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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid