October 27, 2020

Philippines Typhoon – latest news and how to help locally

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_71080861_019970523-1President lowers death toll estimate

From BBC

Philippine President Benigno Aquino says the death toll from Typhoon Haiyan may be lower than first thought.

Speaking to CNN, he said the number of 10,000 killed was “too high” and the figure was more likely up to 2,500.

The UN says more than 11 million people are believed to have been affected and some 673,000 displaced.

The relief operation is being stepped up, but many are still without aid. On Wednesday, eight people died as a rice warehouse was looted, officials said.

At the scene Jonathan Head

BBC News, Leyte

So where is the aid? That was the question on everyone’s lips in the district of Pawing, outside Tacloban.

Nearly every house has either been flattened or left without roofs or windows. People are living amid the sodden debris that was once their homes.

 

 

They are wet, hungry, and increasingly angry. I watched them making the long trek into Tacloban in search of food, and returning empty-handed. One long queue outside a food warehouse quickly broke down into a free-for-all, people grabbing whatever they could.

The local government was pretty much wiped out by the typhoon. That’s why the central government has taken over the running of Tacloban. But it is almost invisible. Without power or phone communications, people have no idea whether anything is being done for them.

The airport, while badly battered, is functioning. Planes come and go, several every hour. But they are not bringing much in, only taking people out. The Philippine army and police are very visible there, much less so in the rest of the city.

By day five of a disaster like this, you would expect to see some preparations for a scaled-up aid programme at the airport. There are still very few signs of that here.

Instead, there are still corpses, lying uncollected, at the end of the runway.

The earlier figure of 10,000 feared killed came from a police officer and local official and may have arisen from the “emotional trauma” of being at the centre of the disaster, Mr Aquino said.

He said 29 municipalities had yet to be contacted to establish the number of victims there.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has put the official death toll at 1,833, as of 06:00 local time (22:00 GMT) on Wednesday. The number of injured stands at 2,623 with 84 listed as missing.

Angry residents

Despite the increased aid effort, many survivors still badly need food, water and shelter, aid officials say.

There has been criticism of relief efforts, as the damage to transport links and bad weather are hindering distribution of relief supplies.

However, Philippine Interior Minister Mar Roxas told the BBC that relief efforts were on track.

“Our first priorities were, number one, to establish law and order; number two, to bring food and water to the people; and, number three, to recover the cadaver bags,” he said.

“[Now] law and order has been stabilised, the supply of food and water is beginning – I’m not saying that we’re anywhere near it – [but it] is beginning to be stabilised… and now we are concentrating on recovery of cadavers as well as on the distribution of the food and the relief that is coming in.”

But Philippine armed forces spokesman Ramon Zagala told the BBC teams were struggling to reach isolated places.

“The area is very vast and the number of helicopters, although we have a lot of helicopters at the moment, it’s really a challenge for us to bring [aid] to all the places and [bring] the number of goods that are needed.”

‘Hopelessness and desperation’

Tacloban – a city of 220,000 on Leyte island – is particularly badly affected.

The BBC’s Jonathan Head says the main road from the airport to the city is clogged with refugees and debris, with residents becoming angry at the lack of progress and increasing breakdown in security.

Bodies remain uncollected, local government has been wiped out and central government, which is meant to have taken over, is almost invisible, our correspondent adds.

“We thought it was our last day”: Survivors talk to the BBC

Leyte congressman Martin Romualdez said there was a sense of “hopelessness and desperation” amongst many survivors.

“We are seeing a lot of relief goods, medicines, equipment coming in, but it’s not reaching the people affected,” he told the BBC.

“The destruction is so massive in scale and so extensive in our areas that we literally would have to rebuild from scratch,” he added. “We just imagine it, our area, as a ground zero, as if a nuclear bomb had exploded above us.”

On Tuesday the UN launched an appeal for $301m (£190m) to help survivors. It has already released $25m to meet immediate needs.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs says 11.3 million people are in need of vital goods and services, because of factors such as lack of food, healthcare and access to education and livelihoods.

Security fears

Aid agencies have warned that the security situation is worsening. There are reports of food warehouses and grocery shops being ransacked and people starting to fear for their safety.

Eight people died on Tuesday as survivors mobbed a government rice warehouse in Alangalang, Leyte, officials said.

“One wall of our warehouses collapsed and eight people were crushed and killed instantly,” Rex Estoperez, spokesman for the National Food Authority, said.

The police and soldiers were unable to stop the looters, who took more than 100,000 sacks of rice, Mr Estoperez added.

John Cordell, from disaster relief charity ShelterBox, told the BBC: “I think [the reports of attacks on food convoys] are deterring a lot of aid agencies from getting in there.”

On Tuesday, an aid convoy travelling to Tacloban was reported to have been attacked and two of the assailants shot dead by troops.

Survivors are spending a sixth day seeking food and shelter amid complaints that aid is not reaching victims

Rescue teams are struggling to reach isolated places

More than 140,000 homes have been damaged by the typhoon

Hundreds are queuing for relief goods including water and medicines

The Philippine air force has been flying transport planes in and out of Tacloban airport, carrying relief supplies and evacuating hundreds of residents.

The US is sending its aircraft carrier USS George Washington and other navy ships to help with the relief work. The carrier is expected to arrive within the next few days. The UK’s Royal Navy destroyer HMS Daring is also making its way from Singapore.

US Marine Corps Brig Gen Paul Kennedy said his troops would install equipment at Tacloban airport, enabling planes to land at night.

“You are not just going to see marines and a few planes and some helicopters,” he said. “You will see the entire Pacific Command respond to this crisis.”

Other countries have also pledged millions of dollars in assistance.

Congressman Martin Romualdez, who represents the 1st District of Leyte: “There is desperation and we are losing hope”

‘Like 2004 tsunami’

Typhoon Haiyan – named “Yolanda” by Philippine authorities – struck the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar on Friday. It was one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall.

It swept through six central Philippine islands before travelling through Vietnam and southern China.

Several people in both countries were killed, according to state media reports

In the UK, the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) group of 14 charities launched its own appeal to help the typhoon victims on Tuesday.

DEC chairman Salah Saeed compared the destruction in the city of Tacloban to that seen after the devastating tsunami of 2004.

“There is currently no food, water or electricity. We can only imagine how much worse the situation will be for families living in towns and remote villages,” he said.

For more on this story go to:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24920250

HOW TO HELP LOCALLY

The Cayman Islands Red Cross has launched an appeal for donations to the relief effort on Wednesday (13). They say will use its network of contacts to try and find missing family members for Filipinos living here in the Cayman Islands

“We are able to send messages from family members in the Cayman Islands who are looking for their loved ones in the Philippines to our partner Red Cross organizations working in the disaster areas to restore family links,” said disaster manager Danielle Coleman to the Caymanian Compass (http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2013/11/14/Red-Cross-can-help-locate-typhoon-survivors/)

“We urge anyone who has not been able to locate or get any news on someone who may have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan to get in touch with our office.”

Both the Red Cross and the Cayman Islands Philippines consulate have set up accounts for people to make donations to the disaster relief effort.

The Red Cross is urging those who wish to help to contribute cash rather than supplies in order to avoid complicating a multi-national relief effort, which authorities in the Philippines have already described as the “biggest logistical challenge” the country has ever faced.

“We would like to thank the public, who as always have been coming forward to find ways that they can help the victims of this horrific disaster,” stated Jondo Obi, director of the Red Cross in the Cayman Islands. “We will be concentrating our efforts on raising funds as this will allow those on the ground to be able to respond more effectively and efficiently to the changing needs of the affected population.”

Carolina Ferreira, deputy director, said cash donations were far more effective and efficient that collection drives for supplies.

She said there was an added layer of cost and manpower associated with transportation of supplies that would be better diverted elsewhere.

She said: “People’s hearts are in the right place, but if we look back at our experience following Hurricane Ivan we received a lot of donations that were unsuitable for our population and the time that was spent claiming, transporting, sorting and essentially tossing unsuitable donations would have been better spent else assisting the most vulnerable.

“We’ve been through it. We know what it’s like, so it’s important for to us to do our part and not cause any unnecessary stress for those who are burdened by this catastrophe.

Arturo Ursua, honorary consul for the Philippines in Cayman, agreed, urging people to donate cash to the relief effort.

He said: “At the present time, I believe that donating in cash is the most practical and expedient way to send to the affected areas.”

He said money donated through a specially established account would go to the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte with jurisdiction over Tacloban City and 53 other parishes, as well as the Diocese of Borongan in Samar with jurisdiction over 31 parishes.

Concert for a Cause: Repeat Performance 

The Believers Talent Expo 2013, which recently held a “Great is His Faithfulness” concert, is sponsoring a repeat performance for the benefit of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

The concert will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 23 at the Harquail Theater. It will feature local artists, the Filipino Church from Jesus the Anointed One Church, Filipino Band and performers from various churches, as well as local Christian artists.

“… A time like these should unite people here in the Cayman Islands to put together something as a relief aid for the people of the Philippines,” said Pastor Bong Edgar Abat. “It might not be big, but at least the love shared together will mean a lot.

“This kind of concert will not only encourage people to help, but will bring comfort to each of us that after the storm there will always be a hope, and a good future ahead of us is waiting.”

Tickets for the concert are $10. Donation tickets in the amounts of $10, $15, $25 and $50 are now available at various stores. During the concert, there will be an ongoing fundraising effort and phone-in monetary donation campaign.

Monetary donations can be deposited to Cayman National Bank account number KYD (CI) account – #012 36872 or USD account – # 022 23228 with designation: HAIYAN VICTIM.

For more information, please call Pastor Bong on 925-8404, Azel Padua on 925-7009, or Lita Ebanks on 926-3651.

For help locating loved ones, contact [email protected]

To donate:

Use the Philippines consul Butterfield Bank relief account, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), KYD Account 136 147 992 0035, USD Account 840 147 992 0047 or the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan account at Butterfield Bank, KYD Account 1360350540027, USD Account 840350540039.

For more information on how to donate through the Red Cross, call 949-6785 or email [email protected]

 

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