Typhoon Haiyan response: Salvation Army fears outbreak of disease

Published 13 November 2013  |  
(AP)
In this Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 photo, residents living near the slopes of Mayon volcano are evacuated to public schools by police in anticipation of the powerful typhoon Haiyan that threatened Albay province and several provinces in central Philippines. The typhoon, one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded, slammed into the Philippines early Friday, with one weather expert warning of catastrophic damage.

More charities are announcing their financial support for aid relief work in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.

The Salvation Army UK and Ireland is making arrangements with the Philippine Air Force to transport food, water and medical aid supplies to badly-hit Tacloban, as damage to infrastructure across the country is making it impossible to reach many areas by road.

Chief Secretary of the Philippines Territory Lieut-Colonel Bob Lee has suggested that it could be over a week before the full extent of the damage is known.

He has voiced concerns that there will soon be an outbreak of disease.

"What the government and non-governmental agencies are now struggling with is the accessibility of roads so that relief goods can reach the survivors and the medical attention to the wounded and sick," he said. "There is also a possibility of an outbreak of disease."

Damaris Frick, from The Salvation Army's International Emergency Services, is flying out to the Philippines and is bracing herself for terrible conditions.

"Having worked in The Philippines before, we at International Emergency Services know how efficiently and well our colleagues there will have been dealing with this terrible disaster," she said.

"This one, however, appears to have been even worse than those they have suffered in recent years. There are major logistical issues in getting relief items where they are most needed."

Territorial Commander Colonel Wayne Maxwell for the Philippines said: "The Island of Leyte has four Salvation Army churches and there are other islands that have experienced major levels of devastation. The task for us is immense and our cash extremely limited."

The UN has estimated that more than 11 million people have been affected by the super storm, and the approximated number of those displaced has risen to almost 700,000. At least 10,000 are feared to have died in the catastrophe.
Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) announced yesterday that it would be sending an emergency aid package of 100,000 euros.

ACN Executive President Joannes von Heereman confirmed that the money will be distributed through the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, and used to provide clean water, food, medicine and shelter.

Projects director Regina Lynch has said that ACN is already making progress on the ground, working alongside local church leaders to reach those most in need.

However, Father Edione Gariguez, who is coordinating aid relief on behalf of ACN in the Philippines, contends that the media has failed to report the full scale of the disaster. He claims that many more are affected by the typhoon than have been recorded.

"So many people are crying for help but the magnitude of the calamity so huge," he says.

"People are so desperate."

There are reports of up to 80% devastation in Cebu and 95% in Tacloban, the capital city of the island province of Leyte, which is thought to be the area worst hit by the storm.

Other groups offering prayer and support for the Filipino community include the Bishops of England and Wales, and a Mass will take place for the Philippines and the Filipino community at Westminster Cathedral at 5.30pm on Friday.

The Church of Ireland Bishops' Appeal has also expressed its support for the Filipino community, and has made an urgent appeal for funds to aid the relief effort.

Archbishop Richard Clarke and Archbishop Michael Jackson have asked the Church to respond generously to those in overwhelming need. The immediate release of 10,000 euros to Christian Aid partners in the Philippines has been authorised, and it is hoped that this money will provide tents, food and hygiene kits for victims.

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