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Philippines Aid Cost DoD $32 Million

U.S. Marines from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade on two KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft arrive at Villamor Air Base, in Pasay city, metro Manila November 10, 2013.

The massive Defense Department relief effort in the Philippines by all the services has cost nearly $32 million in the four weeks since Super Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the islands, Pentagon officials said Thursday.

The $31.7 million from DoD through Dec. 3 was part of an overall U.S. initial relief and recovery effort totaling about $61.8 million, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The death toll through Thursday from the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall was 5,719, with another 1,779 listed as missing and more than 26,000 injured, Filipino authorities said.

The United Nations has called for pledges of $348 million from donor nations to cope with the aftermath of the storm that displaced an estimated four million people and wrecked 1.2 million homes, AID said in a fact sheet.

Immediately after the storm hit on Nov. 8, U.S. troops, led by the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade from Okinawa, began arriving in fixed-wing and tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey aircraft in hardest-hit Leyte province and its capital city, Tacloban.

The aid effort was called Operation Damayan, and at its peak the operation involved more than 13,400 U.S. military personnel from all the services, 66 aircraft and 12 Navy ships, including the carrier George Washington, the U.S. Pacific Command said.

Through last week, the U.S. military had flown more than 1,300 relief sorties and delivered more than 2,495 tons of supplies, PACOM said.

As road conditions improved, the main responsibility for relief efforts was being passed to the Philippine military and international aid organizations.

The military's Joint Task Force 505, which was set up to coordinate relief efforts, ended its mission last weekend, but about 1,100 U.S. troops were still on the ground in the Philippines and another 1,900 aboard ships as Operation Damayan continued.

On Thursday, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that the relief effort was concentrated on main roads and called for more attention to be paid to remote areas.

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Philippines Richard Sisk
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