Nation & World News

Life Is Slowly Returning To Shattered Philippine City

By Mark Memmott on November 20th, 2013

There was almost nothing left standing or working in the Philippines city of Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan tore through on Nov. 8.

No electricity. No clean water. No undamaged buildings.

As one official told NPR’s Anthony Kuhn, “we have citizens, but no city.”

Wednesday on Morning Edition, Anthony told host Steve Inskeep that 12 days later there’s “much more life … you can see people lining up in the streets to get food, water [and] gas” that have been brought in by aid groups and the Philippine and foreign armed forces.

But he cautioned that while things may be slowly getting better in Tacloban, a city of more than 200,000, “maybe not even half the people” in the Philippines who were affected by the storm have received assistance.

That’s a huge number — the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that 13.2 million people were affected by Haiyan and that more than 4.4 million of those were forced from their homes.

The official death toll, according to the Philippine government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, is now 4,011.

Also on Morning Edition, Anthony talked about some of the images that are “seared into my brain”:

— “Flying over fishing villages, looking down at the devastation.”

— “Seeing bodies being buried in the front yard of a church.”

— “Kids finding a drum and playing on it amid the chaos of the evacuation at the airport.”

Related news:

— “Mass burials may complicate Philippines Typhoon Haiyan recovery; unmarked graves hinder identification, grieving process.” (Canadian Broadcasting)

— “China is sending a state-of-the-art hospital ship to the Philippines following foreign and domestic criticism that it was slow and less than generous in its response.” (Reuters)

— “Typhoon response highlights weaknesses in Philippine military.” (The New York Times)

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