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

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora