In the wake of destruction: The typhoon in the Philippines

Chris Tucker/Sun Star Reporter
Nov. 19, 2013

On Nov. 7, the super typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm to make landfall in history, touched down on the Philippines. The monster storm touched down four times within the Philippines before weakening into a tropical depression. However, the damage had already been done.

With gusts as high as 235 mph and storm surge of nearly 16 feet high, the third-world nation stood no chance.

Current estimates from the Philippines state that nearly 13 million have been affected by the storm while the death toll is at 3,633 and continues to climb.

The Filipino government  is facing intense criticism from the international community for its slow disorganized response to the disaster. This chaos can be seen from Tacloban City which was completely leveled by the storm. Within the city, many of the residents are still without shelter and aid as their situation continues to deteriorate.

“Tacloban was a dead city,” said Violeta Duzar, a survivor of the typhoon, in an interview with Reuters.

Tacloban, a city of 220,000 people, has since deteriorated into a state of anarchy as people are forced to scavenge food and look for surviving relatives amongst the debris.

The ones who have suffered the most from this ordeal have been the children with some estimates saying that out of the 13 million people displaced, 4.5 million are children. 1.5 million are under 5 and are at risk of malnutrition.

The United States and other nations are trying to administer relief aid. The United States military has delivered 623,000 pounds of food and is helping areas that are currently unreachable by vehicle.

The United Nations has appealed for the amount of $301 million for the Haiyan Action Plan to provide necessities and services to those affected by the typhoon. So far, member nations and private sectors have contributed $81 million in relief aid with more than $20 million coming from the United States.

The relief workers and the Philippines are running against the clock as more than 1,000 people are still missing. The situation has become more dire as the humid, wet environment makes the corpses become a stinking putrid mess and health hazard for the locals still trapped in the areas.

One nation that has drawn criticism for their support was China who initially pledged $100,000 in humanitarian support. China, who has been in a territorial dispute with Philippines for years, was condemned for its small pledge for aid. Their stinginess even became a joke on the Colbert Show where Colbert asked the viewers to out-raise the nation’s initial donation. They were able to do it in less than a day.

The Philippine nation, which is predominantly Roman Catholic, now turns to prayer in hopes of rebuilding, finding lost family members and surviving day to day.

Belen Curila was quoted by Agence France-Presse, a news agency, at a Sunday mass at Guiuan, “Despite what happened, we still believe in God.”

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