US to Send Disaster Aid to Philippines After Devastating Typhoon

24 June 2008

U.S. President George Bush says the United States will do it all it can to help the victims of the typhoon that struck the Philippines over the weekend.  VOA's Paula Wolfson reports following talks at the White House with Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, Mr. Bush announced plans to send a U.S. aircraft carrier to the scene.

President Bush says the USS Ronald Reagan and other naval assets are moving into place.

"We are happy to do it. We want to help our friends in the time of need," the president said.

With President Arroyo at his side, Mr. Bush also expressed America's condolences to the victims of the storm and their families.

"I know there are some families that are hurting," he said. "Some are wondering whether or not their loved ones will reappear. The American people care about the human suffering that is taking place and we send our prayers."

The typhoon left dozens dead in flooded towns in the central Philippines.  But the largest single group of fatalities occurred when a ferry carrying more than 800 people capsized Saturday at the height of the storm. Only about 40 people are believed to have survived, and rescue teams now say they are finding only bodies amidst the wreckage.

In addition to recovery efforts, Presidents Bush and Arroyo also discussed U.S. food aid to the Philippines, regional issues such as Burma, combating terrorism, and the status of international trade talks.