Relief teams rush to typhoon-devastated Philippines; how Iowans can help
Monday, November 11, 2013 10:37 AM
International relief teams have rushed toward the central Philippines, where one of the strongest storms on record left bereft survivors looting food and water or scrambling for a way out, according to The Los Angeles Times.
In the Philippines, police Supt. Elmer Soria told reporters that officials on the island of Leyte had estimated 10,000 deaths. The U.S. Agency for International Development said that in some parts of the central Philippines, 90 percent of the housing had been destroyed.
The head of the Red Cross in the Philippines has described the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan as "absolute bedlam", according to BBC News. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced. Rescue efforts are being hindered by damage to roads and airports.
The storm has now made landfall in north Vietnam, near the Chinese border, but has weakened to a tropical storm.
Aid agencies said they were hurrying supplies to the area hit early Friday by the typhoon, the Los Angeles Times reported. U.S. Marines were en route from bases in Okinawa, Japan, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed the Pacific Command to deploy helicopters, logistics officers and cargo planes to assist the effort.
The American Red Cross is sending in disaster relief specialists and equipment to the Philippines and also is helping people connect with loved ones, according to a news release sent by the Red Cross. Communication is still very limited in the hardest hit communities, so the American Red Cross will also send two telecommunication specialists and a satellite system in the coming days.
The Red Cross also has activated its family tracing services. If people are looking for a missing family member in the Philippines, please remember that many phones lines are down. If people are still unable to reach loved ones, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a family tracing case. The American Red Cross is in close contact with the Philippine Red Cross, and more help and assistance will be provided in the days ahead
People who want to donate to the American Red Cross to support the response for this typhoon can go to redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. People may also mail in a donation to your local Red Cross chapter.
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