Yolanda survivors in desperate need of aid

By Henni Espinosa

Nov. 12, 2013

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines –

Tacloban City used to be a city of 220,000 people. Now, following that record breaking Typhoon Yolanda, Tacloban officials have no idea how many remain.

Initial reports say at least 10,000 are feared dead but officials have accounted more than two thousand victims; two of them Americans.

For those who lived, survival is tough. For many of the displaced, their only home is in the streets. In areas devastated by Yolanda, more than two million people not only need shelter, but food, water and medicine, as well.

Nearly 300,000 of them are pregnant women or new mothers. Aid organizations and nations around the world are racing to help.

While continued rain and transportation problems have frustrated efforts to deliver aid to those who need it most, some cargo flights carrying much needed help have managed to land and deliver help to the hungry and sick people.

The United Nations Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos is in Tacloban to assess the need for emergency provisions.

“Things are beginning to move now,” Amos said. “We still have people who are hungry, who haven’t had water. I’m very pleased that a field hospital has been set up. We now have more C-130 aircraft; we need more of those. We need more helicopters but we need things like waste management so that bodies on the side of the road can be moved.”

The Philippines armed forces added 700 troops to its force in Tacloban on tuesday — bringing the total to 1,000. That includes 300 Special Forces troops and military engineers.

The army will fly aid to survivors in remote areas around the city with 11 helicopters and as many trucks.

President Benigno Aquino III defended relief efforts, saying it’s been challenging with blocked roads and downed power and communication lines. He says local governments are overwhelmed, and no one imagined the magnitude this super typhoon brought on us.

In San Francisco, members of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California are partnering with West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center to gather and ship donations of canned goods, baby food, medicine and other non-perishable items to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda back in the Philippines.

They say help has to come and it has to come fast.

“It’s so important for us to mobilize and to take time off of work because there’s more to life than just work,” Abigail Rivamonte said. “There are victims here that really need our help and really need our support.”

“The world is affected by this,” David Mesa said. “What we have to do is figure out what small things we can do. We want to fill the entire center from top to bottom with goods.”

“The most important thing we can possible do is to make sure that we organize as many people in our community to try and provide either food or other services or money to help all of our kababayans,” Robert Uy said.

You can contact Henni Espinosa at henna_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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  • JD
    14 November 2013 at 7:40 am - Reply

    Aquino, what’s going on look at your people, they need food, meds ? Why you should fly in every hour all the needs of the people ? Look how sad they look. Look at the kids ! They all need help.