MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- The United States said Monday it is fully committed to helping the Philippines recover from one of the most powerful typhoons on record, and is providing $20 million in immediate aid.
The U.S. Agency for International Development said that aid will be used for provision of emergency shelter, food, relief commodities, and water and sanitation.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday U.S. government assistance would help hundreds of thousands of displaced Filipinos.
Kerry said he assured Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario "of our full commitment to providing all necessary assistance."
According to Kerry's statement, the U.S. military is providing logistical support for the distribution of relief supplies, and USAID is helping evaluate the damage from the typhoon. The State Department is also working to send American military veterans to the Philippines to help people recover from the storm.
Earlier Monday, a U.S. military plane carrying relief supplies and a contingent of Marines left the Philippine capital en route to the country's typhoon-devastated eastern seaboard.
The C-130 left Manila's Vilamor air base loaded with bottled water, generators wrapped in plastic, a forklift and two trucks.
It was the first American relief flight to the region, where thousands are feared dead and tens of thousands more homeless as a result of Friday's typhoon.
The flight was headed for Tacloban, a city badly hit by the storm and in desperate need of assistance.
USAID said at the weekend it sent an emergency response team in and around Ormoc, the second-largest city in heavily affected Leyte Province. It found that 80 to 90 percent of housing in the city has been damaged or destroyed, and that debris and downed power lines continue to block road access to affected populations.
Associated Press writer Matthew Pennington in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.