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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs