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.
    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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.