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Letter to Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense and Raj Shah, USAID Administrator - Titus Joins Bipartisan Letter in Support of U.S. Airdrops of Food and Supplies to Remote Areas of the Philipines

Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada's First District and 37 House colleagues sent a bipartisan letter to Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Raj Shah requesting that the U.S. Air Force administer airdrops of food and humanitarian supplies to the most remote areas of the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

"With more than 10.3 million people affected by the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan and almost four million made homeless in its aftermath, we must do all that we can to provide assistance to the Filipino people. This is especially true for those living in the most remote areas of the country where inaccessible roads, lack of electricity, and limited fuel supplies have hindered aid efforts," said Titus. "TRIADS is an effective method for administering food packages to isolated areas and should be quickly considered so those living in the most desolate regions of the Philippines can have access to lifesaving supplies."

The text of the letter is below:

November 22, 2013

Dear Secretary Hagel and Administrator Shah:

We are writing in support of assisting people in the hardest hit areas of the Philippines through airdrops of humanitarian supplies after Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

As you know, Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, creating unimaginable damage and devastation. Since this record storm made landfall, the United States and the international community have rushed to aid the people of the Philippines.

As of November 18, 2013, the United States Agency for International Development reported that Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda affected 10.3 million people, with four million being displaced. Today, many people remain in desperate need of basic goods such as food, water, and medical supplies.

We are proud of the swift efforts by the United States to assist our friends in the Philippines by coordinating the distribution of food, water, and humanitarian goods. Ideally our aid personnel on the ground would be available to directly distribute these goods to those in need. But, unfortunately, this is not a viable option due to extensive damage on the ground.

After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the U.S. Air Force dropped over 55,000 pounds of food and water to the areas that had been difficult to reach due to widespread damage. It is my understanding the United States is currently delivering food to the Philippines primarily through distribution centers and via helicopter and V22-Ospreys. Time is of the essence, and we hope you will use the U.S. Air Force to administer larger scale airdrops of humanitarian supplies to assist those in the most remote and inaccessible areas of the Philippines that were affected by the typhoon, to the fullest extent possible.

In particular, we wish to highlight an aid deployment strategy developed by the U.S. Air Force at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory called the Tri-wall Arial Delivery System, or TRIADS, which enables the dropping of food packages safely from high altitudes without parachutes. This technology has been effectively utilized to deliver millions of food packages in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, and Pakistan. We believe that this approach could be particularly useful in distributing food in isolated areas in the Philippines without unintentionally injuring people on the ground.

Thank you for your leadership and continued efforts to assist the people of the Philippines as they begin to recover from this horrific disaster. We look forward to hearing from you soon regarding the use of airdrops of food and supplies to assist people in the most unreachable areas of the Philippines.

Sincerely,

Dina Titus (NV-1)

Eric Swalwell (CA-15)

Jackie Speier (CA-14)

Randy Weber (TX-14)

Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10)

Jim Himes (CT-4)

Frederica Wilson (FL-24)

Colleen Hanabusa (HI-1)

Mark Pocan (WI-2)

Brad Schneider (IL-10)

Janice Hahn (CA-44)

Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2)

Julia Brownley (CA-26)

Sam Farr (CA-20)

Jerry McNerney (CA-9)

Grace Meng (NY-6)

Steven Horsford (NV-4)

Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)

Joe Crowley (NY-14)

Tony Cardenas (CA-29)

Raul Grijalva (AZ-3)

Judy Chu (CA-27)

Chris Van Hollen (MD-8)

Michael Honda (CA-17)

Beto O'Rourke (TX-16)

Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)

Brad Sherman (CA-30)

Keith Ellison (MN-5)

Barbara Lee (CA-13)

Yvette Clarke (NY-9)

Alcee Hastings (FL-20)

Charles Rangel (NY-13)

Jan Schakowsky (IL-9)

Luis Gutiérrez (IL-4)

Scott Peters (CA-52)

Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2)

John Conyers (MI-13)

Doris Matsui (CA-6)


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