NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Terrible devastation in Philippines prompts renewed call for aid from the United Nations

As pic­tures and eye­wit­ness accounts con­tin­ue to come in from the Philip­pines, depict­ing the ter­ri­ble dev­as­ta­tion wrought by Typhoon Haiyan, the Unit­ed Nations is launch­ing a $300+ mil­lion appeal for aid from the world com­mu­ni­ty to help the more than eleven mil­lion peo­ple affect­ed by the storm. (Many of them are with­out shel­ter after the hur­ri­cane oblit­er­at­ed their dwellings).

“We are very much in sup­port and we are focused, first and fore­most, on the require­ments for food, shel­ter sup­port and med­ical sup­port, to pre­vent the out­break of pub­lic health dis­as­ters,” said the UN’s John Ging in a news release. He also point­ed out that the bod­ies of many deceased vic­tims need to be buried.

Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest storms ever record­ed to make land­fall — and per­haps the strongest, with gusts of near­ly two hun­dred miles per hour. The accom­pa­ny­ing storm surge was even more destruc­tive.

Super Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall

Ani­mat­ed enhanced infrared satel­lite loop of Typhoon Haiyan from NOAA, the Nation­al Ocean­ic and Atmos­pher­ic Admin­is­tra­tion.

Haiyan slammed into the Philip­pines a few days ago, wreak­ing hav­oc on Samar Island and Leyte, and lev­el­ing the city of Tacloban, where it is feared more than ten thou­sand peo­ple have per­ished. Trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture was hard hit; many roads are impass­able and air­ports heav­i­ly dam­aged, obstruct­ing relief efforts.

As a con­se­quence, the Philip­pines is espe­cial­ly in need of heli­copters, which can get into areas that oth­er air­craft and vehi­cles can’t.

For­tu­nate­ly, the Unit­ed States Navy has heli­copters that can trans­port sup­plies and do search and res­cue. Defense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel has ordered the air­craft car­ri­er USS George Wash­ing­ton to leave Hong Kong and make for the Philip­pines at the best speed she and her escorts can do, accord­ing to a Pen­ta­gon news release:

In com­pa­ny with the car­ri­er will be the cruis­ers USS Anti­etam (CG 54) and USS Cow­pens (CG 63), and the destroy­er USS Mustin (DDG 89). The sup­ply ship USNS Charles Drew (T‑AKE-10) is already under­way and will ren­dezvous with the group as they get clos­er. USS Lassen (DDG 82) got under­way yes­ter­day for the region. Embarked on board USS George Wash­ing­ton, is Car­ri­er Air Wing Five (CVW‑5).

CVW‑5 is a col­lec­tion of air­craft designed to per­form var­i­ous func­tions includ­ing dis­as­ter relief and includes the “Gold­en Fal­cons” of Heli­copter Sea Com­bat Squadron 12 fly­ing the MH-60S Sea­hawk; and the “Saber­hawks” of Heli­copter Mar­itime Strike Squadron 77 fly­ing the MH-60R Sea­hawk.

As need­ed, these ships and air­craft will be able to pro­vide human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance, sup­plies, and med­ical care in sup­port of the ongo­ing efforts led by the gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary of the Repub­lic of the Philip­pines.

It’s won­der­ful to see the Navy step­ping up to help. Our capa­ble and ded­i­cat­ed sailors and Marines are just the peo­ple we ought to be send­ing to assist the sur­vivors. They’re well trained and they have the right equip­ment for the job.

Oth­er nations, includ­ing Cana­da, South Africa, New Zealand, the Unit­ed King­dom, Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates, and Israel have pledged finan­cial aid, med­ical teams, and sup­plies. The Vat­i­can is also donat­ing to the relief effort, with Pope Fran­cis offer­ing a prayer for the vic­tims of one of the worst storms ever record­ed.

If you would like to donate to help sur­vivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan, we sug­gest mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion to Mer­cy Corps. Mer­cy Corps is a high­ly effec­tive char­i­ty based in the Pacif­ic North­west that spe­cial­izes in dis­as­ter relief and improv­ing lives in the world’s tough­est places. They have a lot of expe­ri­ence work­ing in hard-hit areas and pro­vid­ing imme­di­ate assis­tance to dis­placed indi­vid­u­als. They also have low over­head and admin­is­tra­tive costs; 88% of funds donat­ed in the last five years went to help peo­ple in need. They do great work and can be trust­ed with your dol­lars.

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