Japan-based Marines are delivering food to a Philippine island where hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from flooding and landslides.

The island, Mindanao, has been reeling from the effects of heavy rain that fell between Jan. 28 and Feb. 2, displacing an estimated 795,000 people, according to the U.S. embassy in the Philippines.

By the end of Monday, Marines from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 had flown three sorties to Mindanao and then back to an airbase on the Philippines’ main island, according to a U.S. defense official, who shared details on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. The Marines used two KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft to deliver 58,100 pounds of food and a 13,340-pound forklift, according to the official.

“Support to our Allies and partners, and their people in a time of need, is a non-negotiable,” said Lt. Gen. Roger Turner, the III Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general, in a Monday news release from the Indo-Pacific-based force.

The Marines are providing the humanitarian assistance in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development and at the request of the government of the Philippines, the news release said.

Their efforts come as part of a broader response by the U.S. government to the disaster. The U.S. Agency for International Development is providing $1.25 million in funding for emergency food, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene items, according to the U.S. embassy in the Philippines.

The Philippines is an important U.S. military ally in the Indo-Pacific, the region that is the central focus for the Marine Corps amid tensions with China. After a severe typhoon hit the northern part of the country in July 2023, Marines from an aviation squadron spent three days distributing supplies to remote areas that had been affected by the deadly storm.

In that relief effort, Marines relied on MV-22B Ospreys, which are tiltrotor aircraft, and CH-53E Super Stallions, which are heavy-lift helicopters. The KC-130J Super Hercules, used in Monday’s flights, is a fixed-wing aircraft with a large cargo capacity.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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