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U.N., Partners Intensify Humanitarian Aid Efforts In Philippines Amid Logistical Challenges

“As the magnitude of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan unfolds in the Philippines, the United Nations and its partners are mounting a massive humanitarian operation, battling heavy rains, blocked roads and damaged airstrips and seaports to reach millions across the region desperate for food, water and other basic necessities,” the U.N. News Centre reports (11/12). “Offering a sobering snapshot of the situation on the ground, Bernard Kerblat, U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) representative in the Philippines told U.N. Radio [that] because at least eight regions are logistically cut-off, information is trickling in ‘piecemeal’ and hampering aid,” the news service notes in a separate article (11/13). “Relief operations in typhoon-devastated parts of the Philippines picked up pace Wednesday, but still only minimal amounts of water, food and medical supplies were making it to increasingly desperate survivors in the hardest-hit places,” Al Jazeera America writes (11/12). “Medical teams, aid workers and soldiers crammed onto flights to Tacloban city in central Philippines as survivors told of desperation over the trickle of supplies to the area six days after Typhoon Haiyan caused massive destruction,” according to Bloomberg (Guinto/Yap/Lee, 11/14).

“After days of logistical challenges that kept thousands of Tacloban City’s desperate storm survivors cut off from food, water and medical supplies, air and overland routes are starting to open, senior administration officials [with the U.S. Air Force] familiar with the relief effort said [Wednesday],” the American Forces Press Service states (Pellerin, 11/13). “The first signs of a concerted aid effort appeared in typhoon-ravaged Tacloban on Wednesday as U.S. military planes delivered 25 tons of biscuits to starving survivors on the same day the city’s mayor implored residents to leave town in order to survive,” The Guardian notes (Hodal, 11/12). “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, U.S. officials said Wednesday,” the Associated Press adds (Pennington, 11/13). In addition, “the U.S. said it would send two ships from Japan — the USS Ashland and USS Germantown — to pick up marines in Okinawa and then sail to the Philippines to join the other U.S. navy ships that are already en route,” Financial Times writes (Sevastopulo/Landingin, 11/13). “President Obama on Wednesday announced a new White House website linking to charitable and relief organizations working to aid the victims of Typhoon Haiyan,” The Hill’s “Briefing Room” blog reports (Sink, 11/13). Devex provides statistics regarding the international aid response so far (Santamaria, 11/13).

Additional coverage is available from the Associated Press/Washington Post, BBC News, Devex, The Hill’s “DEFCON Hill” blog, the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies press release, NBC News’ “World News” blog, Reuters, the Washington Post, UNICEF, and a WHO press release.