[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]

EXODUS TO MANILA CONTINUES  / VISAYAS ON THE ROAD TO NORMALCY - ARMY EXEC

"The darkest hours are over," said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the military's Central Command based in Cebu City in central Philippines.

ALSO: WE ARE ALL FILIPINOS

In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn chipped in his personal $1,000 check on Friday to the donation drive for the survivors of Yolanda, saying, “We are all Filipinos!” As of 3 p.m. Sunday, the following countries and organizations have given donations: Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Germany,Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vatican, Vietnam,United Nations Children’s Fund and United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

EXODUS TO MANILA CONTINUES -PHILSTAR NOVEMBER 19, 2013

MANILA, NOVEMBER 19, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Perseus Echeminad - Survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda, mostly children and sick elderly, continued to flock to Manila yesterday to escape hunger in disaster-stricken areas in Leyte.

Amid suggestions that the government discourage the exodus from the province, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said there is nothing they could do to stop distraught and traumatized typhoon survivors from leaving for Metro Manila and other cities.

Renald Castillo and his 70-year-old grandmother were among the passengers of a US Air Force C-130 plane that arrived at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City at 4 a.m.

Castillo, a call center agent, traveled by land from Manila to pick up his sick grandmother in Dulag, Leyte over the weekend.

“My grandmother is sick. She is diabetic so we want to spare her from further suffering,” he said.

He said only two family members were allowed on the plane, and he was lucky that he was allowed to accompany his grandmother.

Zenaida Aves, on the other hand, arrived in Pasay City with her child and 66-year-old mother. She said their house in Tacloban City was “taken away by the sea” at the height of Yolanda.

“We survived by taking shelter at a nearby school building,” she said.

She said they received relief goods from the government only yesterday, or 10 days after Yolanda devastated Tacloban City on Nov. 8.

Roger Tabag, a tricycle driver from Ormoc City, and his son were among the survivors of the monster typhoon.

He said he would leave his son with his wife in Cainta, Rizal and would return to Ormoc to rebuild their home.

The survivors were processed by social workers, while the sick were given medicine by volunteer doctors upon their arrival at Villamor Airbase.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development said more than 3,000 evacuees have arrived from Tacloban.

The arriving evacuees were given clothes, haircuts and free calls to their relatives.

Typhoon orphans

Nica Cabutin has been learning to live as an orphan after her mother, father and three siblings were swept away by a tsunami-like wave that engulfed Tacloban.

She was found clutching wreckage after one of the most powerful storms ever recorded whipped up a huge surge that brought the ocean ashore, leaving the city in ruins and thousands of people dead.

Nica’s house and entire family were swept away by the sea, said Carmela Bastes, director of the Shelter for Abused Women and Children, a refuge for rape victims and those afflicted by violence, where the orphan now lives.

The young girl is shy about her lopsided hair, which was cut short so the two large gashes on the side of her head could be treated.

“She tells us she’s in first grade and we estimate she’s eight,” said Bastes, whose staff tracked the girl’s family to what had been the Alimasag neighborhood of the devastated city.

Survivors there told officials that nothing has been seen of her parents or siblings since Yolanda struck on Nov. 8.

They are presumed to be five of the more than 4,400 people the United Nations says have died, while Philippine authorities put the toll at just under 4,000.

Nica was one of the first children from Tacloban to be placed in government care after losing parents to the typhoon, said Liliosa Baltazar, director of the city’s social welfare department. But, she adds, she is not expected to be the last.

“We can’t say at this point how many there will be. We expect the local officials of the (Tacloban) districts will turn over orphaned children to us. Right now they are attending to the needs of their own families.“

3 M children affected

April Sumaylo from Save the Children in the Philippines says the charity believes around three million children have been affected in some way by the typhoon.

“We have talked to children who have lost their parents,” she said.

“We have seen some children who said they are the ones scavenging for food and water. It’s obviously distressing for them.”

Nica lives on the ground floor of the women’s shelter. Its roof was blown off in the storm and, as is the case in much of Tacloban, there is no power or water.

Under normal circumstances, she might have been placed in one of the city’s two orphanages, one run by Catholic nuns and the other by non-governmental group SOS.

But they too were badly damaged by the storm surges and ferocious winds that tore through the Philippines’ central islands.

When Nica first arrived at the shelter she would cry all the time, said Bastes, but now she is more used to being there and plays with the other children.

Despite all she has gone through, Nica is bearing up well, said Bastes, perhaps too young to understand the magnitude of the horror that has befallen her.

“We do not know if this will remain the case,” she added.

Visayas on the road to normalcy: army official(philstar.com) | Updated November 18, 2013 - 10:00pm 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - Following the relief and rehabilitation effort launched by the Philippine government and international organizations, a military official said today that life in areas devastated by typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) may soon go back to normal.

"The darkest hours are over," said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the military's Central Command based in Cebu City in central Philippines.

Deveraturda said he believes that relief operations have already reached all the victims even in remote areas.

He said roads and bridges are already cleared of debris and are already passable, airports and seaports are operational, and that military and police forces have been able to restore law and order.

Deveraturda said public markets, hardware stores, gasoline stations, and food stands are already open. Water service in some affected areas are back along with mobile phone services.

He said the Department of Trade and Industry will deploy rolling stores today while banks will soon provide mobile Automated Teller Machines in areas devastated by the typhoon.

"The opening of (business) establishments will help set us on the path to normalcy. We cannot say (the situation) is already normal but the road to normalcy should be paved by these actions," he said.

Deveraturda said at least 5,000 soldiers are directly involved in the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts in central Philippines.

Considered the strongest typhoon to make landfall this year, typhoon Haiyan struck central Philippines on Nov. 8, killing close to 4,000 people and damaging billions of pesos worth of infrastructure and crops.

We are all Filipinos’ By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 19, 2013 - 12:00am 1 3 googleplus0 0


A German Red Cross employee loads donations at the Schoenefeld Airport in Berlin. AP

MANILA, Philippines - The suffering in typhoon-devastated areas has been eased by an outpouring of assistance and support from the international community.

As of 3 p.m. Sunday, the following countries and organizations have given donations: Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Germany,Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vatican, Vietnam,United Nations Children’s Fund and United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn chipped in his personal $1,000 check on Friday to the donation drive for the survivors of Yolanda, saying, “We are all Filipinos!”

Quinn handed the check to Thelma Bascos, president of the Filipino-American Council of Greater Chicago.

The United States and Germany increased their assistance for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda yesterday as Japan decided to dispatch its second disaster relief medical team to the Philippines.

The US government is providing an additional $10 million (P430 million) in humanitarian aid for those affected by the typhoon, bringing to $37 million (P1.59 billion) the total US humanitarian aid to provinces in the Visayas devastated by the calamity.

Visiting United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s assistant administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg said this new contribution will help restore clean water in and around Tacloban and will provide additional support for the massive logistics operation dispatching and distributing relief supplies to those in need.

In support of the Philippine government’s relief efforts, the US is providing airlift and logistics capacity, food aid, shelter materials, clean water, and hygiene education and supplies to help the estimated nine million people across 44 provinces affected by Yolanda.

Germany also announced yesterday its additional aid for Yolanda victims.

The German government gave 6.5 million euros (P380 million) while private donors gave 12.9 million euros (P754 million).

The alliance of German organizations engaged in disaster assistance (Aktionsbuendnis Katastrophenhilfe) said it has received 12.9 million euros (P754 million) in private donations for typhoon Yolanda victims.

According to the alliance composed of Caritas International, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, German Red Cross and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef)-Germany, the willingness of the German public to donate for the victims of Yolanda is remarkable.

Germany’s Relief Coalition Buendnis Aktion Deutschland Hilft, on the other hand, has over a dozen organizations currently in the affected areas conducting relief operations.

A medical team with 24 people from the International Search and Rescue Team-Germany has opened a field hospital in Palo, Leyte in cooperation with a team from Belgium.

The hospital can treat at least 100 people per day for infected wounds and broken bones. The mobile hospital can also conduct minor surgeries.

The Federal Agency for Technical Relief is setting up a water purification system in the city of Santa Fe in Bantayan, Cebu, providing drinking water for more than 30,000 people.

Meanwhile, the second Japan disaster relief medical team, which will depart for the Philippines tomorrow, will take over the duties of the first team earlier sent to help in medical relief activities in Tacloban City.

Japan has also provided $52.1 million worth of assistance to the Philippines.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, also ordered a $10 million donation to relief and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of Yolanda.

Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago said he received a call from the Minister of Finance about the donation.

In Illinois, Quinn urged the people “to donate to the Philippine Red Cross so many people would come out, the best of the best, and find a way to do so.”

He said Illinois will not only deliver food, medicine and other supplies.

With Quinn’s contribution, the total financial donations collected by a small group of six Filipino-Americans who launched the fund-raising drive now amounts to $11,000.

Humanitarian missions

The Korea Disaster Relief Team, composed of 44 medical and rescue personnel, arrived on Friday in Tacloban City to carry out humanitarian activities.

The medical team is stationed at St. Paul Hospital where 161 patients have been treated.

Two other C-130 aircraft arrived in Cebu on Saturday to help in relief efforts.

Clean water now available

Water supply has returned to normal in Tacloban and six surrounding districts after the first water treatment plant went back to full operating capacity Sunday night, the Unicef said yesterday.

Unicef said at least 200,000 people in Tacloban and neighboring areas are now receiving clean water for cooking and drinking.

The water treatment plant for Leyte earlier operated at one-fifth of its normal capacity, leaving survivors of the storm vulnerable to disease and sickness since the typhoon struck last Nov. 8.

Critical negotiations involving Unicef, the Philippine Armed Forces and USAID have resulted in an initial emergency supply of fuel from the Philippine military to run the plant for four days, with USAID pledging to maintain the supply of required fuel on an ongoing basis.

“It’s critical that we provide at least 15 liters of clean drinking water per day for each individual if we are to prevent diarrhea and other water-borne diseases,” said Unicef Philippines country representative Tomoo Hozumi. – With Rainier Allan Ronda, Joseph Lariosa


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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