Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Philippines typhoon aid begins transition to long-term recovery

Steve Herman at Voice of America: Thirteen million people affected. Four million of them displaced, with one million homes destroyed. Two-and-a-half million individuals in need of food aid. And about 7,000 people confirmed dead or missing. That is the toll from the typhoon that hit the central Philippines November 8. The government and international agencies are activating the recovery and reconstruction process.

This time-lapse sequence of Tacloban’s airport shows aid arriving and departing from the destroyed city, which is a major hub for delivering food, water and other supplies to more isolated communities. It took days to get aid moving at this pace. Philippine and international agencies predict the emergency tempo will need to continue for 18 months.

Many people may have had the impression “the government was not doing anything” for the first few days, acknowledged presidential spokesman Edward Lacierda. “We are an archipelago. We had to make sure that everything was done in the proper way, not to mention the fact that really this storm surge the effect on Tacloban was quite huge and devastating.”

There are concerns that the Philippines' notorious corruption could skim off resources and hamper the long-term recovery. But President Beningo Aquino has made fighting graft a focus of his administration and hopes to reassure donors with top-level oversight. Just three government agencies will handle all of the donated funds, and high-ranking officials will track spending and publish accounting reports online....

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft sits parked at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Nov. 15, 2013, before departing to support Operation Damayan in Tacloban, Philippines

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