Typhoon Haiyan. Where are the Choppers?
Update: I watched on the news today as H60's and other various helicopters launched from Navy vessels in the area. They carried the vital supplies required and it was a welcome sight. Also, the new official death toll stood at 3621 as of today (down from the estimated 10,000 initially).
The most powerful storm ever recorded has just ripped through the Philippines. As the death toll rises to unbelievable numbers (10,000) as of last count, countries are sending aid.
Fixed wing assets are flying in from various locations loaded with essentials to help minimize the losses. What I haven't seen are the helicopters. Where are the medium and heavy lift birds? By my last check the Philippines had:
- 1 S-70
- 8 W3s
- 10 S-76s
- 36 UH-1s (Most likely a few more)
- 8 205s
- 3 412s
- 3 MBB Bo 105s
While this list sounds impressive and there are most likely even more on the books, how many are serviceable? How many escaped or were repositioned prior to the destruction?
The areas most catastrophically impacted with limited access won't be done much good by large airplanes, at least not initially. An airdrop method could be used. But what about the critical, ailing, and other individuals? I only know of a handful of parachuting doctors.
Without a large helicopter response the entire situation can only continue to decay for those areas hardest struck. Medium and heavy lift birds are going to be paramount. Without them the death toll will inevitably climb and the spiral seen after Hurricane Katrina will be dwarfed exponentially.