General asks for U.S. warships in typhoon relief

11/12/2013, 11:10 a.m.

Washington (CNN) -- The hundreds of thousands of typhoon victims in the Philippines need help and they need it now, the U.S. Marine Corps general in charge of the U.S. military relief effort says.

Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy told CNN he needs immediate dispatch of U.S. Navy amphibious ships that carry equipment that can make potable water and the variety of helicopters, small boats, trucks and other supplies needed in the relief effort.

"They are the Swiss army knife of the U.S. military," Kennedy said of the amphibious ships, speaking to CNN in a telephone interview from the Philippines. Kennedy says he believes his request will be approved by the Pentagon in the coming hours.

As many as four warships could be headed to the Philippines. That includes three that are home-ported in the Pacific, which are now under orders to to prepare to deploy in the next 48 hours, a senior Pentagon official told CNN. More