Posted by: Chuck | November 20, 2013

Typhoon survivors rally city: ‘We shall overcome’

HENANI, Philippines (Reuters) – Ten days after one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded, some residents of remote villages in Eastern Samar province, where the storm made landfall in the central Philippines, said they were still waiting for aid. The Philippines is facing an enormous rebuilding task from Typhoon Haiyan, which killed at least 3,974 people and left 1,186 missing, with many isolated communities yet to receive significant aid despite a massive international relief effort. In ravaged villages along the coast of Eastern Samar, heart-breaking, hand-written banners plead for attention. “Help us,” said one in large, silver-painted capital letters on blue plastic sheeting. “We need food.” The storm surge that turned fields into sea in just seconds swept away dozens of flimsy timber homes in Hernani, a small community of about 200 farmers and fishermen, killing many. One family said there had been one delivery of food and water. Others said there had been none.

The marchers sang “We shall overcome” as they toured parts of Tacloban, at one point skirting some unburied corpses in bags by the roadside. The Rev. Robert Reyes, an activist priest known for running long distances across country to draw attention to social issues, said the marchers were living in a church and a sports stadium. “This is not an ordinary march. We call it the walk to overcome,” said Reyes. “This is part of what we call psycho-social therapy where you listen to the victims of the disaster but you also make them believe that they can actually heal themselves.” Typhoon Haiyan cut a path across eastern and central Philippines on Nov. 8, with some of fastest wind speeds on record. It killed or has left missing more than 5,000 people and displaced an estimated 4 million people. A major international relief mission is underway to help the survivors, many of whom will be dependent on aid for months to come. The airport in Tacloban, which was almost entirely destroyed in the storm, has emerged as relief hub, with scores of aid flights arriving each day carrying food, water, medicine, generators and heavy lifting equipment. The pace has picked up markedly in recent days compared to the chaos in the immediate aftermath of the storm.



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