REPORT FROM BBC: HAIYAN, A MONSTER TYPHOON ROARS ACROSS PHILIPPINES

Normally the walls of the storm that rotate around the eye are replaced as it moves, often weakening the wind speed . In the case of Haiyan this hasn't happened. Another factor has been the speed of this typhoon. Going so quickly, it hasn't stirred up the waters ahead of it. Slower storms churn up the waters, causing an upwelling of colder water that usually takes the energy from the storm.

ALSO: ‘Tent city’ home to Yolanda victims

At least 5,000 refugees, mostly from Leyte and Samar, have arrived at the Villamor Airbase following the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda on November 8. The victims were mostly flown in by the Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo planes transporting relief goods to the calamity areas. So far, a total 87 individuals who arrived at the airport were transported by city personnel to the homes of their relatives living within Metro Manila.

ALSO: The day government disappeared

The head of state was invisible for nearly three days until he flew to Tacloban. There he appeared shell-shocked after he was confronted by reports compiled by United Nations field workers (who flew ahead of him and his party of officials to Tacloban; they put the death toll at 10,000) and by the powerful stench of corpses that had been lying on the ground for three days, while survivors were desperately calling for food and shelter, and the wounded were direly in need of medical attention.

ALSO: GET HIM (ROXAS) OUT OF THERE

 Frankly, I don’t know what Mar Roxas is doing in Tacloban. He isn’t helping, he is hindering. He is an abrasive, polarizing, divisive presence. He does not unite, he foments rifts. He does not inspire, he breeds enmity. Without him, Tacloban will be back on its feet in no time at all.


REPORT FROM BBC: HAIYAN, A MONSTER TYPHOON ROARS ACROSS PHILIPPINES


Mai Zamora from the charity World Vision said "galvanised iron sheets were flying just like kites"

MANILA, NOVEMBER 20, 2013 (BBC) Typhoon Haiyan One of the strongest typhoons ever to hit land has slammed the Philippines, forcing millions to take shelter.

Packing sustained winds of up to 320 km/h (199mph), Typhoon Haiyan left at least four people dead, but it may be days before the full damage is known.

The storm ripped apart buildings and triggered landslides as it ploughed across the country's central islands.

Officials said more than 12 million people were at risk, but the storm's rapid passing could limit its impact.

"We expect the level of destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan to be extensive and devastating, and sadly we fear that many lives will be lost," said Save the Children's Philippines director Anna Lindenfors.

The Philippines has experienced more than its fair share of super typhoons over the past decade, according to experts. There were at least three of these powerful events in nine of the 10 years between 2002 and 2012.

The islands are unlucky, scattered along the world's most active typhoon belt where plentiful supplies of warm water and moist air provide the energy to kick start super storms.

Despite these factors, Haiyan has shown a number of unusual features which have increased its strength.

Normally the walls of the storm that rotate around the eye are replaced as it moves, often weakening the wind speed . In the case of Haiyan this hasn't happened.

Another factor has been the speed of this typhoon. Going so quickly, it hasn't stirred up the waters ahead of it. Slower storms churn up the waters, causing an upwelling of colder water that usually takes the energy from the storm.

However Haiyan has now lost energy over land and is expected to move on to Vietnam as a Category 3 Typhoon in the next few days.

Matt Eduardo del Rosario, head of the disaster response agency, told the Associated Press that early evacuations and the speed at which the typhoon swept across the Philippines, may have helped reduce its destructive potential.

Lt Gen Roy Deveraturda, a military commander, echoed this view, telling the AP: "It has helped that the typhoon blew very fast in terms of preventing lots of casualties."

Meteorologists had earlier warned that the storm could be as devastating as Typhoon Bopha in 2012, which ravaged parts of the southern Philippines and left at least 1,000 people dead.

The storm made landfall on the Philippines shortly before dawn, bringing gusts that reached 379 km/h (235 mph), waves as high as 15m (45ft) and up to 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places.

There were reports of buildings being ripped apart, flash floods and landslides. Schools and offices were closed, while ferry services and local flights were suspended. Hospitals and soldiers were on stand-by for rescue and relief operations.

Power and communication lines were also cut to some areas.

Haiyan raged across Leyte and Samar, turning roads into rivers, and battered Cebu city, the country's second largest with a population of 2.5 million.

The eye of the storm - known locally as Yolanda - passed well to the south of the capital Manila, but the city still felt its force.

"The wind here is whistling. It's so strong and the heavy downpours are continuing," Mai Zamora, from the charity World Vision, in Cebu, told the BBC.

Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest storms ever recorded, as Jon Donnison reports "We've been hearing from my colleagues in [the city of] Tacloban that they've seen galvanised iron sheets flying just like kites."

"It was frightening. The wind was so strong, it was so loud, like a screaming woman. I could see trees being toppled down," Liwayway Sabuco, a saleswoman from Catbalogan, a major city on Samar, told AFP news agency.

Former BBC Manila correspondent Kate McGeown says that while reports are now coming in from some of the affected cities, there was still very little information from the countryside in large areas of the Visayas region such as Negros and Iloilo, and the island of Mindoro.

There were reports of substantial damage even in areas that missed the worst of Haiyan, the 25th tropical storm to enter Philippine territory this year.


Map A satellite image as the typhoon approached the Philippines last Friday

Residents living near the slopes of Mayon volcano are evacuated to public schools by police in anticipation of the powerful typhoon Haiyan, on 7 November.

Tens of thousands of people in low-lying areas were evacuated Filipino workers bring down a giant billboard along a busy highway as they prepare for Typhoon Haiyan in suburban Makati, south of Manila, Philippines, 7 Nov 2013

Billboards were taken down in Makati, near Manila, ahead of the storm Debris litters the road by a coastal village in Legazpi in the Philippines Debris litters the road by a coastal village in Legazpi House engulfed by typhoon in Albay province

"The storm was very strong - although Surigao City was not directly hit we experienced its fury early this morning," said Protestant pastor Diosdado Casera in Surigao City in north-east Mindanao .

"The big buildings made of concrete were fine, but the houses made of wood and shingles and plywood have suffered a lot of damage, mainly to their roof."

A spokesperson for the British Red Cross, Nichola Jones, who is in Tagbilaran on the central island of Bohol, said the typhoon had cut power and torn off roof tiles, but was "not too bad".

"But I think to the north - that's the area that has borne the brunt. Those were the areas worst hit by the earthquake last month."

"In Cebu they have had quite a battering and I spoke to our colleagues and they've had quite strong winds and are locked down in their hotels. They are waiting to see what the situation is."

Jeff Masters, meteorology director at the private firm Weather Underground, said in a blog post that the damage from Haiyan's winds must have been "perhaps the greatest wind damage any city on Earth has endured from a tropical cyclone in the past century".

Our correspondent says that, while the country is better prepared than for previous storms, it is not clear whether even buildings being used as storm shelters can withstand these winds.

In its path are areas already struggling to recover from a deadly 7.3-magnitude earthquake last month, including the worst-hit island of Bohol where about 5,000 people are still living in tents.

FROM MANILA STANDARD

‘Tent city’ home to Yolanda victims By Ferdinand Fabella | Nov. 20, 2013 at 12:15am 1

As more survivors of typhoon Yolanda flocked to the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City, the local government put up a “tent city” at a nearby public school that will be able to house at least 100 families.

Pasay Mayor Tony Calixto said 50 tents with 200 beds were being set up at the Villamor Airbase Elementary School situated just outside the base, which had become the drop-off point of evacuees fleeing the typhoon-ravaged towns in Eastern Visayas.


Halfway house. Pasay City hall workers arrange folding beds at the “tent city” inside the Villamor Elementary school while another group erects structures that will give shelter to ‘Yolanda’ survivors. DANNY PATA

“This tent city will serve as temporary shelter for typhoon victims who have yet to contact their relatives in Metro Manila, or are undergoing processing by housing agencies, or have otherwise nowhere else to go at this time,” Calixto said.

At least 5,000 refugees, mostly from Leyte and Samar, have arrived at the Villamor Airbase following the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda on November 8. The victims were mostly flown in by the Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo planes transporting relief goods to the calamity areas.

So far, a total 87 individuals who arrived at the airport were transported by city personnel to the homes of their relatives living within Metro Manila.

Upon arriving at the airbase, the survivors were given emergency medical aid and given hot meals by relief workers while awaiting processing.

The Pasay City General Hospital has opened a “Yolanda Ward” to treat patients in need of medical attention from the affected provinces, city hall spokesman Jonathan Malaya said.

“Under normal circumstances the city’s facilities are reserved for Pasay City residents but these are not normal times. This is a national calamity, hence, we have opened our services and our schools and hospitals to our countrymen in need of our help,” Malaya said.

A resident of San Jose in Tacloban City, Norvelyn Ronda, 34, gave birth to a baby boy at the city hospital Tuesday morning, according to PCGH medical director Dr. Jaime Sy.

City officials said teams from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and health departments are posted at the Villamor Airbase round-the-clock to provide assistance to evacuees.

Malaya said the two teams have at their disposal two ambulances and two utility vans. Ten nurses, one doctor and two nutritionists are providing the necessary medical assistance together with the other volunteer groups deployed in the area.

At least 266 patients have so far been accommodated by the teams; 230 of these were minors ranging from 6 months to 14 years old and they were given vitamin A capsules by the city health personnel, Malaya added.

Meanwhile, National Anti-Poverty Commission Jose Eliseo “Joel” Rocamora will lead a three-kilometer walk at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City on Sunday to drum up support for the homeless in Leyte and Samar.

Rocamora said NAPC has partnered with several groups to help the typhoon victims rebuild their houses.

One of the partners, Habitat’s Resource Development and Communication country manager Gina de los Reyes Virtusio said Habitat would require 30,000 repair kits to build 10,000 houses.

Each core house would cost at least P120,000, she said. A foreign donation of 50 portable houses equipped with an air-conditioning unit each will also be provided to some victims, she added. With Rio Araja

FROM THE INQUIRER

The day government disappeared Analysis By Amando Doronila
Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:07 pm | Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

When the most powerful typhoon ever to hit this star-crossed archipelago in living memory slammed into Leyte—was a day the government disappeared.

And it did in a moment it was most needed by the Filipino people. The typhoon not only nearly wiped out the city of Tacloban, home to 200,000 souls, from the face of earth; it also paralyzed government from providing immediate relief to the hapless victims of the apocalyptic catastrophe.

Supertyphoon “Yolanda’s” landfall not only devastated the Visayas, which lay on its path; worse, it laid bare the disturbing issue: Where is the government? More specifically, who is in charge during emergencies?

The head of state was invisible for nearly three days until he flew to Tacloban.

There he appeared shell-shocked after he was confronted by reports compiled by United Nations field workers (who flew ahead of him and his party of officials to Tacloban; they put the death toll at 10,000) and by the powerful stench of corpses that had been lying on the ground for three days, while survivors were desperately calling for food and shelter, and the wounded were direly in need of medical attention.

President Aquino was not hailed in Tacloban as a liberator, unlike Gen. Douglas MacArthur when his troops landed on the beaches of Leyte in 1944. Instead, the survivors greeted him and his party from Manila as harbingers of despair.

At that, the people of Leyte were most likely to have thought how far remote Manila is, or if a national government even existed in Manila.

The only estimates of the death toll and the casualties came from UN field workers. Government officials could not come up with estimates of their own despite the extensive government bureaucratic machinery from top to bottom.

But even with the failure of the government to collect data from its bureaucratic machinery, President Aquino was quick to dismiss the UN estimates as far too many, although he had in his hands nothing more substantial than pure guesswork to back his assessment.

In an interview with CNN on Nov. 12, three days after Yolanda struck Tacloban, Aquino said the death toll may be lower than many people thought. The estimate was “too high” and the actual figure was more likely to settle at around 2,500. According to the UN, more than 11 million people were believed to have been affected and some 673,000 of them were displaced.

The figure of 10,000 came from a police officer and may have arisen from “emotional trauma,” Aquino said. He summarily dismissed the police officer, a case of shooting the messenger who brings the bad news.

The international media, which came ahead of Mr. Aquino’s officials to survey the carnage and destruction, had a vastly different picture from the ground.

CNN journalist Anderson Cooper reported that what was happening in Tacloban was a “demolition, not a construction job.” He added “there is no real evidence of organized recovery or relief.”

He said five days after the storm, it was still unclear who was in charge in providing assistance in the area. Another journalist said the search and rescue never materialized.

“It is a very desperate situation, among the most desperate I’ve seen in covering disasters. You would expect perhaps to see a feeding center that had been set up five days after the storm. We haven’t seen that, not in this area.”

He compared the Philippine government’s response to that of the Japanese government during the earthquake of 2011 where after two days, they could barely see scattered bodies around devastated areas.

BBC’s Don Johnson reported that “there does not seem to be an effective operation to get help to those in need.”

In an exclusive interview, CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour impressed on the President that his administration’s response to the disaster would probably define his presidency.

“Mr. President, you talked about moral responsibility from the world,” she told the President.

“Let me ask you about your responsibility as president. Clearly, I don’t know whether you agree, but the way you respond and your government responds to this terrible devastation will probably define your presidency,” Amanpour said.

“Many have talked about how much reform you have done, how much work you’ve done on corruption. But many people might end up judging you on how your government has responded. What do you say to that?” she asked.

The President did not answer the question, and instead mentioned other areas in the Visayas, “with the exception of” Leyte and Eastern and Western Samar, where the number of casualties, according to officials, was “minimal.”

This is what Mr. Aquino wanted to hear from his officials about deaths and casualties after he had laid down his own assessment: to keep the figures to the minimum.

Asked by reporters who was calling the shots, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almedras said,

“The one calling the shots is actually the President and Cabinet members, who they are is not clear.”

How can you run a government in a crisis with an invisible president?

GET HIM OUT OF THERE By Conrado de Quiros - Frankly, I don’t know what Mar Roxas is doing in Tacloban.

He isn’t helping, he is hindering. He is an abrasive, polarizing, divisive presence. He does not unite, he foments rifts. He does not inspire, he breeds enmity. Without him, Tacloban will be back on its feet in no time at all.

At the very least, he politicizes what most needs to be depoliticized. And nothing demands depoliticizing more than resurrecting a dead land.

I can believe the story, however uttered in hushed tones, that Roxas had asked Mayor Alfred Romualdez to write P-Noy to say he was no longer able to function as mayor and was surrendering his post to him (Roxas).

I can believe the story, however whispered in dark corners—it doesn’t pay to antagonize the powerful when you are prostrate—that Roxas asked the Tacloban City council to pass a resolution to that effect. It is perfectly in character.

Even if Roxas had demanded this in the immediate aftermath of Yolanda when the city lay prostrate, when the hungry were rioting and the opportunistic were looting, when it was all local officials themselves could do to survive, let alone run a city, it would have been capricious.

Why be concerned with billing, or titles or positions in a time of love and cholera, or death and dementia?

Roxas could have done what needed to be done, what he in fact needed to do, without asking for the position or title or billing.

With the local government swept to the sea along with houses and trees and dead bodies, he could have brought the police in to stop the rioting, he could have come in and put some semblance of local government, specifically by mounting efficient relief. He did neither, and he was the head of the police and local governments.

Making that demand now makes “capricious” sound benign. Romualdez is an elected official, he carries with him the mandate of the people of Tacloban. Roxas is not and does not, he lost his bid to become vice president, the people of the Philippines preferring instead the person who trailed behind him for much of the campaign.

He carries with him only the authority of the President who incomprehensively seems willing to indulge him anything.

Where does a mere secretary, a mere Cabinet functionary, get off presuming to have the right to make a demand like that?

It clashes with the signals P-Noy himself is sending, taking a conciliatory tone with the Romualdezes, extending the hand of peace with the Romualdezes, calling for cooperation between government and the Romualdezes.

For good reason: This is not about them, this is about the people of Tacloban. This is not about their positions, this is about the plight of the ravaged in Leyte and Samar.

This is not about their, or their parties’, chances of retaining or grabbing power in the next elections, this is about the chances of the people of the Visayas getting back on their feet.

It can’t be lost on anyone, least of all the Taclobanons that the Liberal Party candidate lost to Romualdez in the elections. All Roxas is doing by his antics is assuring that the Romualdezes will win, and win big, in the next elections.

That is so by allowing them to advertise themselves not just as the personal victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” but as the more personal victims of “Super-er” Typhoon Mar.

At the very most, Roxas turns what ought to be a policy of “Let a hundred flowers bloom” into “Restrain, restrain, restrain.”

The only thing stronger than the winds that blew across Tacloban two weeks ago are the winds that are blowing across the country today, the winds of bayanihan, voluntarism, willingness—no eagerness—to help.

These are levels of enthusiasm, creativity and initiative that need to be given free rein, not to be put on a tight leash. Roxas is putting them on a tight leash.

I do not like Bongbong Marcos, but I believe him when he says Leyte’s private sector does not lack for initiatives like wanting to send trucks and ferries and goods to Tacloban, but it does not want to hand them over to the DSWD, which is just an extension of Roxas.

I do not blame it. Quite apart from that Roxas reeks of politics, there is his record in DOTC where nothing moved because everything had to have his stamp of approval before it did.

The situation is worse for the volunteers. Thank God volunteers are naturally forgiving, are naturally given to enthusiasm, are naturally given to doing things because they need to be done, never mind the reward, never mind the credit.

But some of them—ask Juana Change—will remember at least that they were there to see that P-Noy won as president, and ended up being shunted aside, scorned and given no recognition; the victory was the handiwork of Mar and Butch, the credit belonged to the Liberal Party, the spoils belonged to them.

The energy and enthusiasm will continue to be there among the volunteers, the explosion of men and women, young and old, rushing to help testifies to it, but guess who’ll end up claiming what they did. You’d wish at least some acknowledgment will be thrown their way.

Put somebody else there, and it will. Put somebody else there and feet will take wings, hands will move like The Flash, spirits will soar to heaven. Put somebody else there, and the hundred flowers will bloom.

Somebody like Rene Almendras, Jojo Ochoa, Volt Gazmin, or pretty much any other member of the Cabinet.

Or you want to think out of the box, somebody like former president Fidel Ramos with his organizational skills and ability to command without being kumandista, or Cardinal Chito Tagle with his genuine and abundant concern for the poor and suffering, or Tony Meloto with his track record for rehabilitating the desperate with Gawad Kalinga.

But not Roxas. You want Tacloban to recover: Get him out of there.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2013 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE