Numerous governments around the world including the United States are mounting a major relief effort to aide victims of the massive typhoon that struck the Philippines. The typhoon is believed to have killed around 10,000 people with millions more being affected by the devastation the storm caused. President Obama said Sunday that the US is already providing significant humanitarian assistance and that the country is prepared to further help with relief and recovery efforts.
The Super Typhoon called Haiyan unleashed historic flooding that flattened entire buildings and caused widespread devastation across the six central Philippine islands. The massive storm is one of the strongest tropical storms every recorded and is the 5th super-typhoon of the 2013 Pacific typhoon season. Haiyan first made landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar on November 7th with sustained wind speeds between 150 and 200 miles per hour. Among the worst-hit places Haiyan struck was Tacloban City which is located in Leyte province in central Philippines.
On Monday, Tacloban City was put under a state of calamity due to incidents of looting. The government also put a curfew in effect from 10pm to 6am. Witnesses on the ground there describe the situation as anarchic amid horrid scenes of crumbled homes and businesses. The United Nations said this weekend that it is stepping up relief operations in an effort to curtail the number of causalities. Access is a key challenge as some areas are still completely cut off from relief operations. There is an unknown number of survivors who don’t have the basics like food, water and medicine and which remain in inaccessible areas for relief operations as roadways, bridges and airports were decimated or covered in debris.
IN Tacloban and other hard-hit areas, there is no electricity, food or water. Entire homes and buildings are flattened and bodies can be seen floating in the water and scattered about on streets. Hospitals simply cannot keep up with the non-stop arrival of storm victims as they grapple with an overflow of patients and medical supplies which are quickly becoming scarce.
People in the United States as well as those living elsewhere around the world wishing to help have several options available. Among the major organizations mobilizing and deploying disaster relief efforts include the World Food Programme, the Red Cross, AmeriCare, Unicef, Salvation Army and World Vision.
As the Philippines is reeling in the aftermath of the most powerful cyclone in three decades, the storm plowed into northeast Vietnam Monday morning, packing powerful winds and forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate.