News / Asia

Philippines Races to Deliver Aid to Remote Communities

A woman and her child plead from the frantic crowd to be prioritized on an evacuation flight in Tacloban, central Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013.
A woman and her child plead from the frantic crowd to be prioritized on an evacuation flight in Tacloban, central Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013.
Simone Orendain
The Philippine government is racing to bring food and water to some communities that have seen little aid six days after a punishing super typhoon battered the central islands. The Civil Defense Office has confirmed more than 2,300 deaths so far.

United Nations Undersecretary-general Valerie Amos said Thursday the situation in the Philippines is dismal and U.N. organizations are focused on speeding aid to those in need.

"I think we are all extremely distressed that this is day six and we have not managed to reach everyone," Amos said.

Super Typhoon Haiyan

  • 10,000 people feared dead
  • At least 9.8 million people affected
  • About 660,000 people displaced
  • 394,494 people are in evacuation centers
  • 1,316 evacuation centers have been established

Source: UN
According to the United Nations, 673,000 people have been left homeless by the storm. After visiting the hard-hit city of Tacloban Wednesday, Amos said there are signs that air operations are scaling up.

Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province, has been a focus of aid efforts, as one of the largest and hardest hit cities in the devastated central Philippines. But there are many communities in more rural areas that were also hard hit.

Presidential Spokesman Sonny Coloma told reporters Thursday authorities are making progress clearing roads and sending aid convoys to these smaller towns.
They are on the ground, he said, and that is why they have projected that reasonably by Thursday this aid will arrive in 100 percent of the 40 municipalities in that part of Leyte.

To speed things up, several government buildings in the capital, Manila, have been turned into packing centers for food aid. But the struggle has been more with delivering aid than procuring it.

Typhoon Haiyan cut a very straight path across the northern half of Leyte province, and Tacloban took the brunt of its massive storm surge.

Early on, the idea was to fly aid to Tacloban airport and then distribute it to further out locations. But the airport remains overwhelmed with the needs of survivors in a city where some 70 percent of the 220,000 residents were made homeless. Aid deliveries have struggled to travel far, as hungry citizens stop trucks and demand food.

But, says Southern Leyte Vice Governor Mike Maamo, the bottom half of Leyte province suffered no casualties.

The governor plans to bring 150 security personnel from his region to Tacloban on Friday to help protect food deliveries from looters. He called on nearby communities that also avoided the worst of the storm to help in the aid effort.

“It is but necessary now that those other provinces should support and coordinate and help the municipalities and the city of Tacloban as far as the distribution is concerned,” he said.

Maamo says almost 100 percent of the local responders in Tacloban have not been able to help because they too were affected by the storm.

Maamo, who is on the provincial disaster management council, says the group is starting an “adopt a municipality” program for the far flung towns.

But while some Philippine officials expressed optimism that aid would soon begin flowing to communities, outside aid agencies Thursday were continuing to assess communication, transportation and safety concerns for future aid deliveries.

  • Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington load containers of water onto an MH-60S Seahawk for the Philippines, Nov. 15. 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A C-2A Greyhound carrying relief supplies for Operation Damayan prepares to land on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington, Nov. 15, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington load containers of water onto an MH-60S Seahawk, Nov. 15, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington load containers of water onto an MH-60S Seahawk, Nov. 15, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • An Aviation Electrician’s Mate directs a MH-60S helicopter from the USNS Charles Drew as it lifts a pallet of diesel en route to the Philippines, Nov. 14. 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A Naval Aircrewman prepares to drop supplies, Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Marines load supplies onto a forklift at Tacloban Air Base, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • A Naval Aircrewman prepares to drop supplies, Tacloban, Philippines, Nov., 14, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
     
  • An MH-60S Seahawk drops supplies onto Tacloban Air Base, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013. (U.S. Navy)
  • Marines and U.S. Army Soldiers load supplies onto an MV-22 Osprey, Tacloban, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2013.(U.S. Navy)

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs