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 Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid