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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.