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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More