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So much relief aid but too few reaching ‘Yolanda’-devastated areas

/ 09:38 AM November 14, 2013

Philippine soldiers pick up boxes of relief supplies near a C-130 military plane in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. Authorities said at least 9.7 million people in 41 provinces were affected by the typhoon, known as Haiyan elsewhere in Asia but called Yolanda in the Philippines. It was likely the deadliest natural disaster to beset this poor Southeast Asian nation. AP

CEBU CITY—Relief goods for the victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” which battered central Philippines on Nov. 8, poured into this transshipment hub like a deluge, but they came in trickles in Leyte and Samar provinces where they’re badly needed.

Lt. Jim Alagao, spokesman of the Armed Forces Central Command, admitted that there were still areas that have not received relief goods due to logistic problem.

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“We are establishing a hub in Guiuan [Eastern Samar] and Tacloban [Leyte]. Once we establish this it will move up to the remotest of islands,” he said.

“We have enough goods as you can see,” he said of the relief goods coming from local and foreign governments and organizations.

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The Mactan Air Base in Cebu has been one of the drop-off points for relief goods and go-to places of volunteer responders. The other is Villamor Air Base in Manila.

Two C-130 cargo planes are working from early dawn to late afternoon to deliver the relief supplies and ferry victims who needs to be evacuated. It can’t land at night because of power outage in Tacloban.

Thousands wait at Tacloban airport hoping to fly via the C-130 plane. “But we can only carry up to 150 persons (per flight),” Alagao said, adding that relief goods take a lot of space in the cargo plane.

“We suggest that they also avail of the forthcoming Navy vessels that can accommodate a thousand passengers,” he said.

Those having urgent medical needs, children and elderly are usually given priority in the C-130 flights.

Tacloban City in Leyte and Guiuan town on Samar island are only two of the areas almost totally devastated by Yolanda. The government is criticized for not giving enough help to other areas that were equally hard-hit.

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TAGS: Philippines, relief efforts, Supertyphoon Yolanda, Weather
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