DISASTER RELIEF: Post Typhoon Gridlock Stalling Relief Efforts

November 14, 2013 at 12:39 am 1 comment

Racing Against Time

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Pring coordinates the loading of pallets of water with the Philippine Air Force for transport at Vilamor Air Base in Manila. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Codey Underwood)

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Pring coordinates the loading of pallets of water with the Philippine Air Force for transport at Vilamor Air Base in Manila.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Codey Underwood)

In the typhoon-ravaged Philippines there is finally a speck of good news. The country’s president says the death toll is expected to be far lower than the early estimates of at least 10,000 dead.

But the region hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan is still largely cut off from humanitarian aid and rescue workers by debris, blocked roads and a near total infrastructure collapse.

The official death toll stood at 1,833 Wednesday (November 13) morning – including nearly 1,300 in the province of Leyte. At least 244 people were killed in Tacloban City, Leyte’s provincial capital, NBC reported.

On Sunday – two days after the storm smashed into the Philippines, packing winds of 195 miles per hour – a regional police official estimated the death toll could hit 10,000. But President Benigno Aquino told CNN that the figure might go above 3,000 dead. But “ten thousand, I think, is too much, Aquino said.

Meanwhile, hungry thirsty survivors are scouring the wreckage hoping to find scraps of food and water.

Rescue operations are being hampered by the devastation, the New York Times reported, with aid supplies piling up but few ways to distribute it. The are plentiful gasoline supplies but no merchants willing to sell it. And there is no place to house the growing number of emergency volunteers, the Times reported.

The Philippine government says it is facing the biggest logistical challenge it has ever encountered. As many as 11 million people have been affected by the monster storm, the BBC reported. Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said the government had been overwhelmed by the storm’s impact, one of the most powerful storms on record.

U.S. military planes have been arriving at Tacloban’s shattered airport, delivering supplies from the World Food program, which is then transported by helicopter to hard-hit areas. The BBC said a French-Beligian field hospital has been set up in Tacloban.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said 250 sailors and Marines from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) are on the ground operating from Philippine air bases. The Marines have four KC-130 transport aircraft and four MV-22 Osprey aircraft to bring in supplies and evacuate the injured and displaced. The key supplies include water, food, shelter, hygiene products and medical supplies. Another four Ospreys were sent from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan — bringing the number of MV-22s sent as aide to Japan — as eight.

The Philippine government says it is facing its biggest ever logistical challenge after Typhoon Haiyan, which affected as many as 11 million people. Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said the government had been overwhelmed by the impact of Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record.

Civilians displaced by Typhoon Haiyan board a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Super Hercules at Tacloban Air Base, Nov. 13, before being transported to Manila.   (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Anne K. Henry)

Civilians displaced by Typhoon Haiyan board a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Super Hercules at Tacloban Air Base, Nov. 13, before being transported to Manila.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Anne K. Henry)

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Entry filed under: Aircraft, Asia-Pacific, Disaster Relief, International Relief, National Security and Defense, News Developments, Technology. Tags: , , , , , , .

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