We Need Help and We Need It Now is what you here on all news casts covering the disaster caused by Typhoon Haiyan . There are two things you can do to help Philippine victims of Typhoon Haiyan: One, send money to an established international aid organization, like the Red Cross or World Vision; and two, ask the US government what is the evacuation versus rescue plan.
More than 2 million people are in need of food aid, according to the Philippine government after Typhoon Haiyan. And that’s just food. Other clusters of need include shelter, water and sanitation, and emergency medical care. It is estimated that there are 600,000 people displaced, many of them homeless, hungry and thirsty. They need rescue and part of that action plan should include the strategy for evacuation.
Days go by and people, many of them children, are still begging at the sides of roads for food and water, shelter, shoes, pain medication, any of the basics of life. Just as strong among their calls for assistance is the plea for evacuation.
Corpses float, rot under buildings or lie in the streets. Horrific, yes, for the survivors, but the threat to public health is just as dramatic. Combine this with hunger, thirst and lack of sanitation and medical intervention and this makes for a public health crisis of acute disease and more death.
On the rescue front, the pace of intervention has been hampered by: continuing severe weather conditions; the damage to infrastructure like roads and airports; and under-resourced local Philippine jurisdictions who were not remotely prepared to deal with a storm of this historic magnitude.
As I write, British and American military continue to mobilize in the Pacific, sending personnel, supplies and equipment, including massive desalination machinery to provide potable water. Other members of the international community continue to stream rescue teams to the area.
Though delayed, these efforts are starting to reach the Typhoon Haiyan victims. But goes too slowly. News reports indicate that many of the fortunate ones have been evacuated to Manilla. The privileged, the lucky-starred fly away, showing that it can be done and leaving those on the ground to wait and wait for assistance but not flight.
It is heart-rending to see so much desperation day after day in the news media. There’s a drip, drip, drip of rescue when a flood of help as strong as the storm itself is what’s needed. A humanitarian crisis of vast proportions is getting worse by the day.
As if death, disease, starvation and loss of loved ones were not sufficiently awful outcomes of this impossible storm, today there were reports of new dangers. When the basics on not in place, like food and water, anarchy takes over.
Eight people were reported killed in one instance when the desperate looted a store that collapsed on them. Store owners are taking matters into the their own hands to protect their inventories and properties from looters. Some of these looters may be evilly entrepreneurial. Most, we guess, are simply hungry and thirsty and looking to provide for their families.
The police can’t protect the public as most of them are helping their families and dealing with their own acute losses.
Where is the evacuation plan in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan?