As Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines brings a global response, Filipinos arrived – after typhoon Haiyan destroyed their homes – at Mactar Air Base November 12th in hopes of receiving aid from the C-130 transport plane that would bring them needed items. Typhoon Haiyan hit hardest upon the city of Tacloban in the Philippines. The global response to these people has been immediate in coming to their aid with relief. The assessment continues with food and water the priority, along with medical and living quarters and the search for family and loved ones. The relief effort has begun to help the victims of this deadly storm.
Telephone poles are down, houses are leveled, bodies are strewn about in plain view. The storm hit four days ago and accessibility has been limited. The local municipalities are running out of their own stock of supplies, so now the people of the Philippines are relying upon foreign aid and supplies.
The need for clean drinking water is a priority. Jorge Zurdo of the Red Cross is setting up mobile water treatment facilities, which can use dirty water, rainwater, well water, rivers and streams to make available drinking water. His team had to wait to set this up due to the chaos. He can supply 15,000 people with drinking water. The Welfare office estimates four million people may be in need of food, so 50,000 emergency food packs is not nearly enough. They don’t know how many are affected as yet.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced humanitarian aid would be immediate in the amount of $20 million from the US. The US Development Agency will help evaluate damage. The United States military is also assisting. Secretary Hagel has ordered the Navy ship USS George Washington to deploy to the area. Other countries are also contributing in this global response. This effort is supported by at least 20 countries with Australia offering $9.4 million, Britain giving $16 million, $10 million from the United Arab Emirates and Japan sending medical staff. Additional funding will be provided from the United Nations emergency fund.
Those who survived have said tsunami size waves flooded the streets in minutes. Waves were reportedly twelve feet high. The Philippines infrastructure is something out of the past despite recent efforts to modernize. Hundreds of thousands did evacuate prior to typhoon Haiyan, but those in the way of the storm were not so lucky.
Meteorologists say climate change does impact the severity of storms. Scientists agree. Increased temperatures bring more rain, and the winds drive this rain bringing more water to the area.
The president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, told law enforcement to do what is necessary to prevent looting and maintain order. He is especially vigilante on maintaining order when supplies arrive. Soldiers shot and killed two members of a militant group, New Peoples Army, after they took control of a convoy bringing aid to the Philippines. The ravages of the storm are not the only devastation which occurs. This is why authorities send in police and military for control and protection. Women and children need food and especially estimated at 300,000 pregnant or new mothers.
The power outages will last an estimated six months and the total preliminary storm damage cost will be $14 billion. As reports come in, more detailed numbers will be reported. Typhoon Haiyan continued on and landed in Vietnam, but had died down by Monday. Mid morning Tuesday the death total estimate from the typhoon dropped to 2500, not the 10,000 first reported. Families lined up at the airport as evacuation efforts continue, while another storm, Zoraida arrived, dumping almost four inches. Zoraida is slowing the global response to assist the Filipinos.
Written by Kim Troike