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Aid Slowly Reaches Typhoon Devasted Philippines


Christy Blevins

Aid slowly reaches Typhoon devastated Philippines


Over the weekend, devastation was scattered throughout the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the land. The typhoon was described as being one of the most powerful and devastating typhoons to hit land. The Philippines suffered thousands of deaths and thousands more were left homeless.

According to a recent count, the death toll has been reported as close to 3,000 dead, but the number is expected to rise as aid reaches the inner cities and clean up gets underway. The typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban received its first aid response on Thursday since Haiyan struck on Friday, almost a week ago.

Six days after the typhoon, workers in Tacloban buried 100 people out of the thousand dead in a mass burial. Even still, bodies lay lined up in body bags along the streets awaiting burial. Aid is slowly reaching the Philippines, but it may not be enough or arrive fast enough as health concerns spread throughout the displaced survivors. However, countries from all over are slowly sending relief.

The U.S.S.  George Washington aircraft carrier arrived in the Philippines on Thursday at the Gulf of Leyte, and is setting up a relief team just off the Coast of Samar Island. Many of the people whom this relief is being brought to have been without food and clean water for nearly six days. The aircraft carrier is part of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet and was followed by seven more ships making up the George Washington Strike Group. The crew is of about 5,500 and they brought 21 helicopters to the site and plan on using these to reach the most inaccessible areas as soon as possible.

A statement released from the 7th Fleet described that they are setting up to “assess the damage” and “provide medical attention and water supplies.”

Soldiers from other relief groups have been giving out rice and water to survivors, along with administering debris-clearing teams to clear roads and make way for relief trucks.  So far the U.S. has pledged $20 million in relief funds which will be provided as emergency shelters, food, water, medical attention, and other supplies. Dozens of other countries have given millions in aid also. The United Nations estimates a total of near $301 million being offered from all countries giving aid.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised on Thursday to send a thousand troops along with aid supplies. This is Japan’s largest relief dispatch in their history. Britain is sending an aircraft carrier to the region and others are joining the cause. China, one of the closest nations in location to the Philippines, has pledged $2 million in cash for relief materials. And according to the Associated Press, Swedish powerhouse Ikea, a furniture chain, has pledged $2.7 million.

Thousands of individuals are also stepping up to the plate and volunteering with organizations, such as The American Red Cross, to raise funds. Roanoke College is pledging to help as a campus to do our small part and is pledging 100% of the photo booth sales from President’s Ball to the Lutheran World Relief Philippines Typhoon Fund.