Here’s what I have gathered from an international relief agency which I’m assisting in its entry in the country. The agency has vast experience in war and disaster emergencies, and in setting up and operating refugee camps.
The situation in the most affected areas of Leyte and Samar has now been declared as a Category 3 disaster area by international relief agencies. It is the highest possible category of emergency given in any disaster situation. The situation is that grim. In many areas, there are no structures, trees, or anything upright and useful that have been left standing.
There’s a huge amount of relief goods already stationed in Cebu City waiting to be transported to Leyte. However, even if the relief goods can be transported to Tacloban, the huge logistical problems are as follows: 1. there are barely no functioning vehicles that can be used to transport the relief goods to the affected areas. As soon as the goods arrive in Tacloban, the relief goods are snapped up by our desperate countrymen waiting at any of the unloading areas like the Tacloban airport. As a result, relief goods do not reach outlying areas. 2. The roads to the outlying communities still have many obstacles that prevent travel; 2. There are no shelters that can house relief workers because there are barely no structure left with roofs. 3. Enough security is not yet in place that would guarantee the safety of relief workers. Because of the victims’ dire hunger/thirst and grim medical conditions, relief workers are at risk of becoming victims of violence if they enforce orderly distribution of goods without sufficient security. Among other many complicated problems on the ground at this point.
The government is faced with so many complicated problems in these relief operations. I am not on the ground and I can only imagine from the comforts of my seat the huge difficulties faced by our government officials. I will cut them some slack at this point, withhold judgment in the meantime , and just do whatever I can to help.