News / Asia

One Month Later, Philippines Still Struggle With Typhoon’s Impact

A typhoon survivor stands on rubbish in Tacloban, central Philippines, Dec. 8, 2013.
A typhoon survivor stands on rubbish in Tacloban, central Philippines, Dec. 8, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Simone Orendain
— One month ago, a powerful super typhoon slammed the central Philippines, knocking out power and communications, and kicking up piles of debris that cut people off from aid for days. Humanitarian officials say these days, there is progress in the devastated areas, but there is still a long road to recovery. 

The Philippines Civil Defense office said a number of banks, restaurants, gas stations and other establishments were up and running in some of the hardest hit areas.  In Tacloban, the city that took the brunt of Typhoon Haiyan’s beating, downtown streets were teeming with people.

A few schools have reopened and the number of displaced people in evacuation centers is now less than 100,000, according to the United Nations.  The storm displaced more than four million people and at its peak; the evacuation centers housed close to half a million people.

Chris Kaye is U.N. deputy humanitarian coordinator for the Philippines.  He visited Tacloban and other hard-hit towns this past week.

“They’re desperately keen to rebuild their homes - for themselves to rebuild their homes, to get back to work, whether as farmers or as fishermen and for their children to resume schooling,” said Kaye.

The typhoon kicked up a massive storm surge that slammed Tacloban and nearby towns, and it blew away entire communities where farming and fishing are the main sources of income.  Its punishing winds destroyed about 1.1 million houses.

Kaye said government was able to secure funding to buy seeds for farmers in time for the rice planting season, which started in a few weeks.  But he said there were not enough quality building materials for residents to build sturdier homes than what they used to have. 

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is putting up temporary tent schools for about 500,000 students.  The agency has also started the arduous task of identifying children who were left on their own by the storm. 

Sarah Norton-Staal is UNICEF child protection chief. She said the family reunification program was able to pinpoint 36 children this past week.

“You speak to community members and they say, ‘Yes, I’ve heard about one child.’  Then you have to go to another person, ‘Do you know where that child is?’  And so it’s walking in the communities, walking in the barangays until you find that rumored child and speak to that child.  There you have it.  It’s a slow process,” she said.

The Civil Defense office said since Typhoon Haiyan struck, the government has recorded more than 21,000 people who left the devastation for major metropolitan areas such as Manila.  People continue to leave Tacloban.  But local officials are putting out a call to business owners to return and some are trickling back.

The government is undertaking a $3 billion rehabilitation plan that some humanitarian agencies said could take three to five years to complete.

Close to 7,500 people are either dead or missing after the storm.  And the lingering smell of decay in the air in Tacloban and other coastal towns indicates there are still unrecovered bodies.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: charlie from: California
December 08, 2013 10:22 PM
With so many hurricanes rated 5 hitting the Philippines, at what point do you see not just a slow degradation of the county's ability to pay for disaster relief, but something far worse, a slow degradation of national infrastructure and the means to create national wealth. At what point do millions of folks no longer find themselves living in always badly serviced cities but in permanent "emergency camps" that are just places to drop supplies. Mother Nature has to cut that country some slack before these storms make it impossible for the huge population of a 21st century country even to keep treading water.


by: steve from: boston
December 08, 2013 8:17 PM
The news cycle is so fast; we hear about a horrible catastrophe such as what occurred in the Philippines, images are plastered all over the news, hundreds of thousands are affected, then a few weeks later it's as if nothing occurred...at least to the rest of the world. One has to search to find any follow up. Welcome to the world of internet news, here today, gone tomorrow.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid