NO SPOTLIGHT ON ILOILO BUT TRAGEDY AS STAGGERING / 2 CNN JOURNOS AGROUND AT TACLOBAN REPORT: 'DISORGANIZED; NO ONE IS IN CHARGE'
ALSO: CNN VIDEO OF ANDERSON REPORTING FROM TACLOBAN -THE MISERABLE SITUATION IN TACLOBAN
ALSO ANDERSON TWEETS: "The people in Tacloban have great dignity and deserve better than what they have gotten" @andersoncooper on #Typhoon. #AC360
ALSO: PHILSTAR EDITORIAL: 'DISORGANIZED'
THE NAPOCOR power barge that was detached from its moorings by storm surge and slammed into communities along the coastline of Estancia, Iloilo NESTOR P. BURGOS/INQUIRER VISAYAS
TACLOBAN CITY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. - ESTANCIA, ILOILO—Margie Molina’s mission is clear to her.
“I just want to find my husband and bring him home,” she said.
She kept praying, however, that her search would not end in the morgue of the Crisme Funeral Services where 20 bodies of those who died in the wrath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” lay unclaimed.
As Margie searched for her husband, Eliseo, she was told to check the municipal cemetery where mass graves were being dug for bodies that are starting to rot.
She heeded the advice, proceeding to the cemetery with Edgie Francisco, who is looking for his father, Eduardo.
Margie’s thoughts revolved around fear—that her husband is gone. She would not know how to care for three children —aged 8, 7 and 4—alone.
Eliseo and Eduardo are crewmen of a fishing boat, “Segundo Wheeler,” that sank off Apad Bay here at the height of Yolanda on Friday.
The boat was brought to the bay for shelter but winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour lifted it off the water and threw it around like a small toy, according to Margie, quoting survivor accounts.
Estancia, 153 kilometers northeast of Iloilo City, was among the towns in Iloilo worst hit by Yolanda.
Town officials reported the recovery of 71 bodies on Monday, or more than half of 133 fatalities in the province.
Unclaimed bodies, including at least 25 fishermen believed to be from Masbate, had been buried in a mass grave on Sunday. The fishermen died after waves from a storm surge lifted their boats, anchored in this town’s port, off the water and slammed them into the port.
“We are still picking dead bodies from the sea,” said Erol Acosta, municipal budget officer.
At the coastline, the smell of decomposing bodies mixed with the odor of diesel. A hand, unmoving, stuck out of the debris.
The storm surge broke moorings of a power barge of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) and slammed the barge against the coastline crushing several houses. Residents said bodies are still pinned under the barge.
The barge leaked a still undetermined volume of diesel coating the coastline and threatening the health of residents and marine life.
The barge has a maximum capacity of 1.2 million liters of diesel, according to James Abayon, Napocor maintenance officer.
Coast Guard personnel were trying to stop the spill with booms.
Estancia Mayor Cordero said authorities did not know where to evacuate the residents because even schools and other government buildings had been destroyed.
The town, known as “Alaska of the Philippines” because of its seafood industry and popularity as a fish trading center, has been paralyzed with electricity and communication cut off.
The first batch of relief goods started to arrive Sunday afternoon, two days after the supertyphoon struck, because roads were blocked by fallen trees and electric posts.
Only a few roads have been cleared as town officials grappled with the overwhelming destruction and the number of residents seeking help. Many villages remain inaccessible.
Residents had been dependent on two water refilling stations for potable water and food is running out.
“At least 99 percent of houses and other structures were destroyed or damaged,” said Mayor Cordero.
Several other northern towns of Iloilo have been devastated and are desperate for food, water and shelter. Most of the province is still without electricity and communication.
The delivery of relief goods has been hampered by impassable roads, with many portions of the national highway from Iloilo City littered with fallen trees.
Stretches of roads are blocked by fallen electric posts. Many residents, who lost homes and are staying on the streets, use power lines to hang clothes.
CNN journos on Tacloban ops: Disorganized, no one in charge By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated November 13, 2013 - 2:38pm 794 22K googleplus4 4
Video screenshot shows CNN journalist Anderson Cooper reporting from devastated Tacloban City on Tuesday.
CNN journalist Anderson Cooper reporting from devastated Tacloban City on Tuesday. MANILA, Philippines - American journalists Anderson Cooper and Paula Hancocks of CNN, reporting from typhoon-hit Tacloban City, expressed frustration at local authorities conducting relief and recovery operations.
In their televised reports broadcast around the world, Cooper and Hancocks called the government's relief efforts disorganized and survivors are mostly left on their own to survive.
"It is certainly not organized. It's just a drop in the ocean compared to what's needed," Hancocks, a CNN international correspondent, said.
"We're five days on, and people that are coming and talking to me saying, 'I need food, I need water, why are the dead bodies still by their side. It's incredible, they've been there for five days. People are trying to live in the rubble of their homes," she added
The powerful typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) cut through Tacloban and neighboring areas last November 8, bringing with it a massive storm surge that rose to as high as 15 feet. Dead bodies are scattered in the streets and beneath destroyed homes, commercial centers and churches. Even evacuation centers were affected by the surge of water.
Cooper, a television personality whose name has been trending on Twitter Philippines on Wednesday, observed how Philippine agencies and military are taking a long time from launching a full-scale effort on the ground.
"It's a miserable, miserable situation here. It is not getting better day by day. We're now entering the fifth day since the storm hit here in Tacloban ... You would expect maybe a feeding center that has been set up five days after the storm. We haven't seen that, certainly not in this area," Cooper said, speaking with CNN anchor Jake Tapper on The Lead newscast on Tuesday.
"It is a very desperate situation, among the most desperate I've seen in covering disasters in the last couple of years," he added.
Cooper, who has covered the world's major catastrophes, also contrasted the Philippine relief efforts with a similar disaster in Japan, swept with the destructuve Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
"Whereas in Japan, right after the tsunami there years ago, and within a day or two, you have Japanese forces going out, carving out cities into grids and going out on food, looking for people, going through the wreckage, we have not seen that here in a large scale operation," he said.
He added that it is not clear for survivors and even volunteer organizations where the center of relief operations is.
"It could be happenning in some other place, but this is the airport in Tacloban, this would be the main staging ground," Cooper said.
"As to who's in charge of the Philippine side of the whole operation, that is not really clear. I'm just surprised that on this day 5, maybe I've gotten here late, that things would be well in hand. It does not seem like that," he observed.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines, meanwhile, said that has deployed a team of military engineers and a battalion in Tacloban on Monday for humanitarian assistance.
"As of yesterday there are 300 combined military engineers and Special Forces troops conducting road clearing in Tacloban. The AFP is also allocating another 700 to augment said troops," the military said in a statement
CNN VIDEO OF ANDERSON IN TACLOBAN
EDITORIAL - Disorganized (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 14, 2013 - 12:00am 2 3 googleplus0 0
Relief goods are pouring in from all over the world and from private citizens and groups in the Philippines. Yet looting and armed robberies have become rampant in the typhoon-ravaged areas of Central Visayas, particularly in Tacloban City and neighboring areas, because relief assistance is not reaching them.
Just across the waters from Tacloban, doctors, nurses and aid volunteers have been waiting for days to bring much-needed supplies including food, water, medicine and blankets to the disaster area. In Metro Manila, piles of relief goods continued to grow yesterday as the logistics of aid delivery became a nightmare.
By many accounts, the problem has been aggravated by teams of New People’s Army rebels who roam transit routes to harass aid convoys including Red Cross teams. These are the moments when you fully agree with the law enforcement methods of officials like Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The NPA is not the only armed group that has no qualms about exploiting human misery. Lawless elements abound in the disaster area, grabbing what they can and attacking aid convoys. A week after Super Typhoon Yolanda struck, the government has still not restored order in the typhoon area sufficiently enough to ensure the safety of aid workers.
Lawmakers representing the typhoon-hit areas can make themselves useful by coordinating with their constituents to facilitate aid delivery. There are many private individuals and groups ready to help and can use guidance on the best routes to get the aid ASAP to the victims. Local politicians should be familiar enough with their turfs to know how aid delivery can be done in the best way possible given the challenging circumstances.
The continuing human suffering as the mountains of relief goods continued to grow prompted several foreign journalists to describe the relief operation as disorganized, with the situation appearing to be getting worse. The government must work quickly to correct the situation.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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