News / Asia

International Aid Flows Into Grateful Philippines

  • Typhoon survivors board a Philippine Air Force transport plane in Tacloban, Nov. 21, 2013.
  • A Philippine man carries aid from a U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopter in Palo, Philippines, Nov. 20, 2013.
  • U.S. sailors and Marines load supplies onto a helicopter to be delivered in Eastern Sumar Province, Philippines, Nov. 20, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • U.S. military personnel carry supplies to be distributed in Eastern Sumar Province, Philippines, Nov. 20, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • U.S. sailors work with Philippine armed forces members to transport relief supplies in Ormoc City, Philippines, Nov. 18, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A member of the U.S. Navy hugs a child during a visit to Philippine Army base Camp Downes in support of Operation Damayan, Nov. 18, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A Seahawk helicopter transports international relief supplies in support of Operation Damayan, Ormoc City, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • U.S. sailors and Marines work with Philippine civilians to unload relief supplies in Guiuan, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Villagers scramble for aid from a U.S. Navy helicopter in the coastal town of Tanawan, Philippines, Nov. 17. 2013.
  • A soldier carries a baby to board a U.S. military transport plane at the damaged Tacloban airport, Tacloban city, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013.
  • A U.S. hospital corpsman assists Philippine nurses in treating a patient's head wound at the Immaculate Conception School refugee camp, Guiuan, Philippines, Nov. 17, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Philippine citizens board an U.S. HC-130 Hercules to be airlifted to safety in support of Operation Damayan, Guiuan, Nov. 17, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
Relief Operations in the Philippines
Simone Orendain
International humanitarian officials say there is a noticeable improvement in getting aid to central Philippine communities, even if some are being reached for the first time since the typhoon struck 12 days ago. The international aid has been flowing in, exposing some of the government’s vulnerabilities. More than 4,000 people were killed and millions displaced when Typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines. Hundreds of thousands have yet to be reached with emergency aid. 

More than a week after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered the central provinces, President Benigno Aquino said the Philippines would be able to recover especially with the help of other countries.  That was Sunday and he was touring municipalities in the eastern-most provinces that took the heaviest of Haiyan’s pounding, saying he would stay on to oversee relief and recovery operations.  Two days later, he returned to Manila.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda says Aquino noticed a significant improvement in relief goods reaching people who had nothing to eat days after the storm. 

“He has expressed confidence in the work that the composite team on the ground has done.  Things have turned out better than he expected,” he said.

The Philippines set a goal of releasing 150,000 food kits daily, one week after the storm.  But the government was faced with logistical and infrastructure challenges, including loosening up bottlenecks at ports along waters off the hard hit provinces, clearing debris from hard to reach roads and restoring communication lines.

Officials say most issues have been resolved.

Massive aid

Dozens of governments have pledged nearly $200 million in cash and in-kind donations.  A number have sent military assets bearing basic necessities and medical aid. 

In addition to $30 million in financial help, Japan has sent members of its self-defense force on a medical mission to several provinces. 

The United States, whose aid comes to $37 million, docked an aircraft carrier in Samar province last Thursday.  Its teams worked with Philippine forces to put in place logistics that would help aid move more smoothly.  And its strike force is using MV-22B Ospreys - small craft that can land vertically in remote areas. 

  • From left to right: U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, commanding general, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade; Philippine navy Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, officer in charge, Tacloban airfield; and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battl
  • From right to left: U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, commanding general, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade; U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet; and Philippine navy Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, officer in charge,
  • ircraft Structural Mechanic (Engine) 1st Class Robert Henderson, from Marlton, N.J., center, and other Sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and Marines assigned to the 3d Marine Expeditionary
  • Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Deanna Coutts, from Chicago, center, loads a bag of supplies into an MH-60S Seahawk from the "Golden Falcons" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 to be airlifted to nearby villages in support of Operation D
  • Sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and Marines assigned to the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade load boxes of supplies into a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey from the Marine Medium Tiltrotor

When asked by reporters whether the government would try to convince the international community to stay on longer, Lacierda said they were here voluntarily.

“They see the need.  They assess.  We will leave it to them.  Far [be it for] us to demand from them,” he said.

Government reaction

Richard Heydarian, a political analyst at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, says the Philippine government does not want to appear too dependent on outside help, which he says has been life-saving.

“They also wanted to be quite politically correct, by not singling out some countries, thanking them, ‘Oh thank you United States and Japan.’  They didn’t want to do that.  They wanted to give a generic statement in order to underplay any possible geopolitical dimensions,” he said.

Heydarian points out China’s considerably smaller portion of aid equaling $1.7 million compared to a number other countries’ and companies’ contributions.  On Wednesday a China foreign ministry spokesman said it would send a medical disaster team, a Chinese Red Cross contingent and lend its 14,000 ton floating hospital the “Peace Ark” to the typhoon-ravaged area.

The Philippines and China are in the midst of a territorial squabble in the South China Sea that prompted Manila to file an arbitration case with a United Nations tribunal earlier this year.

International humanitarian agencies have been full of praise for the government’s willingness to work with other governments and outside entities, given the magnitude of the disaster.

WATCH: Related video from VOA
People Still Leaving Philippines Typhoon Areai
X
November 21, 2013 9:23 AM
People are still trying to escape the destruction in the Philippines nearly two weeks after Typhoon Haiyan struck.

World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said this week after a visit to the worst-hit parts, the Philippines has been consistently receptive.

“They have always said ‘Yes, do that.’  And that, to us, is a government that recognizes that their primary responsibility is meeting the needs of their people.  And it’s our goal to continue to work with them,” said Cousin.

The United Nations says close to 13 million people have been affected by the typhoon.  Its labor office says about five million people will need employment

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs