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Congressman Eric Swalwell

Representing the 15th District of California


US solons urge defense dep’t to airdrop relief supplies in remote areas

November 26, 2013
In The News

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Air Force should air drop humanitarian supplies and  food to the most remote and inaccessible areas of the Philippines following  Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, several lawmakers wrote to the US defense secretary and  the USAID head.

U.S. Representatives Eric Swalwell (CA-15) and Jackie Speier (CA-14) wrote to  Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. Agency for International  Development (USAID) administrator Raj Shah, requesting the airdrops. The  bipartisan letter was signed by 36 members of Congress.

The U.S. is currently delivering food to the Philippines primarily through  distribution centers and via helicopter and V22-Ospreys; but relief personnel  have yet to use airdrops although many areas of the devastated by the storm are  remote.

Airdrops in a disaster situation are not unprecedented. Following the  earthquake in Haiti, the U.S. Air Force dropped over 55,000 pounds of food and  water into difficult to reach areas.

In their letter, the lawmakers encourage use of an aid deployment strategy  developed by the U.S. Air Force at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in  Livermore, California, called the Tri-wall Arial Delivery System (TRIADS).  TRIADS is a proven method, which enables the dropping of food packages from high  altitudes without parachutes.

“Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines, creating unimaginable damage,”  said Swalwell. “I’m proud we’ve quickly provided assistance to our friends in  the Philippines, but many in remote areas are still in desperate need of basic  humanitarian supplies.  I’m proud to represent a vibrant Filipino  population in the East Bay, many of whom are worried about loved ones in the  Philippines. Time is of the essence and I encourage the military and aid workers  to use all existing methods to disperse aid so those in need have access to  lifesaving supplies.”

Speier stressed that many of the four million people affected are in the most  remote regions of the Philippines and are harder to access. “TRIADS is a proven  approach to getting food packages safely to isolated areas such as Haiti and  Afghanistan and must be given every consideration,” she urged.

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