News / Asia

Longer-term Solutions Needed for Philippines Typhoon Survivors

Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan wait for a sack containing food supplies to drop from a Philippine Air Force helicopter in Tolosa, Leyte in central Philippines Nov. 21, 2013.
Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan wait for a sack containing food supplies to drop from a Philippine Air Force helicopter in Tolosa, Leyte in central Philippines Nov. 21, 2013.
VOA News
With emergency aid now flowing to most of the worst-hit areas of the central Philippines, relief groups say the biggest challenge will be to provide longer-term help to the millions affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
 
It has now been nearly two weeks since one of the strongest storms ever to hit land wiped out entire villages with its powerful winds and a tsunami-like storm surge. Although initial aid flow was slow, basic supplies are now available for most of those in need.
 
VOA's Steve Herman has been reporting from Leyte, one of the islands that received the brunt of the storm. On Thursday, he spoke with Jennifer Hardy of Catholic Relief Services, who said many survivors are optimistic, despite the hardships that remain.
 
"Catholic Relief Services did our first distribution in San Joaqin Parish here on the church grounds today, and I heard a lot of hopeful words after that, like 'Now we have something," she said. "Now we won't get wet tonight when we're sleeping.' And there was kind of a change in attitude as people were talking."
 
But the gravity of the situation is never far away. On the same church grounds where relief goods were being distributed, at least 250 bodies have been buried.
 
"We are at the site of a mass grave, so I think the reality of the situation has sunk in to some extent," Hardy said. "But what is still to be determined is how long this recovery effort will take. And that's what I think people, as they go through day by day, they'll be wondering why aren't things better yet."
 
Hardy added that aid groups and government agencies are working hard to deliver the right emergency food and shelter to the right people as quickly as possible. But she stressed that the biggest need may be yet to come.
 
"Right now it's emergency shelter," she said. "So these are supposed to be short-term solutions, and now it's going to be a huge need for longer-term - what are going to be more permanent solutions, or at least transitional solutions for people."
 
These solutions include shelter that goes beyond the tarps and tents given to many of the hundreds of thousands displaced. It also includes addressing long-term food security issues for areas that have had their crops destroyed.
 
Hardy said she has been "amazed at the outpouring of generosity" from the international community, and that Filipinos she has met have also been grateful for the international aid they have received.
 
But groups such as Catholic Relief Services, as well as the United Nations, are warning that the crisis is not over. They say there will be a need for continued generosity once the storm and its aftermath fade from the international headlines.

  • Tacloban airport's terminals were destroyed by the typhoon. Some limited commercial traffic is now utilizing the airport, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • No part of Tacloban was spared by the typhoon, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Tacloban's convention center, nicknamed "The Astrodome" was where many evacuees sheltered during the typhoon, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Survivors lining up to fill water containers near Tacloban City Hall, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Lines for gasoline at stations that have managed to reopen, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • The storm surge toppled vehicles, most of which are yet to be moved, Tacloban, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A woman inspecting bananas for sale on a Tacloban street, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Piles of debris litter every street in Tacloban, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Tacloban's commercial infrastructure was wiped out by the typhoon, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Most residents saw not only their homes destroyed but also their vehicles, Tacloban, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Children on bicycles watch a military cargo plane ferrying aid take off from Tacloban airport, Nov. 21, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs