News / Asia

US, Britain Sending Warships to Help Philippine Relief Efforts

Soldiers help residents as they board a U.S. military C130 aircraft to leave for Manila after Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban in central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
Soldiers help residents as they board a U.S. military C130 aircraft to leave for Manila after Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban in central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
Reuters
The United States is sending an aircraft carrier to the Philippines to help speed up relief efforts after a typhoon killed an estimated 10,000 people in one city alone, with fears the toll could rise sharply as rescuers reach devastated towns.
 
The USS George Washington aircraft carrier should arrive in 48 to 72 hours, the Pentagon said, confirming a Reuters report.
 
A statement said crew from the George Washington, which carries some 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft, were being recalled early from shore leave in Hong Kong and the ship was expected to be under way in the coming hours. Other U.S. Navy ships would also head to the Philippines, it said.
 
The Philippines has been overwhelmed by the scale of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest on record, which tore a path through islands in the central Philippines on Friday.
 
Rescue workers were trying to reach towns and villages on Tuesday that have been cut off, which could reveal the full extent of the loss of life and devastation from the disaster.
 
The arrival of the carrier and its aircraft will speed up the distribution of aid and ensure injured survivors can be evacuated to hospitals in unaffected parts of the country.
 
Britain is also sending a navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater and a military transport aircraft, Prime Minister David Cameron said.
 
Death Toll Expected to Rise
 
Officials in Tacloban, which bore the brunt of the storm,  have said the death toll could be 10,000 in their city. There is grave concern for regions outside Tacloban.
 
“I think what worries us the most is that there are so many areas where we have no information from, and when we have this silence, it usually means the damage is even worse,” said Joseph Curry of the U.S. organization Catholic Relief Services.
 
The “sheer size of the emergency” in the wake of the typhoon was testing relief efforts, he told NBC's “Today” program on Monday, speaking from Manila.

  • Philippine and U.S. military personnel prepare to load relief goods on a U.S. C-130 plane for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, Villamor Air Base, Nov. 11, 2013.
  • Philippine and U.S. military personnel prepare to load relief goods on a U.S. C-130 plane for typhoon victims, Villamor Air Base, Nov. 11, 2013. 
  • Residents line up to receive treatment and relief supplies at Tacloban airport, Nov.11, 2013. 
  • A boy fills a plastic bottle with water in Tacloban city, central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013. 
  • Survivors look up at a military C-130 plane as it arrives at typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013. 
  • A mother cries in relief upon boarding a Philippine Air Force helicopter in Guiuan township, Nov. 11, 2013.
  • A man smiles as he carries a sack of relief goods while others rush for their share in Iloilo province, central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013. 

John Ging, director of operations at the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said “many places are strewn with dead bodies” that need to be buried quickly to prevent the outbreak of a public health disaster.
 
“We're sadly expecting the worst as we get more and more access,” Ging told reporters at the United Nations in New York.
 
Compounding the misery for survivors, a depression is due to bring rain to the central and southern Philippines on Tuesday, the weather bureau said.
 
President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity and deployed hundreds of soldiers in Tacloban to quell looting. Tacloban's administration appeared to be in disarray as city and hospital workers focused on saving their own families and securing food.
 
Nevertheless, relief supplies were getting into the once-vibrant port city of 220,000.
 
Aid trucks from the airport struggled to enter because of the stream of people and vehicles leaving. On motorbikes, trucks or by foot, people clogged the road to the airport, holding scarves to their faces to blot out the stench of bodies.
 
Hundreds have left on cargo planes to the capital Manila or the second-biggest city of Cebu, with many more sleeping overnight at the wrecked terminal building.
 
Reuters journalists traveled into the city on a government aid truck which was guarded by soldiers with assault rifles. “It's risky,” said Jewel Ray Marcia, an army lieutenant. “People are angry. They are going out of their minds.”
 
Relief Efforts Picking Up
 
International relief efforts have begun to pick up, with dozens of countries and organizations pledging tens of millions of dollars in aid.
 
Operations have been hampered because roads, airports and bridges were destroyed or covered in wreckage by surging waves and winds of up to 235 mph (378 kph).
 
About 660,000 people were displaced and many have no access to food, water or medicine, the United Nations said.
 
U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos, who is traveling to the Philippines, released $25 million for aid relief on Monday from the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund.
 
Amos and the Philippines government are due to launch an appeal and action plan on Tuesday to deal with the disaster.
 
Aquino's declaration of a state of national calamity will allow the government to use state funds for relief and to control prices. He said the government had set aside 18.7 billion pesos ($432.97 million) for rehabilitation.
 
Additional U.S. military forces also arrived in the Philippines on Monday to bolster relief efforts, officials said, with U.S. military cargo planes transporting food, medical supplies and water for victims.
 
Terrifying Accounts

Rescuers have yet to reach remote parts of the coast, such as Guiuan, a town in eastern Samar province with a population of 40,000 that was largely destroyed.
 
The typhoon also leveled Basey, a seaside town in Samar province about 10 km (six miles) across a bay from Tacloban in Leyte province. About 2,000 people were missing in Basey, said the governor of Samar province.
 
An aerial view of the ruins of houses after the devastation of super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city in central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.An aerial view of the ruins of houses after the devastation of super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city in central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
x
An aerial view of the ruins of houses after the devastation of super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city in central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
An aerial view of the ruins of houses after the devastation of super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city in central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
The damage to the coconut- and rice-growing region was expected to amount to more than three billion pesos ($69 million), Citi Research said in a report, with “massive losses” for private property.
 
Residents of Tacloban, 580 km southeast of Manila, told terrifying accounts of being swept away by a wall of water, revealing a city that had been hopelessly unprepared for a storm of Haiyan's power.
 
Most of the damage and deaths were caused by waves that inundated towns, washed ships ashore and swept away villages in scenes reminiscent of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
 
Jean Mae Amande, 22, said she was washed several kilometers from her home by the surge of water. The current ripped her out to sea before pushing her back to shore where she was able to cling to a tree and grab a rope thrown from a boat.
 
An old man who had been swimming with her died when his neck was gashed by an iron roof, she said.
 
“It's a miracle that the ship was there,” Amande said.

Watch related video from VOA:
International Aid Heads for the Philippinesi
X
November 12, 2013 6:39 AM
Residents of the city that bore the brunt of one of the strongest storms ever recorded when it slammed into the Philippines on Friday continue to wait for international aid.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid