|Max Soliven, one of the founders of the daily newspaper, "The Philippine Star".|
Foreign governments and agencies have announced a major relief effort to help victims of the Philippine typhoon. Here are some of the pledges they have made:
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has released $25 million from the UN’s emergency relief fund to provide emergency food assistance, supply emergency shelter materials and household items, assist with the provision of emergency health services, safe water supplies and sanitation facilities. The funding will also be used for critical protection, nutrition and emergency activities, the UN humanitarian office said.
The United Kingdom is deploying a Royal Navy warship and donating a total of 10 million pounds’ (roughly $16 million) worth of humanitarian assistance in aid of the victims of the typhoon, British Prime Minister David Cameron said.
Britain will also deploy Royal Air Force military transport aircraft in aid of recovery efforts, earmarking at least one C-17 cargo plane to move humanitarian aid and large equipment.
Australia announced assistance of 10 million Australian dollars ($9.4 million). That includes the deployment of an emergency medical team, aid to the UN Flash Appeal and aid to Australian non-governmental organizations for immediate life-saving assistance.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US government is organizing emergency shipments of critically needed material to provide shelter to the hundreds of thousands of displaced Filipinos and food and hygiene supplies to thousands of families. Acting US Ambassador Brian Goldbeck issued a disaster declaration to provide an immediate $100,000 for relief efforts. Officials from the US Agency for International Development are deployed around the country to monitor the damage.
United Nations World Food Program
The United Nations World Food Program said it has allocated $2 million for the disaster response and officials joined an assessment mission to survey damage in Leyte and Samar provinces.
WFP said it will send more than 40 tons of high energy biscuits and work with the Filipino government to help with logistics and emergency communications systems. It asks for donations at www.wfpusa.org.
Unicef said its staff in the Philippines is being repositioned to help in relief efforts and 66 tons of emergency supplies are being sent from Copenhagen. An airlift set to arrive on Tuesday will include water purification systems, storage equipment and sanitation supplies. Donations can be made to Unicef at unicef.org/support.
Japan will fly a 25-member relief team of mostly medical staff.
Taiwan said it will send $200,000 in aid to help with relief efforts.
The American Red Cross said it has deployed two people to assist with assessments in the Philippines and activated its family tracing services. It asked those who want to support relief efforts to mail a check to their local Red Cross chapter, with “Philippines Typhoons and Flood” in the memo line.
World Vision said it is putting together resources to assist 1.2 million people, including food, hygiene kits, emergency shelter and protection. It asked for one-time donations to be made at worldvision.org.
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has begun collecting donations for relief efforts. To contribute, go to www.jdc.org.
Mercy Corps said it has launched emergency response efforts to provide food, water, shelter and basic supplies to typhoon survivors. To contribute, go to www.mercycorps.org/typhoon.
AmeriCares is preparing to deploy an emergency response team to the Philippines. To donate go to americares.org.
International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee has dispatched an emergency team to Manila and launched a $10 million appeal. The IRC will work to determine which of its areas of expertise—from water and sanitation to education—are most needed.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders said it has 15 members in Cebu city and will send an additional 50 people in the next few days. It said it also is sending 329 tons of medical and relief supplies on three cargo planes. To donate, go to www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate .
Lutheran World Relief
Lutheran World Relief said it has deployed its local staff to stricken areas and is appealing for $2.5 million to aid its recovery effort. To donate, go to lwr.org/donate/
American Jewish World Service
American Jewish World Service is collecting money to provide directly to local groups in the Philippines. To donate, go to www.ajws.org.
A news story from Agence France-Presse figures about Australia giving humanitarian aid to the typhoon victims.
SYDNEY, Australia – Australia pledged Thursday a further Aus$20 million (US$18.7 million) for relief efforts in the battered Philippines and said it will deploy extra defense staff to help deal with the disaster.
The funding hike takes Australia’s contribution to Aus$30 million in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated parts of the country, destroying life, property and infrastructure.
“As a good friend and neighbor, Australia stands beside the Philippines as it deals with this humanitarian disaster,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s office said in a statement.
The additional money will be used to address serious nutrition, child health and protection needs, purchase emergency food and provide logistic support.
Two Australian aircraft are already in the Philippines, arriving on Wednesday evening to transport doctors, paramedics and medical equipment from Cebu to worst-hit Tacloban.
The statement said another C-130 Hercules transport aircraft would leave soon, with a fourth plane on standby, while the amphibious landing vessel HMAS Tobruk was being diverted to the Philippines.
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—US and British warships were deployed Tuesday to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines where well over 10,000 people are feared dead and countless survivors are begging for help in rain-soaked wastelands.
Four days after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) destroyed entire coastal towns in mostly poor central islands with record winds and tsunami-like waves, the magnitude of the disaster continued to build with almost unimaginable horror.
“We are certainly expecting the worst. As we get more and more access we find the tragedy of more and more people killed in this typhoon,” United Nations humanitarian operations director John Ging said.
The UN warned 10,000 people were feared dead in just one city, Tacloban, the provincial capital of Leyte province where five-meter (16-feet) waves flattened nearly everything in their path as they swept hundreds of meters (yards) inland.
Nearly 10 million people, or 10 percent of the Philippines’ population, have been affected, while 660,000 have lost their homes, the UN added.
Overwhelmed and under-resourced rescue workers have been unable to provide desperately needed food, water, medicines, shelter and other relief supplies to many survivors, and desperation has been building across the disaster zones.
“There is nothing here left for us. Our house is gone, we don’t have any money, we don’t have our documents, passports, school records,” Carol Mampas, 48, told AFP at Tacloban’s demolished airport as she cradled her feverish baby son in a blanket.
“Please, please, tell authorities to help us. Where is the food, where is the water? Where are the military collecting the dead?”
Dead bodies still litter the wreckage, while security concerns are building as gangs take advantage of a security vacuum to loot homes and businesses that survived the typhoon.
Downpours worsen desperation
Heavy rain overnight in Tacloban compounded the survivors’ desperation, while a tropical storm to the south threatened other typhoon-hit islands where hundreds of other people were also killed.
An international relief effort has begun to build momentum, with the United States and Britain announcing they would quickly deploy warships carrying thousands of soldiers to the Philippines.
The Pentagon said the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which has 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft aboard, will head to the United States’ close Asian ally on Tuesday, from Hong Kong where it is currently on a port visit.
Five other warships are also being deployed, and the group is expected to reach the Philippines within two to three days, the Pentagon said. Ninety US marines arrived in Tacloban on Monday as an advance team.
“These ships and aircraft will be able to provide humanitarian assistance, supplies, and medical care in support of the ongoing efforts led by the government and military of the Republic of the Philippines,” the Pentagon said.
Britain will also send a warship, currently deployed in nearby Singapore “at full speed” to the Philippines, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Monday.
Many other countries have pledged help, while United Nations agencies started to ramp up their disaster-response programmes.
The UN children’s fund UNICEF said a cargo plane carrying 60 tons of aid including shelters and medicine would arrive in the Philippines Tuesday, to be followed by deliveries of water purification and sanitation equipment.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, was also organising an airlift carrying aid including hygiene kits.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III late Monday declared a national state of calamity, which allowed the government to impose price controls and quickly release emergency funds.
“In the coming days, be assured: help will reach you faster and faster,” he said in a televised address.
“My appeal to you all is: remaining calm, praying, cooperating with, and assisting one another are the things that will help us to rise from this calamity.”
Coastal towns reduced to piles of wood
Yolanda’s sustained winds when it hit Samar island, where it first made landfall, reached 315 kilometers (195 miles) an hour, making it the strongest typhoon in the world this year and one of the most powerful ever recorded.
Aerial photos of Samar showed whole districts of coastal towns reduced to piles of splintered wood.
The advance American troops expressed shock at the scale of the disaster after getting a bird’s eye view flying into Tacloban aboard C-130 transport aircraft full of relief supplies.
“Roads are impassable, trees are all down, posts are down, power is down . . . I am not sure how else to describe this destruction,” Brigadier General Paul Kennedy, the commanding general of the Okinawa-based 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, told reporters.
The Philippines is hit with an average of 20 tropical storms or typhoons a year, as they emerge from the Pacific Ocean and sweep west.
However Yolanda’s record intensity has fuelled concerns that climate change is increasing the ferocity of storms.
Blaming global warming for Yolanda’s mega-strength, Philippines negotiator Naderev Sano pledged at UN climate talks in Warsaw on Monday to fast until progress was made on tackling the environmental crisis.
If the death toll of more than 10,000 is correct, Yolanda would be the deadliest natural disaster ever recorded in the country, exceeding the 1976 Moro Gulf tsunami that killed between 5,000 and 8,000 people.
Yolanda swept out into the South China Sea on Saturday and hit Vietnam and China on Monday in a significantly weakened state, although still strong enough to uproot trees and tear roofs off hundreds of homes. At least seven people were reportedly killed in China.
MANILA – The United States, Australia and the United Nations are mobilizing emergency aid to the Philippines as the scale of the devastation unleashed by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) emerges.
The Pentagon is sending military personnel and equipment to assist with the relief effort following the typhoon, which may have killed more than 10,000 people in what is feared to be the country’s worst natural disaster.
“The United States is already providing significant humanitarian assistance, and we stand ready to further assist the government’s relief and recovery efforts,” US President Barack Obama said in a statement.
Some 90 Marines and sailors, and two KC-130J Hercules aircraft, left Japan for the Philippines on Saturday, with equipment including tilt-rotor aircraft which can operate without runways, Marines Colonel John Peck said.
The Australian government pledged Aus$10 million dollars (US$9.38 million), with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop describing the unfolding tragedy as “absolutely devastating” and on a “massive scale.”
The sum includes Aus$4 million towards a UN global appeal and Aus$3 million for Australian non-government organisations. The aid will include tarpaulins, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, water containers and health and hygiene kits.
A team of Australian medics will leave on Wednesday via a C17 military transport plane from Darwin to join disaster experts already on the ground, the government said, after it disbursed emergency funds worth US$490,000 on Sunday.
Philippine rescue teams were said to be overwhelmed in their efforts to help those whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed after Haiyan ravaged large swathes of the archipelago Friday.
Officials were struggling to cope with the scale of death and destruction, with reports of violent looters and scarcity of food, drinking water and shelter.
United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon promised UN humanitarian agencies would “respond rapidly to help people in need”.
The UN children’s fund UNICEF said a cargo plane carrying 60 tonnes of aid including shelters and medicine would arrive in the Philippines Tuesday, to be followed by deliveries of water purification and sanitation equipment.
Pope Francis led 60,000 people in Sunday prayers for the Philippines, urging the faithful to provide “concrete help” to the largely Roman Catholic country.
“Sadly, there are many, many victims and the damage is huge,” he said.
Other aid mobilized for the Philippines includes:
- The European Commission said it would give three million euros ($4 million) towards the relief efforts.
- Britain offered an emergency support package worth $9.6 million. Germany’s embassy in Manila said an initial shipment of 23 tons of aid was being flown in and German rescue teams were already at work.
– Like Australia, New Zealand also increased its humanitarian relief on Monday, bringing its total to NZ$2.15 million (US$1.78 million), while Canada has promised up to US$5 million to aid organizations.
- Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said it was sending 200 tons of aid including medicine, tents and hygiene kits to arrive mid-week, with the first cargo plane leaving from Dubai on Monday and another from Belgium on Tuesday.
- Taiwan’s government pledged immediate cash aid of US$200,000 and the Singapore government donated US$40,000.
- Oxfam, the British-based relief organixation, said it has sent an assessment team ahead of aid operations.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday asked Catholics to provide “concrete help” to the hundreds of thousands of people made homeless in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines, and to include them in their prayers.
More than 60,000 people joined the pope in his own prayer for the victims during his traditional Sunday mass in St. Peter’s Square, a day after he had tweeted his solidarity with the Catholic Asian nation.
The death toll from the super typhoon that wiped out entire towns in the Philippines could soar well over 10,000, authorities warned Sunday, making it the country’s worst recorded natural disaster.
“Sadly, there are many, many victims and the damage is huge,” the head of the Roman Catholic Church said, speaking from a third-floor window of the papal palace. “Let’s try to provide concrete help.”
Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the pope’s right-hand man, said in a message to President Benigno Aquino that Francis was “deeply saddened by the destruction and loss of life caused by the super typhoon (and) expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this storm and its aftermath.”
“He is especially mindful of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and of those who have lost their homes,” the message said.
“In praying for all the people of the Philippines, the Holy Father likewise offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this storm.”