Several regional powers in Asia-Pacific have dispatched airlift assets to provide humanitarian relief in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

On 8 November, Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc when it struck eastern Philippines, laying waste the city of Tacloban and potentially killing thousands with both the initial storm surge and the flooding that followed.

The Philippine air force was able to dispatch Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transports to affected areas, delivering relief supplies and evacuating victims to safety. It was also able to deploy Bell UH-1 utility helicopters and PZL-Swidnik W-3A Sokol helicopters. Manila’s Sokols are optimised for the search and rescue role.

Among other nations, the USA was the leading provider of airlift capability. In a statement, the US defence department said that five KC-130 and four Bell Boeing MV-22 Ospreys operated by the US marines have delivered 107,000lb of relief supplies to the Philippines.

MV-22 C-130 in Philippines

US Department of Defense

Additional US forces and aircraft are on the way, including the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS George Washington and other warships. The vessel carries 11 helicopters and can produce 400,000gal of fresh water daily.

The US military is focusing on delivering potable water, food, shelter, hygiene products and medical supplies.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Canada dispatched a Bombardier CC-144 Challenger jet with an advanced assessment team comprising the department of national defence and Canadian air force personnel. It was followed by a Boeing C-17 aircraft carrying an advanced element of the country's disaster assistance response team (DART).

Australia has dispatched a C-17 and a C-130J to the Philippines. The C-17 will carry a civilian medical team and 22t of equipment to Mactan air field in Cebu. At Mactan, the C-130J will transfer the team to Tacloban.

“The [aircraft] will be supported by a RAAF [Royal Australian Air Force] mobile air load team, and aircraft security operations team, and aeromedical evacuation specialists,” says Australia's defence senator David Johnston. “These personnel will be responsible for enabling the delivery of the medical specialists and their equipment to the Philippines.”

The UK has also dispatched a C-17 to the Philippines, while New Zealand has dispatched a C-130.