Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines: Getting Aid to Typhoon-Ravaged Villages in the Philippines


Blog by Laura Sheahen, Senior Communications Officer

Getting a truck full of rice sacks through the streets of a typhoon-ravaged city presents special challenges. Bent electrical poles tilt precariously above, jumbles of wires stretch low across the road, and scattered debris waits to puncture tires.

Ten days after Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines, a CARE truck threads its way across a semi-blockaded bridge and manages not to scrape the listing poles. In the week after the storm, CARE distributed food in this coastal city of Ormoc. Now it’s trying to reach people in more far-flung areas. The staff of CARE’s local partner ACCORD have worked around the clock to get this large rice shipment into port. The next logistical challenge is getting it to the warehouse.

Several kilometers along, the truck stops. We jump out and examine a back tire—is it flat? Then we see a large rock wedged between the double tires. Staff work on prying it out and soon we’re on the road again.

Passing splayed trees and long lines of people waiting for cell phone charging stations, the truck makes it to the warehouse. ACCORD volunteers quickly unload the heavy sacks, open them, and start sorting the rice into smaller bags. Some of the volunteers have said they’ll work till midnight—they just want to help. After an hour, the floor of the warehouse is a rainbow of colored bags. The bagged rice will make up part of a food package for families in remote areas.

The coming days will certainly present another series of challenges as CARE and ACCORD work to get the rice to families outside the city. Leaving the coast, steep roads with pavement gaps lead up to the mountains, where crops like cabbage and tomato have been wiped out.  Farmers can’t sell their surplus vegetables for rice, as they used to, and have no other way to buy the staple food. With our four-wheel drive vehicles and some luck, CARE will make it. We need to as people rely on our assistance.

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