Typhoon Haiyan: US announces help for typhoon-ravaged Philippines

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Pentagon announced that it was providing the Philippines with naval and aviation resources in the wake of the country's devastating typhoon.

A statement on Saturday said that US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would made helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and surface maritime search and rescue equipment available after a request from the Philippines government.

"Secretary Hagel has directed US Pacific Command to support US government humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan," it said.

"The initial focus includes surface maritime search and rescue, medium-heavy helicopter lift support, airborne maritime search and rescue, fixed wing lift support and logistics enablers," the statement added.

The United Nations has said it expects the provisional 1,200 death toll from the super typhoon to rise and that it is sending emergency supplies to the stricken nation.

The Pentagon also said it was working with the US Agency for International Development and the American ambassador in Manila, to continue to monitor the effects of the typhoon and was "ready to help our ally recover from the storm." The United States held two large military bases near Manila until 1992, when it gave both up amid growing anti-American sentiment and a rental dispute.

A new agreement in 1999 allowed troops to return to the Philippines for joint military exercises every year.

Several hundred US Special Forces troops are also on short-term assignments in the southern Philippines, where they train and advise local troops fighting Islamic militants.

However, discussions over proposals to expand the American military's presence in the Philippines failed to reach a deal last month.

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