Delayed Phillippines Aid Arrives: How You Can Help, Too

Substantial food and medical aid is finally reaching desperate survivors of a super typhoon that killed thousands in the Philippines, but humanitarian groups warn of huge challenges in accessing devastated, remote communities.

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As the United Nations doubled its estimate of those left homeless in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines to nearly two million on Saturday, emergency supplies finally flowed into the region, reaching some who have been left to scavenge for days. Reuters called the relief efforts “still patchy” however, as officials reported hungry survivors attempting to leave the city of Ormoc and residents of Tanauan say they only began receiving significant aid on Friday, after spending subsisting on biscuits and disposing of dead bodies on their own. Typhoon Haiyan killed at least 3,633 and left 1,179 people missing, according to the national count.

Reuters:

"Arnaldo Arcadio, an emergency responder with the Catholic Relief Services group, said desperation over conditions in remote rural areas had led people to surge into Ormoc in hope of fleeing the city by ferry.

"People are fleeing in mass numbers and coming to Ormoc, where they stand in line all day to get on a ferry only to be turned away," he said.

"Ormoc is teeming with people who haven't eaten in days. They're hungry, thirsty and tired. They want to get out."

Across Tacloban, survivors have begun to rebuild. The sounds of hammers ring out. Men gather in groups to fix motorbikes or drag debris off splintered homes and wrecked streets. Most have given up searching for lost loved ones.

The number of people made homeless by the storm rose to 1.9 million, up from 900,000, the United Nations' humanitarian agency said. In Tacloban, at least 56,000 people face unsanitary conditions, according to the United Nations' migration agency."


Continue below the fold to find out how you can help.

The organizations listed below are deploying urgent relief efforts on the islands. See how you can help:

The American Red Cross has launched a family tracing service among other aid operations. If you are unable to reach a family member in the Philippines, you can contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a tracing case. Representatives added that it has deployed two people to assist with assessments in the Philippines. It asks those who want to support relief efforts to mail a check to their local American Red Cross chapter, with "Philippines Typhoons and Flood" in the memo line. Go to redcross.org for local chapter information or redcross.org.ph to donate directly to the Philippine Red Cross.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has begun collecting donations for relief efforts. To contribute, go to www.jdc.org or call 212-687-6200.

AmeriCares said it has sent a relief team, two emergency medical modules and three new medical aid shipments to remedy the health crisis — particularly the “widespread shortages of medicines.”

Apple has created an option in the iTunes Store allowing iTunes customers to donate, and iTunes will transfer 100 percent of donations to the American Red Cross. Donor support will provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters.

AT&T and Verizon are offering free calls and texts to the Philippines for customers trying to contact friends and family there in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.

Catholic Relief Services is accepting donations on its website as it begins moving supplies and staff to respond to the typhoon.

ChildFund International has been in the Philippines since 1954. The organization is distributing clean water, food and other household items to victims of the typhoon. It is in the process of setting up child-centered spaces in evacuation centers to provide counsel and relief to children and families affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Direct Relief has shipped 1.5 tons of medicine, nutritional supplements and first aid supplies to the Philippines and hope to ship more with the help of donations through their website. They have also partnered with Team Rubicon, a veterans’ disaster response organization, who is helping Direct Relief drop off portable kits to displaced survivors.

Google has launched a person finder.

Habitat for Humanity plans to offer shelter repair kits for families who need to re-build their damaged houses.

International Medical Corps deployed an emergency response team of medical personnel and sanitation experts to the Philippines to and is accepting donations through their website in order to ship medicine, clean water and food. They are also asking for $10 donations by texting MED to 80888. Infection control is a priority “to keep those already healthy, healthy,” and “medical and social interventions are needed,” to help those who have been injured and displaced,” said Noel Miranda, leader of the Philippines team.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has launched a $10 million appeal and sent an emergency team to Manila who have already started to work on the ground. For more information, visit www.rescue.org.

Mammoth Medical brought a team of surgeons, doctors and medical support volunteers to the Philippines. The group is equipped with three surgical teams and more than 30 parcels of medical supplies as well as a self-contained surgical tent. Click the link for more information.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) has organized teams of doctors, nurses, surgeons, psychologists, water and sanitation experts and other specialists to respond to the typhoon’s aftermath. The organization is also dispatching nine cargo planes loaded with tons of water, sanitation and medical supplies. The humanitarian cargo includes medical kits for treating the wounded, equipment for medical consultations, tetanus vaccines, relief items such as tents and hygiene kits, water and sanitation equipment and, if needed, an inflatable hospital, said spokesman Tim Shenk. Some of the group’s medical teams were already in place in Cebu Tuesday, but blocked roads, a damaged airport and bad weather have made access to affected areas particularly difficult. Click the link to see how you can help.

Mercy Corps is accepting donations on its website as emergency responders move food, water, shelter and other supplies to the region.

National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) has created a disaster relief fund for victims in the Philippines.

Operation USA said it will allocate donations directly to relief and recovery efforts.

Oxfam teams on the ground are reporting an urgent need for food, clean water, medicine and shelter. Teams are ready to deploy water and sanitation materials to those affected but need help to scale up their response.

The Philippine Red Cross said it has mobilized teams on the ground to help with rescue and relief operations. Click the link to learn more.

The Salvation Army is also asking for $10 donations by text. One hundred percent of money donated by sending TYPHOON to 80888 or through their website will be used to sort, ship and distribute donated goods.

Save the Children is also mounting disaster relief efforts to help children and families in the region with emergency assistance.

Team Rubicon is working to facilitate search and rescue efforts and provide medical triage for a field hospital in Tacloban. Click the link for more information.

UNICEF is taking donations to help provide children with shelter, clean water, nutrition and vaccines. Representatives said its staff in the Philippines is being repositioned to help in relief efforts and 66 tons of emergency supplies are being sent from Copenhagen. An airlift set to arrive on Tuesday will include water purification systems, storage equipment and sanitation supplies. Donations can be made to UNICEF at unicef.org/support.

World Food Programme (WFP), a United Nations organization, said it will send more than 40 tons of high energy biscuits and work with the Filipino government to help with logistics and emergency communications systems. Representatives said they have allocated $2 million for the disaster response and officials joined an assessment mission to survey damage in Leyte and Samar provinces. It asks for donations at www.wfpusa.org or by texting the word AID to 27722 to instantly donate $10.

World Vision said it will provide food and water to those in evacuation shelters. Representative said it is putting together resources to assist 1.2 million people, including food, hygiene kits, emergency shelter and protection. It asked for one-time donations to be made at worldvision.org.

The Associated Press, Reuters, and NBC News contributed to this report.

About Diane Sweet

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Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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