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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More