[IN THE AFTERMATH OF YOLANDA,  TO THE SURVIVORS, HELPLESS AND SUFFERING:
Do not be afraid for God is always in charge. Faith is stronger than fear.
God is helping you carry your heavy cross"
AT PHNO WE ARE THINKING AND PRAYING FOR YOU ALL EVERYDAY]

FACEBOOK POST OF DSWD VOLUNTEER GONE VIRAL: RE-LABELING, REPACKING  DONATIONS READY FOR DISTRIBUTION IN CEBU OFFICE

 In an interview over radio dzMM, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman denied the allegation but assured that an investigation is underway. The DSWD Field Office VII in Cebu, has also explained that donated repacked goods are often checked for damaged and expired goods, according to Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III.

ALSO: THE DARKEST HOUR IS OVER IN TACLOBAN

 On the ground, there were further signs that battered communities were beginning to shift from survival mode to one of early recovery: markets were beginning to reopen, though with very limited wares, some gasoline stations were pumping and residents were repairing damaged homes or making temporary shelters out of the remains of their old ones.

ALSO: AIRLIFT EXTEBDS LIFELINE TO REMOTE YOLANDA SURVIVORS

On the tiny island of Homonhon, which suffered a direct hit from super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), residents of what was left of their shattered village waited patiently as US troops unloaded water supplies from a helicopter that flew in off the USS George Washington aircraft carrier.


FACEBOOK POST OF DSWD VOLUNTEER GONE VIRAL


A screenshot of the translated complaint of a relief volunteer in Cebu regarding the repacking process of the DSWD on donated goods.

MANILA, NOVEMBER 19, 2013 (PHILSTAR) A Facebook user who claims to be a relief volunteer alleged that a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office in Cebu repacked donations that are ready to be distributed to the victims of Super Typhoon "Yolanda."

Cherrey Mae Bartolata, a volunteer stationed in Mactan Air Base, wrote in her Facebook account that donations from Indonesia were allegedly repacked and relabeled with "DSWD" and "NFA" (National Food Authority).

Bartolata said the alleged process is slowing down the distribution of relief goods, which have been pre-packed.

"Bakit sige pa ng repack at pamumukas sa mga nakapack at niready na kaagad (in times of emergency) ng ibang bansa?

" Bartolata was quoted as saying in her translated Facebook post, which was originally written in Cebuano.

"I am frustrated. I am angry. I feel hopeless," she said.

Bartolata's Facebook post has gone viral, earning over 8,000 shares and 4,000 likes in two days.

A Filipino translation of her post, which was posted on the Facebook page of the Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards, has also gained nearly 37,000 shares and over 10,000 likes.

In an interview over radio dzMM, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman denied the allegation but assured that an investigation is underway.

"[H]indi ko ho alam saan nanggagaling yung, balita ko ho diyan ay ‘yung sa Facebook, nagsasabi na Indonesian goods yung nire-repack. Hindi ho namin ginagawa yun dahil, una, wala ho kaming oras para gawin yan. Pangalawa, yung nire-repack namin from abroad ay yung mga nakalagay pa sa kahon at sako," Soliman said.

The DSWD Field Office VII in Cebu, has also explained that donated repacked goods are often checked for damaged and expired goods, according to Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III.

Quezon explained in his Facebook account that this is done to ensure that no expired and leaking canned goods end up distributed.

"DSWD staff asked the volunteers to check all the packs and remove any expired/damaged/breakable goods," Quezon said. "For example, if the donated relief contains ketchup bottles, volunteers would be asked to remove this so that it will not be difficult to handle and transport."

Citing Soliman, Quezon also explained that the agency also repacks goods that are in bulky packages.

He said for instance, the energy bars and meal replacement paste from the United States Agency for International Development are taken out of their boxes and are placed in food pack plastic bags.

And when these are repacked, they are combined with other food items, Manolo said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

The darkest hour is over by Teresa Cerojano (Associated Press) | Updated November 18, 2013 - 3:39pm


http://globalnation.inquirer.net/files/2013/11/Yolanda-victims.jpg
A man uses a shovel to clean up mud inside St. Joseph Parish church, which was badly damaged by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in Tacloban, Philippines. AP/Dita Alangkara

TACLOBAN, Philippines — On the ground, there were further signs that battered communities were beginning to shift from survival mode to one of early recovery: markets were beginning to reopen, though with very limited wares, some gasoline stations were pumping and residents were repairing damaged homes or making temporary shelters out of the remains of their old ones.

"The darkest night is over but it's not yet 100 percent," regional military commander Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda said.

The Nov. 8 typhoon killed or left missing more than 5,000 people and left 4 million displaced, requiring food, shelter and water.

The first week of the response was inevitable chaotic because airports into the region were damaged and local governance structures shattered.

At the main airport in Tacloban, a pay loader was shifting pallets of water and sacks of rice to trucks. On the main road, teams were shifting debris into trucks.

Military and civilian teams from around the world have arrived to bolster an immediate response by local people and national authorities.

The U.S. government and military have been at the forefront in helping one of its Asian allies.

Washington's aid arm announced a further $10 million, bringing to $37 million the amount it is committed to spending.

"This will enable us to continue to move ahead with our help on things like the water system, on the logistics," said USAID assistant administrator Nancy Lindborg. "We have a steady drumbeat of supplies coming in and being distributed."

On Sunday, President Benigno Aquino III toured the disaster area and promised to step aid deliveries.

Aquino, seen as reformist president who had enjoyed considerable public support, has had to deal with a string of crises over the last year.

His administration has been criticized by some over its apparent failure to strictly enforce evacuation orders.

Airlift extends lifeline to remote ‘Yolanda’ survivors Agence France-Presse 12:54 pm | Monday, November 18th, 2013


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2013/11/yolanda-truck-tacloban-relief.jpg
Philippine Army soldiers load water and relief goods at a military truck for distribution to Super typhoon Yolanda victims at the Tacloban Airport. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

HOMONHON – Helicopters dropped emergency supplies to desperate villagers as a growing global relief effort following the Philippines typhoon pushed beyond devastated towns and cities Monday towards remote island and mountain communities.

On the tiny island of Homonhon, which suffered a direct hit from super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), residents of what was left of their shattered village waited patiently as US troops unloaded water supplies from a helicopter that flew in off the USS George Washington aircraft carrier.

The approach to the village offered an aerial view of the destruction visited on the island, where thick coconut groves had been torn up and flattened.

The helicopter stayed just 10 minutes before flying off with promises to return with rice supplies.

The USS George Washington has galvanized the huge international relief effort in the central Philippines, since its arrival in the region on Thursday.

Its main task has been airlifting large-volume supplies to inland airstrips and then ferrying them piecemeal by helicopter to more remote areas.

In many villages, there is no space to land, and the helicopters are forced to hover low and drop the cartons to residents straining to remain standing against the downdraft from the rotor blades.

Television footage has shown residents of one isolated settlement jostling each other as supplies were pushed from the chopper, setting off a frenzied scramble as villagers tore apart the packing and scurried away with the contents.

Ten days after the super storm hit the central islands of Leyte and Samar with some of the strongest winds ever recorded, aid agencies and humanitarian groups have firmly established operational posts in the flattened region’s largest city Tacloban.

There is still no regular power in Tacloban, where the typhoon triggered a powerful, tsunami-like storm surge that left thousands dead and tens of thousands homeless.

But aid distribution centers have been set up, ensuring a steady flow of food and water supplies to still-traumatized residents, while mobile surgical units are providing emergency care for the sick and injured.

Some petrol stations are open and enterprising individuals were selling fuel in Coke bottles by the side of the roads that have been largely cleared of debris, as cars and motorbikes made a tentative return to the streets.

Fresh fruit is available for a price, with makeshift stalls selling satsumas, apples and bananas.

But the overall situation remains critical, with the United Nations estimating that up to four million people have been displaced, of which only 350,000 have found shelter in evacuation centres.

The official death toll stands at 3,976 with 1,598 people missing.

The UN said an estimated 2.5 million people are in need of food assistance, and that priority should be given to ensuring supplies of rice seed for the crucial December-January planting season.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had started distributing aid to residents of Guiuan, Mercedes and Salcedo — shoreline communities in southeastern Samar that were laid to waste by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

“This is only the start,” said Pascal Mauchle, head of the ICRC delegation in the Philippines. “Our next plan is to reach people in Homonhon and Suluan – small isolated islands near Guiuan – by boat.”

President Benigno Aquino, who has come in for some criticism over the speed of the initial response to the disaster, toured the worst-hit areas on Sunday and said he would stay in the region to oversee the relief operation.

Stressing the logistical challenge of accessing so many badly affected people spread out over such an enormous area, Aquino appealed for “patience” and vowed to accelerate the distribution where possible.

Emy Esperas Edanol, a 44-year-old fruit seller, welcomed the president’s decision to make his temporary base in the area.
“I hope that his presence here will speed up the relief,” Edanol said, as she made her way to Tacloban city hall to ask for a death certificate for her father, who was killed in the storm surge.

Although the situation in Tacloban has markedly improved in the past three days, daily life is still a grinding struggle among the grim ruins of the once thriving coastal city.

An AFP journalist saw one man salvaging wood to rebuild his shack as three bloated bodies – two of them children – lay nearby.

“Please can you tell the authorities to come and pick these up?” he begged.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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