Aid is starting to get to some of the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, but the sad news from the Philippines on Friday is that for many of the storm’s victims things still aren’t much better after a week without adequate food, water or shelter.
On Morning Edition, NPR’s Jason Beaubien reported from a long line of people in the city of Tacloban. They were waiting patiently in the hope that Philippine Navy personnel would be handing out food. By mid-day Friday, Jason said, “it was clear the assistance wasn’t coming.”
“We have nothing to eat, and that’s why we came here,” 16-year-old Harvey Albino said. “And nothing. Nothing happened.”
So we have to report that our headline from Thursday — “One Week After Typhoon, ‘The Mood Here Is Very Desperate’ ” — appears to still ring true today.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press writes that the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council says the number of confirmed deaths from Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) has risen to 3,621.
It’s likely the official figure will be rising in coming hours or days, officials have warned.
As for the aid, the BBC says:
“Helicopters from a U.S. aircraft carrier have been transporting supplies to the devastated town of Guiuan on the Pacific coast — the first to take the full force of the typhoon.
“The carrier, USS George Washington, is expanding search-and-rescue operations and providing a platform for helicopters to move supplies.
“Pallets loaded with food and water have been taken from the aircraft carrier to Tacloban, the capital of badly hit Leyte province, and Guiuan.”
The Philippine government, meanwhile, “is defending its efforts to deliver assistance,” Voice of America reports. “Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said on Friday that in a situation such as this, no matter how fast aid is delivered it is still not fast enough. Speaking in the devastated city of Tacloban, he said that the need is massive and immediate, and not everyone can be reached.”
“The flow of relief supplies has been hampered by wrecked roadways and a lack of gasoline in and near the city. Officials say the fuel shortages have been made worse by retail merchants who are afraid to sell their gasoline supplies for fear of rioting by an increasingly desperate population.”