Red Cross volunteers in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, have been preparing aid bundles to be sent to parts of the country devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless, struggling to find shelter, water and food.
Sooade Messoudi of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told euronews that preparations were made, but the storm surpassed all expectations: “I’m sure that this time, the authorities and other organisations have been better prepared than last year because they went through the experience of the Typhoon Bopha last year. So people have been evacuated well in advance.”
“Unfortunately, the strength of the typhoon was such that it has damaged everything. It’s bigger than people could have ever imagined. And this has caused a lot of lost lives, lots of people people missing, and the devastation that we are seeing today,” Messoudi continued.
The extensive destruction in the central Philippines – with roads gone, power out and communications down – has made it very difficult for aid agencies to get help to people in some of the hardest-hit places.
Messoudi explained: “We’re looking at all the options to bring in relief by air, by sea or over land. All these options are being explored. We have 11 trucks close to Tacloban – but, as you know, security is also an issue right now. So we have to make sure that these relief goods reach these people who need it most.”
Aid has been pledged from around the world to help the country recover. The United Nations has launched a $301 million (223 million euro) international appeal
For euronews, Emilie Batard reported that the Philippines’ own efforts have been tireless: “Over the last few days, the whole country has mobilised. Thousands of people are taking part in emergency relief efforts. Most of them make donations, sending food and clothes to collection centres.”