By Rebecca Shabad - 11/11/13 07:34 AM EST
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has dispatched close to 100 Marines and sailors to help with relief efforts in the Philippines after a typhoon killed at least 10,000 people.
Hagel directed the U.S. Pacific Command on Sunday to provide support to the country after the Philippines government requested aid.
The U.S. will first assist in search and rescue operations and provide air support, Pentagon officials said.
Two officials said Sunday that Haiyan — the typhoon that made landfall Friday — may have killed 10,000 or more people. The Philippine military, however, has only confirmed 942 dead as of Sunday, according to The Washington Post.
Tacloban, reports say, was hit the hardest because of its location on the nation’s coast.
Defense Department officials are working closely with the U.S. ambassador in Manila and the U.S. Agency for International Development to organize the response to the storm.
Most of the Marines were dispatched from a U.S. base in Okinawa, Japan.
President Obama issued a statement with first lady Michelle on Sunday expressing their condolences, and said the U.S. is committed to providing assistance.
“The United States is already providing significant humanitarian assistance, and we stand ready to further assist the Government's relief and recovery efforts. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the millions of people affected by this devastating storm.”