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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid