A team of about 90 US Marines and sailors headed to the Philippines on Sunday, part of a first wave of promised US military assistance for relief efforts after a devastating typhoon killed at least 10,000 people, US officials said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this weekend ordered the US military's Pacific Command to assist with search and rescue operations and provide air support in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded.
The team of US forces from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade left for the Philippines from a US base in Okinawa, Japan, aboard two KC-130J Hercules transport aircraft, the Marines said in a statement.
Two Florida-based Navy P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft, which had been on a six month rotation to Misawa, Japan, have been prepositioned in the Philippines to assist with search and rescue operations, the Marines said.
The Philippine president said the death toll from Typhoon Haiyan could be lower than initially thought, but that many areas remain cut off.
Satellite images of the Philippines before and after Typhoon Haiyan struck show how the storm flattened whole communities.
British typhoon survivor says home nearly collapsed on him and his family