other US vessels are expected to arrive in about a week, it added.

On Wednesday the US also ordered the activation of a hospital ship, the USNS Mercy. However, if deployed it would not reach the Philippines until December.

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