Menendez among first on Capitol Hill to call for US support for storm-battered Philippines

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez on Saturday called on the United States to help the Philippines after deadly Typhoon Haiyan hit the ally island nation.

“The United States can and must do everything in our power to assist our friend and ally in dealing with the devastating consequences of this storm, and to help meet the needs of the Filipino people in addressing this disaster,” said Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to The Hill newspaper.

The storm hit the tiny Southeast Asian island nation on Friday with winds of more than 190 mph. There have 120 confirmed fatalities, but the death toll is expected to reach 1,200.

The U.S. Marines are surveying the damage, and Secretary of State John Kerry has said the U.S. is ready to help.

A United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination Team on Saturday morning reached the city of Tacloban where the typhoon first struck to find “scenes of total devastation,” the group said.

“Today our hearts go out to the Filipino people,” Menendez continued. “The images of devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan coming out of the Philippines are truly heartbreaking. The Filipino people have my sympathy and support as they deal with the effects of a storm.”

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