World News

UN: $301 Million Needed for Philippines Typhoon Relief

The United Nations is asking for $301 million to provide typhoon relief efforts in the central Philippines, where 10,000 people are feared dead and many more are displaced.

The appeal was made Tuesday by U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who is visiting the region. Amos said the international response has been strong, but more needs to be done.

The U.N. says 660,000 people were displaced by Typhoon Haiyan, which plowed through the remote region late last week with historically powerful winds and tsunami-like waves.

Four days later, many have no access to food, water or medicine. Some of the most remote areas remained unreached. In the worst-hit city, Tacloban, widespread looting has been reported and dozens of rotting corpses lie in the streets.

Though aid distribution has been slow, international relief efforts have begun to pick up.

The Pentagon said late Monday it sent the USS George Washington to the region. The aircraft carrier, with 5,000 sailors and 80 aircraft on board, is expected to arrive in about two days.

Nearly 200 U.S. forces are already on the ground helping Philippine authorities with relief efforts. Captain Cassandra Gesecki is a PIO with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

"Right now we have about 180 U.S. forces on the ground. The majority of it are Marines from Okinawa, but we're also supplemented here by Army, there's a few Navy and Air Force folks helping us out. Whatever the Philippines need and whatever they request is what we're trying to provide for them."

Captain Gesecki tells VOA the extent of the damage makes it hard to deliver aid to where it is needed most.

"There's trees uprooted, no limbs, no rooftops, no walls. You know, the roads are completely untenable. You can't get through anywhere. Which is difficult, because if you can fly the supplies in, it makes it difficult getting them where they need to go."

She says her unit is using a mixture of KC-130 cargo planes and the MD-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft, which is able to take off and land vertically, making it easier to reach remote areas.

The Philippines has already sent troops to the fishing village of Tacloban, where local officials fear as many as 10,000 people may be dead. But as of Tuesday, aid distribution was slow, since soldiers there mainly worked to prevent looting and restore calm.

Photographs and video circulating showed hundreds of people returning from the hills around Tacloban, only to find mounds of wreckage where their homes had stood in the once-thriving city of 220,000 residents.

Other amateur footage showed streets that still are strewn with decomposing bodies, and dazed residents slogging through flattened neighborhoods looking for signs of life.

Elizabeth Tromans with Catholic Relief Services says there is "total devastation" in Tacloban, located on the eastern side of the island of Leyte. But she tells VOA that is just the beginning.

"We're just starting to hear more and more about the devastation outside of the city. The devastation is also really widespread even on the western side of the island."

Tromans says many residents prepared emergency goods and took shelter ahead of the storm. But she said the storm was so powerful that even many of the most well-prepared are now left with nothing.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs