News / Asia

Philippines Defends Typhoon Relief Efforts

Philippines Defending Typhoon Relief Effortsi
X
November 15, 2013 9:36 AM
The Philippine government is defending its efforts to deliver assistance to victims of Typhoon Haiyan, many of whom have received little or no assistance since the deadly storm struck a week ago.
VOA News
The Philippine government is defending its efforts to deliver assistance to victims of Typhoon Haiyan, many of whom have received little or no assistance since the deadly storm struck a week ago.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas says that in a situation like this, speed is of the utmost importance. Speaking Friday in the devastated city of Tacloban, he said that the need is massive, immediate and not everyone can be reached.

Disaster relief chief Eduardo del Rosario told reporters Friday that the official death toll from the storm has risen to 3,621.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy launched a huge relief operation Thursday.

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington and a contingent of seven supply ships began delivering water and emergency rations to Tacloban.  The giant hospital ship USS Mercy is making emergency preparations to depart the United States and is expected to join the emergency flotilla within weeks, along with the British carrier HMS Illustrious.

As U.S. helicopters sped food and water to the city, reconnaissance aircraft began charting the worst-hit areas.


 
A MH-60S helicopter, from the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew (T AKE 10), transports a pallet of water en route to the Republic of the Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013.A MH-60S helicopter, from the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew (T AKE 10), transports a pallet of water en route to the Republic of the Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013.
x
A MH-60S helicopter, from the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew (T AKE 10), transports a pallet of water en route to the Republic of the Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013.
A MH-60S helicopter, from the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew (T AKE 10), transports a pallet of water en route to the Republic of the Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013.
Brian Goldbeck, the Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy in Manila, said he beleives the aid distrubution is going well so far.

"I think the key point here is that a large volume of assistance was pushed through to Tacloban. Now what's happening, is that the MV-22s, the Ospreys, together with the helicopters from [the] George Washington carrier strike group, together with the Philippines' own helicopters; all of those assets are now moving resources from Tacloban to multiple points, I think 16 or 18 different drop points, yesterday and today," said Goldbeck.

The flow of relief supplies has been hampered by wrecked roadways and a lack of gasoline in and near the city. Officials say the fuel shortages have been made worse by retail merchants who are afraid to sell their gasoline supplies for fear of rioting by an increasingly desperate population.
 
Caught off guard

President Benigno Aquino, caught off guard by the scale of the disaster, has been criticized for the slow pace of aid distribution and unclear estimates of casualties, especially in Tacloban, capital of hardest-hit Leyte province.
 
The level of confusion over casualties was made plain when a notice board in Tacloban City Hall estimated the deaths at 4,000 on Friday, up from 2,000 a day before, in that town alone. Hours later, Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez apologized and said the toll was only an estimate, and for the whole of the central Philippines, not just Tacloban.
 
The toll, marked up on a whiteboard, is compiled by officials who started burying bodies in a mass grave on Thursday.
 
Romualdez said some people may have been swept out to sea and their bodies lost after a tsunami-like wall of seawater slammed into coastal areas. One neighborhood with a population of between 10,000 and 12,000 was now deserted, he said.
 
The City Hall toll was the first public acknowledgement that the number of fatalities would likely far exceed an estimate given this week by Aquino, who said the loss of life from Typhoon Haiyan would be closer to 2,000 or 2,500.
 
  • Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan walk amid ruins of their homes in Maraboth, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. 
  • An employee of the German Red Cross loads donations for the victims of the typhoon at the Schoenefeld Airport, Berlin, Germany, Nov. 13, 2013. 
  • Children who survived Typhoon Haiyan play on top of the ruins of their destroyed primary school in Guiuan, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. 
  • Typhoon Haiyan survivors walk through ruins in the village of Maraboth, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. 
  • Members of the South Korean Red Cross unload emergency relief packages from a truck at Incheon Airport Cargo Terminal, Incheon, South Korea, Nov. 14, 2013.
  • Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan play with fallen power lines near a damaged school in Guiuan, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. 
  • A South Korean soldier checks relief goods on South Korean Air Force cargo plane C-130 before it leaves for Tacloban airport, Philippines for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, at Seoul military airport in Seongnam, South Korea, Nov. 14, 2013.
  • Typhoon survivors pump out fuel from a damaged filling station, Nov. 14, 2013, in Tacloban city, Philippines. 
  • Typhoon Haiyan survivors wait by the roadside in the destroyed town of Guiuan, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. 

Death toll under review

Adding to the confusion, the United Nations, citing government figures, put the latest overall death toll at 4,460, but a spokeswoman said it was now reviewing the figure.
 
On Tuesday, Aquino said estimates of 10,000 dead by local officials were overstated and caused by “emotional trauma”. Elmer Soria, a regional police chief who made that estimate to media, was removed from his post on Thursday.
 
Stunned survivors in Tacloban said the toll could be many thousands. “There are a lot of dead people on the street in our neighborhood, by the trash,” said Aiza Umpacan, a 27-year-old resident of San Jose, one of the worst-hit neighborhoods.
 
“There are still a lot of streets that were not visited by the disaster relief operations. They are just going through the highways, not the inner streets,” he said. “The smell is getting worse and we actually have neighbors who have been brought to hospital because they are getting sick.”
 
The preliminary number of missing as of Friday, according to the Red Cross, rose to 25,000 from 22,000 a day earlier. That could include people who have since been located, it said.
 
Additional aid arrives

Meanwhile, a Norwegian merchant navy training vessel arrived at Tacloban on Friday with goods from the U.N. World Food Program, including 40 tons of rice, medical equipment and 6,200 body bags.
 
Boxes of aid were being unloaded at Tacloban's badly damaged airport, where more than a thousand people queued for hours hoping to evacuate. The tarmac was a hive of activity, with three large South Korean military transport planes joining two U.S. Osprey aircraft and U.S. Navy helicopters unloading and ferrying aid.
 
Hundreds of people, part of nearly a million who have been displaced by the storm, lined up for food and drink at an evacuee processing centre at Mactan Air Base in Cebu, the country's second-biggest city.
 
Some 522 evacuees passed through the centre on Thursday, with hundreds more arriving on Friday, a government coordinator, Erlinda Parame, said.
 
On Thursday, rescue personnel began the grim task of lowering unidentified bodies into a mass grave near Tacloban's city hall. 

There were no official burial ceremonies, but a police photographer told the Associated Press that a portion of the femur was removed from each corpse. Technicians will later extract DNA from those remains to match with surviving next of kin.
 
United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who toured Tacloban Wednesday, later called the situation "dismal". Despite it being monsoon season, tens of thousands of people are living in the open, exposed to wind and rain.
Some information in this report provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Juan Pedro Hidalgo from: Bay Area
November 18, 2013 1:05 AM
Just about every single Filipinos despised their President and his corrupt officials. This is a long time coming for this people that suffered generation after generations of abuse from these government crooks. For a lot of people that don' t understand how politics work in the Philippines, it is all about corruption of public funds and aids, public officials squandering these money for their own needs and to buy votes during election. It is a vicious cycle from one presidency to the next, a never ending nightmares for the population of this beautiful country.


by: John Sykes from: Key West Fl
November 15, 2013 9:54 AM
I just hope the Phil government will learn from this like the US did during Hurricane Katrina, Unfortunately the Phil government is essentially currupt and will hamper the relief good from those who need it the most, I love the spirit of the Filipino people and the enduring bond the US shares with them. God Speed...


by: star from: napoli
November 15, 2013 8:12 AM
Phil government should not defend itself from its greediness and corruption. Where are the relief goods as of today? To be divided among the govt officials?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid