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Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy

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Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, The hundreds of thousands of typhoon victims in the Philippines need help, and they need it now, the U.S. Marine Corps general in charge of the U.S. military relief effort says.

Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy told CNN he needs immediate dispatch of U.S. Navy amphibious ships that carry equipment to produce potable water and the variety of helicopters, small boats, trucks and other supplies needed in the relief effort.

“They are the Swiss army knife of the U.S. military,” Kennedy said of the amphibious ships, speaking to CNN in a telephone interview from the Philippines.

The Pentagon appeared to be heeding his call. Two U.S. Navy amphibious ships are now sailing from their home base in Sasebo, Japan, to Okinawa, where they will pick up Marines and continue on to the Philippines, a U.S. military official said Tuesday evening.

Three warships that are home-ported in the Pacific are also under orders to prepare to deploy in the next 48 hours, a senior Pentagon official told CNN.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said the military is working hard to give Kennedy whatever he needs. He said 250 U.S. service members are now in the Philippines, and they have delivered 107,000 pounds of relief supplies.

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