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

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid