US Troops Helping With Typhoon Relief Effort

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) - A run-down, single-story building at the ruined airport in the Philippine city of Tacloban has become the area's main medical center for victims of last week's powerful typhoon.

Hundreds of injured people, along with pregnant women, children and the elderly, have poured into the building since the typhoon struck on Friday.

The facility doesn't have much medicine. The few doctors who are there have so far been dealing with cuts, fractures and pregnancy complications. They say they soon expect to see more serious problems, including pneumonia and dehydration.

A massive international aid effort is starting to take shape, but not quickly enough for the 600,000 people who've been displaced -- many of them homeless, hungry and thirsty.

With the airport battered and roads made impassable by debris, very little aid has arrived in Tacloban. Most of it is stuck in Manila and in Cebu, a 45-minute flight away.

And survivors are becoming more desperate. Mobs that overran a rice warehouse on the island of Leyte collapsed a wall, killing eight people. Security forces today exchanged gunfire with an armed gang.

The official death toll is up to 2,344, but it's expected to rise.

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TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) - The U.N.'s humanitarian chief is appealing for $300 million to help the more than 11 million people in the Philippines estimated to have been affected by last week's typhoon.

Valerie Amos, speaking in Manila, said U.N. teams haven't been able to get into remote communities. And she says even in the devastated city of Tacloban, the U.N. hasn't been able to bring in the amount of supplies that are needed, because of the debris there and logistical problems.

But a spokesman for the president of the Philippines says relief goods are now getting into the city, and that the supply should increase now that the airport and a bridge to the island of Leyte are open.

Still, residents of Tacloban are getting desperate. One 81-year-old woman, her clothes soaked from a pouring rain, said, "We need help. Nothing is happening." She said, "We haven't eaten since yesterday afternoon." She was among the people who failed to get a flight out of tacloban for Manila.

Pallets of supplies and teams of doctors have been waiting to get into Tacloban, a city of about 220,000 that bore the full force of the winds and the storm surges Friday. Most of the city is in ruins.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration says the number of American troops helping the relief effort in the typhoon-hit Philippines could triple to more than 1,000 by the end of the week.

Senior administration officials said Wednesday that after a very difficult first few days, logistical bottlenecks obstructing aid to the hard-hit city of Tacloban are starting to ease.

They say an overland route to the city has opened up, which should accelerate the distribution of relief supplies.

Some 307 troops are currently in the Philippines, but more Marines should depart soon from Okinawa, Japan.

So far, U.S. forces have evacuated about 800 Filipinos from Tacloban.

They are also transporting Philippine security forces to restore order to the region, where violence and looting has occurred. Officials say the security situation is improving.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Apple is giving iTunes users a chance to donate to relief efforts for the typhoon tragedy in the Philippines.

Users can go to the iTunes store to donate to the American Red Cross; funds raised will go to help the Asian nation, which has been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. The official death toll is over 1,700, but as many as 10,000 are feared dead and more than 9 million people have been affected.

iTunes has done the same to raise funds for those affected by other tragedies, most recently for Superstorm Sandy. Apple says it was able to donate $2.5 million for Sandy relief based on donations from iTunes users and its own employees.

Apple said Tuesday it didn't have a specific end-date for the campaign.


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