News / Asia

Relief Workers in Philippines Struggle to Reach Typhoon Victims

An aerial view of a fishing village in Guiwan town, devastated by super Typhoon Haiyan, in Samar province in central Philippines Nov. 11, 2013.
An aerial view of a fishing village in Guiwan town, devastated by super Typhoon Haiyan, in Samar province in central Philippines Nov. 11, 2013.
Daniel Schearf
As international aid rushes to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines, groups say rescue and relief efforts are being slowed by roadblocks caused by massive amounts of debris. Three days after Typhoon Haiyan came ashore, authorities are still struggling to even gauge the extent of the devastation.  Meanwhile U.S. military transport planes and a contingent of Marines have arrived to help. 
 
Supplies of emergency food, water, and sanitation are being flown in by helicopter to the storm-damaged central Philippines, three days after a record super typhoon.
 
Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, slammed into eastern Leyte and Samar islands on Friday, obliterating everything in its path and cutting off supplies of power and water, as well as crucial road links.
 
U.S. military C-130 planes, filled with relief supplies and Marines, began arriving in Tacloban, the devastated capital of Leyte, on Monday.  
 
Orla Fagan, spokeswoman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Manila, estimated that nine million people have been affected by the storm, but the extent of damage is still unknown because the rescue effort remains handicapped by debris, downed trees and power lines.
 
"Certainly Tacloban has been hardest hit. But, in the areas where we haven't been able to access, we actually don't know what the damage is. So, we do expect that there will be increased numbers of dead, deaths reported. And we are doing our very best to access the people who are desperately in need at this stage," said Fagan.

  • An aerial image taken from a Philippine Air Force helicopter shows the devastation of the first landfall by typhoon Haiyan in Guiuan, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
  • Survivors fill the streets as they line up to get supplies in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
  • A survivor writes a call for help, Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
  • Survivors pass by two large boats that were washed ashore by strong waves caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, Nov. 10, 2013.
  • A resident walks by remains of houses after powerful Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Nov. 9, 2013
  • Survivors assess the damage after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines, Nov. 9, 2013.
  • Tacloban Airport is covered by debris after powerful Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban city, in Leyte province in central Philippines, Nov. 9, 2013.
  • Residents go on their daily business Nov. 9, 2013, following a powerful typhoon that hit Tacloban city, in Leyte province, central Philippines.
  • A fisherman carries his net after making it safely back to shore in the fishing village after a strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan battered Bayog town in Los Banos, Laguna city, south of Manila, Nov. 8, 2013. 
  • A man walks past a tree uprooted by strong winds brought by super Typhoon Haiyan that hit Cebu city, central Philippines, Nov. 8, 2013. 
  • A mother takes refuge with her children as Typhoon Haiyan hits Cebu city, central Philippines, Nov. 8, 2013.

The international community responded quickly with offers of emergency help.
 
Fagan said that donations and commitments are coming in from Australia, European countries, Turkey, and North America. She said that aside from food and water, one of the biggest concerns is shelter; the Philippines is still in the midst of its rainy season.
 
"The International Organization for Migration committed 4,000 tarpaulins, the United States has airlifted plastic sheeting for 10,000 households, and that will arrive in the next 24 to 48 hours. The UK rapid response of 5 million pounds, about $8 million U.S. dollars, for 15,000 shelter kits, the Catholic Relief Services have mobilized 18,000 tarpaulins. France has airlifted plastic sheeting and non-food items, and Habitat for Humanity is collaborating with the government to distribute 30,000 tarpaulins," said Fagan.
 
Within Asia, Japan and Singapore were sending medical and rescue teams. China, which has had tense relations with Manila in recent years because of their territorial dispute in the South China Sea, said it is pledging humanitarian aid, including a $100,000 cash donation.
 
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has dispatched an assessment team to the area to discuss possible relief support.
 
Typhoon Haiyan weakened significantly before reaching Vietnam on Sunday.
 
Francis Markus, a spokesman for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent said from Hanoi that Haiyan is one of a series of destructive storms to hit Vietnam in the last few weeks. Thousands of people are still struggling to recover.
 
"In Vietnam, we are already appealing for emergency help for those people who were hit by the earlier typhoons and we are trying to increase the amount of support as the storms have compounded each other. And, we will have to really assess the situation as far as this latest storm and how much damage it has added. But, really, there is continuing concern and continuing need to help people regain their resilience after a very, very difficult few weeks in Vietnam," said Markus.
 
International aid workers have said that countries that suffer frequent natural disasters need to invest more in preparedness and development to help people become more resilient.
 
Typhoon Haiyan cut power for two days on the Philippines island of Bohol, which is still recovering from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake which struck last month and killed over 200 people.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark from: Michigan, USA
November 11, 2013 8:31 PM
A heartbreaking human tragedy. This is a perfect opportunity for the US and China to cooperate and build trust. This area is within a zone that the Chinese wish to increase their influence and this a great opportunity for an emerging power to demonstrate it is ready to help out. Please work together and help these folks in Asia to have the best possible outcome from a terrible situation. I am an American worker donating my weeks worth of wages to get some food and shelter to the survivors and my heart goes out to each of their families. Let us use this terrible, terrible situation to build trust between our countries and achieve the best possible outcome from what is a terrible situation in the region. Let's work together for the good of the HUMAN RACE. Best wishes to the people effected and I will do my modest personal best to add to your relief. I hope others will as well. Our sympathy and aid is with you. "Hang in there"
In Response

by: Diana Rose from: Eastern Samar Philippines
November 12, 2013 12:39 AM
Thank you so much Mr Mark of Michigan! I appreciate your kindness! God Bless you and all the people who are willing to help us in this time of disaster!

by: Marilyn from: Westbrook maine
November 11, 2013 4:44 PM
Thank you so much to the US government for sending melitary over to help victims ..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs