Typhoon Causes Bottlenecks in Aid Delivery to Desperate Philippines' Residents

Government officials are having difficulty communicating with people in the city of Tacloban, and ports and roads are blocked

A woman holding a baby comforts a crying relative as a plane leaves the airport during evacuation operations in Tacloban, on the Philippine eastern island of Leyte on November 12, 2013

The typhoon that hit the Philippines over the weekend continues to bedevil aid workers. The devastation wrought has caused bottlenecks in the delivery of much-needed aid.

An American aircraft carrier is heading to the country to help with humanitarian relief. It couldn’t come soon enough. Water and food are running low in Tacloban, where the typhoon struck the hardest. Thousands of people are feared dead, though the Philippines’ President, Benigno Aquino, said the oft-cited toll of 10,000 people killed was inaccurate. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless.

Officials are having difficulty communicating with people in the city, and ports and roads are blocked. The government of the Philippines says the priority is to get the roads unblocked so that aid can be delivered.

Over 2 million people are in need  of food aid. 300,000 of those in need are pregnant or new mothers.

“We need help. Nothing is happening,” 81-year-old Aristone Balute told CBS News.“We haven't eaten since yesterday afternoon.” Some residents of the Philippines have had to take food and water from department stores.

Further fueling the difficulty in delivering aid is another storm, though it’s not nearly as devastating as the powerful typhoon that struck on Sunday. The new storm has dumped four inches of rain on the Philippines, and that’s also holding up aid.

Aid groups are arriving in the nation. Countries around the world are mobilizing to respond to the disaster. The United Nations wants to raise $300 million for relief in the country.  

Meanwhile, the Philippine government continues to raise the alarm on how climate change has contributed to the typhoons the country experiences. Their representative at the climate talks in Poland pledged the government’s support for efforts to combat climate change.


On-the-ground organizations you can donate money to include: Doctors Without Borders; UNICEF; Oxfam; and the International Rescue Committee.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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