Currently there are areas which are completely isolated. After the hurricane passed, there was no way to know the status of these areas. There is no functioning communication for these people.
Just yesterday the headlines started out with something like "8 confirmed dead" then it went up to "100 confirmed dead" and of course now the numbers are exploding. Getting a solid grasp on the level of destruction and which areas need the most help takes time.
I'm seeing that the Philippines is starting to put out the call for help. I imagine that call will be answered.
I took part in the 2008 humanitarian relief det when Typhoon Fengshen hit land, and our response time was about seven hours from the time we got the phone call and had planes and helos on the ground delivering supplies and providing medical care.
Those response times are largely based on how quickly we can get supplies from USAID, and receive an actual request for assistance.
The deterrence point of doing it instantly is that you can show just how fast and how hard an amphibious force can deploy. That's pretty much the only value of an amphibious force like the doctrinal mission of the Marines anymore; they'll never do an opposed amphibious landing with a long lead up, due to ATGMs/etc. being so effective.
One of the best things the US Military has ever done for our national security in the war on terror was helping out pretty substantially after the Kashmir 2005 earthquake -- there were helicopters in the air hours after it hit, from the US and UK forces in Afghanistan.
The last time we had ships stationed there, admittedly 20 years ago, they were VERY happy to see us go.
Yes, strictly humanitarian and all that, but...
Even though we don't have any "permanent" bases (which is up for discussion) in the Philippines, we still have very strong military ties with them.
Are you suggesting that there is excess money for something like this in the Navy budget? There are an unlimited number of things that we could do to make the world better and we can't do all of them. Like in business you have to undertake a cost/benefit analysis and see if it makes sense then to do or not. Not to mention how many people die in this country that would live if that money was spent here?
In general we should basically do anything do anything less than billions to win over Vietnam, PI, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and show our alliance with SK, Japan, and Taiwan, and build friendship with China. A billion invested in that probably is 10b in expected savings in avoiding future war.
"I do this good thing for you because it makes me feel better about my contribution to the world".
Likewise when the U.S. engaged in the Marshall Plan way back when, there were very obvious ulterior motives for the U.S. (a bulwark against Communist spread, expansion of the U.S. economy to supply our Western European allies, etc.), but that didn't invalidate the actual physical assistance rendered either.