The US Navy is beginning full-scale relief operations in the Philippines, after the devastating typhoon Haiyan caused enormous death and destruction on Nov. 8.
The typhoon, one of the most dangerous typhoons ever recorded, reportedly had one-minute wind gusts of 195 mph (315 km/h) with 10-minute sustained winds of 145 mph (235 km/h). It made landfall on early in the morning of Nov. 8, while at peak intensity and caused massive flooding, damage, and loss of life. At least 2,447 fatalities have been confirmed, while at least one local official estimates the death toll could rise much higher - potentially up to 10,000 in the city of Tacloban alone.
The George Washington carrier group's focus will primarily be finding and fulfilling essential needs - things like drinkable water, medical personnel and supplies, and clearing roads to allow for cleanup and distribution of supplies. Hundreds of Marines were already on the ground, loading and unloading aircraft as well as ferrying people in and out of the country. More Marines are expected to arrive by next week to assist in road clearing and establishing forward operating bases for helicopters and V-22 Ospreys to reach more isolated areas.