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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid