WASHINGTON - The US military on Wednesday sent more cargo planes and tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft to bolster relief efforts in the Philippines, hoping to reach areas cut-off by a deadly typhoon.
Four MV-22 Ospreys have departed from the US Futenma base in Japan bound for the Philippines, expanding the number of Osprey aircraft involved in the emergency work to eight, the US Marine Corps said in a statement.
Part helicopter and part plane, the Osprey can land and take off like a chopper but fly at the speed of an airplane, covering four times the distance of a traditional helicopter.
Eight MC-130 cargo aircraft, a variant of the Hercules plane, also were deployed to reinforce the relief operation for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, increasing the fleet of cargo planes to 12 to help with deliveries of food, water and other emergency items.
As of Tuesday, a team of US Marines already on the ground has delivered 129,000 pounds (nearly 60 metric tonnes) of relief supplies.
The Pentagon has approved $10 million in funds for the effort, dubbed "Operation Damayan," or "Help in Time of Need."
The US Navy has several ships heading to the coast of the Philippines in the next few days that will bring hundreds of Marines and more aircraft, vehicles and other assistance.
The carrier George Washington, with its escort of two cruisers and a destroyer, is due to arrive as soon as Wednesday, bringing 11 helicopters as well as dozens of planes and the capacity to desalinate large volumes of water.
Another American destroyer and a supply ship were en route to the disaster zone and two amphibious ships, the USS Germantown and the USS Ashland, set off Tuesday from the port of Sasebo in southern Japan.
The Germantown and the Ashland are equipped with landing craft and amphibious vehicles, medical facilities and desalination systems to produce drinking water.
The two amphibious ships are expected to arrive at the storm-ravaged country's coast within about six days, according to the Marine Corps statement.
Another amphibious ship, the USS Denver, remains on standby in Sasebo for deployment, a Navy official said.