Following the most horrific typhoon to ever hit land anywhere, last Friday, November 8th, almost two million people of the Phillipine Islands, were either killed, hurt, or left homeless, without food or clothes. The hardest hit was Tacloban City, Leyte province in the central Phillipines. The death toll remains unknown, because of the destruction and devastation thoughout the country. President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity. Local military have been assisting citizens as best they can, passing out water and also trying to control looting.
The people of the Phillipines are homeless, starving, and sick. Twenty-one countries have pledged to send relief through food and sanitation products, as well as medical assistance, and money. People are camping in the Tacloban City Astrodome, which brings back memories of the people of New Orleans, staying in the Superdome when Hurricane Katrina hit. With thousands of people jammed inside the structure, one can only imagine the lack of sanitation. Disease will take its toll on those who remain homeless.
In Tacloban, a hillside mass burial was held Thursday, November 14th. Bodies still remain in the streets. Only few survivors have received water and food, due to the delay in reaching them. Aid material is plentiful but because the airport was heavily damaged , planes couldn’t land, in addition, destroyed and blocked roads had to be cleared. Desperately needed aid has begun to reach some of the one-half million people that have been displaced by the disaster. The U.S.S. George Washington aircraft carrier arrived on the Phillipine Sea near the Gulf of Leyte Thursday. They will set up a position to assess damage and furnish needed food, water, and supplies. Twenty-one helicopters aboard the carrier will be able to view and hopefully get to inaccessible places. Six more U.S. ships are in the area, as well as the Marines.
Over 4,000 persons have been confirmed dead, but those numbers are expected to far surpass the total. It is going to take a long time to completely assess the damage and complete loss. Medical aid and supplies are needed urgently. Rescue workers and medical personnel will need personal protection, such as medical grade gloves, respirators, and other important gear to avoid disease.
Worldwide charities will be gathering money, donations of food and clothing, and other items that can assist the typhoon victims. Most of them have only the clothes they were wearing last Friday. If you are able to help, please choose the charity you know will be dedicated to sending relief for the people of the Phillipines as soon as possible.