Skip to main content

Typhoon Haiyan: No medicine, little aid at Tacloban clinic

By Chelsea J. Carter, Anderson Cooper and Anna Coren, CNN
November 14, 2013 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "We don't have medicines. We don't have supplies," a doctor tells CNN
  • NEW: The elderly and children are the priority in military airlifts, a Philippine officer says
  • The latest death toll in the Philippines is 2,357, disaster officials say
  • Relief effort "far too slow," U.N. emergency aid chief says

Are you in the affected area? Send us images and video, but please stay safe.

Tacloban, Philippines (CNN) -- The cries of the suffering carried through a small, cramped one-story clinic in typhoon-ravaged Tacloban where the medicine was all but gone Thursday, but the number of wounded in the hard-hit Philippine city continued to grow.

The clinic at the airport in the decimated capital city of Leyte province is one of the few places where those injured in Super Typhoon Haiyan and its aftermath can turn for help, what little help there is six days after the storm.

"We don't have any medicines. We don't have any supplies. We have IVs, but it's running out," Dr. Katrina Catabay told CNN.

"Most of the people don't have water and food. That's why they come here. Most of the kids are dehydrated. They are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting."

Help is coming, on military and civilian transports, by air and by sea. But much of it has been piling up at airports.

Typhoon survivors: Where is the help?
A man reconstructs his house in the bay of Tacloban, Leyte province, Philippines, on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, hit the country's eastern seaboard on November 8, leaving a wide swath of destruction, including more than 5,000 deaths. A man reconstructs his house in the bay of Tacloban, Leyte province, Philippines, on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, hit the country's eastern seaboard on November 8, leaving a wide swath of destruction, including more than 5,000 deaths.
Photos: Typhoon Haiyan
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Typhoon Haiyan Photos: Typhoon Haiyan
'We miss our homes, have nothing to eat'
Special type of aid needed in Philippines

While relief organizations say they have been able to deliver limited aid to some victims, many CNN crews reported seeing little sign of any large-scale organized relief effort in the hardest-hit areas.

Blame Haiyan and its unprecedented strength and scope, said UNICEF spokesman Christopher De Bono.

"I don't think that's anyone's fault. I think it's the geography and the devastation," he said.

Still, the desperation is increasing, and becoming more serious.

"We mostly need food and water, that's the most important," Catabay said. "We need supplies."

At the clinic, a Philippine military officer called names off a clipboard, the names of those who will be airlifted out of the city.

"The elderly, the children that are sick" are the priority, the officer said.

For at least one man, the evacuation came too late.

The man died at the clinic. His body was put on a gurney and pushed to the end of a hallway because there is nowhere to put him, the clinic staff said.

Death toll climbs

Throughout the devastation, bodies of victims lie buried in the debris or out in the open.

The government hasn't counted them all yet, but initial fears that 10,000 may have died have subsided.

By Thursday morning, the official death toll had climbed to 2,357, disaster officials said. The typhoon left 3,853 people injured and 77 people missing, according to the Philippines' National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Emotional extremes for families of typhoon victims

Mayor of Tacloban's story of survival
Storm survivors desperate for aid
Survivors tell stories of terrible loss

The toll is "going to be horrific," Philippine Interior Minister Mar Roxas said.

"There are still many towns that have not sent in complete reports and out of the 40 towns of Leyte, for example, only 20 have been contacted. So there's another 20 towns with no communication," he said.

"It's going to be a high death toll. I don't want to go into just throwing out numbers."

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that he expected the final number would likely be around 2,000 to 2,500.

Faces of the storm

When it struck Friday, Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda, flattened entire towns.

The storm destroyed at least 80,000 homes, according to the latest Philippine government accounting. Although estimates of the number left homeless vary, the Philippine government puts it at more than 582,000.

Expecting to die

The storm also shattered families. Mayple Nunal and her husband, Ignacio, lost their two daughters, Gnacy Pearl and Gnacy May -- washed away when the storm's ferocious storm surge ripped through Tacloban.

"The big waves, we were like inside the washing machine," Mayple Nunal said. "And we were expecting that we would die."

While Nunal and her husband are safe, receiving treatment in Cebu, United Nations officials have warned of increasing desperation and lawlessness among those left homeless.

Eight people died when a wall collapsed Tuesday during a stampede at a government warehouse in Leyte province, Philippine National Food Authority administrator Orlan Calayag said Wednesday. Police and security stood by as people stormed the building and took some 100,000 sacks of rice, he said.

The United Nations said the situation is especially dangerous for women and children. Some areas haven't been reached yet, according to Valerie Amos, the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief.

PHILIPPINES AID (IN U.S. $)

Australia: 30 million

U.N.: 25 million

UK: 24 million

U.S.: 20 million

Japan: 10 million

Denmark: 6.9 million

European Union: 4.1 million

Sweden: 3.6 million

UAE: 10 million

South Korea: 5 million

Canada: 4.8 million

Norway: 3.4 million

Switzerland: 3.4 million

Indonesia: 2 million

Spain: 1.8 million

New Zealand: 1.75 million

China: 1.6 million

Ireland: 1.4 million

Italy: 1.3 million

Mexico: 1 million

Austria: 690,000

Belgium: 690,000

Czech Republic: 214,000

Singapore:160,000

Vatican: 150,000

Vietnam: 100,000



Source: U.N. OCHA, government officials, reports

Police warned a CNN crew to turn back Wednesday on the road south of Tacloban, saying rebels had been shooting at civilians.

"Maybe they are looking for food," a police commander told CNN.

Scenes of devastation, calls for help

"Pushing aid" to Tacloban

There were, however, some successes.

U.S. Marines arrived Wednesday in Cebu, transforming the sleepy airbase there into a buzzing center of activity as cargo aircraft, tilt-rotor Ospreys and camouflaged Marines got to work preparing for the enormous job of receiving, sorting and delivering aid to millions in need.

Two 747 airplanes loaded with humanitarian aid from the United States have arrived, and Marines are "pushing aid" from Cebu to Tacloban, Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy said on CNN's "Situation Room"

"It's a serious situation down here," Kennedy said. "...Some of those neighborhoods are inundated with water, and some of it's inaccessible" because of the debris.

One of the big problems is figuring out how to get needed supplies, including heavy machinery, to these areas.

"It's a matter of capacity at this point. This just doesn't come out of a box. It has to be moved down here. It's a remote location," he said.

The Royal Australian Air Force also landed at Cebu, delivering a portable field hospital that was soon sent on its way to Tacloban. Taiwanese troops also arrived with medical aid, and Doctors Without Borders said three of nine cargo shipments it has planned also arrived in Cebu on Wednesday.

The planes carried medical supplies, shelter materials, hygiene kits and other gear, the agency said.

Opinion: Childhood in the path of typhoons

U.N.: Pace of relief lacking

Teams from Doctors Without Borders also have reached remote Guiuan, a village of about 45,000 that was among the first areas hit by the full force of the storm, the agency said.

"The situation here is bleak," said Alexis Moens, the aid group's assessment team leader. "The village has been flattened -- houses, medical facilities, rice fields, fishing boats all destroyed. People are living out in the open; there are no roofs left standing in the whole of Guiuan. The needs are immense and there are a lot of surrounding villages that are not yet covered by any aid organizations."

Meanwhile, the U.N. World Food Programme began distributing food in Tacloban, handing out rice to 3,000 people on Wednesday, the agency said, and the U.S. Agency for International Development also said it expected to deliver its first shipment of relief supplies to victims on Wednesday.

The uptick in aid deliveries comes a day after the road between the capital, Manila, and hard-hit Tacloban opened, holding out the promise that aid will begin to flow more quickly.

But six days after the storm struck -- with more than 2 million people in need of food, according to the Philippine government -- even the U.N.'s Amos acknowledged the pace of relief is still lacking.

"This is a major operation that we have to mount," she said Wednesday. "We're getting there. But in my view it's far too slow."

Philippine President Aquino has defended relief efforts, saying that in addition to all the challenges of blocked roads and downed power and communication lines, local governments were overwhelmed, forcing the federal government to step in and perform both its own role and those of local officials.

Most of all, he told CNN on Tuesday, "nobody imagined the magnitude that this super typhoon brought on us."

Could mystery man on tape be patriarch of 30 missing?

CNN's Anderson Cooper reported from Tacloban, Anna Coren reported from Cebu and Chelsea J. Carter reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Paula Hancocks and Andrew Stevens contributed from Tacloban, and Ivan Watson contributed from Cebu. CNN's Ben Brumfield , Michael Pearson and Nana Karikari-apau contributed from Atlanta.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Typhoon Haiyan
November 20, 2013 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
A dozen body bags line the street in Tacloban -- one of the towns hardest hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan -- as locals walk through the destruction of what used to be their homes.
November 19, 2013 -- Updated 2007 GMT (0407 HKT)
Cadaver dog teams are on the ground in the Philippines, helping to locate victims still buried in the rubble.
November 19, 2013 -- Updated 1002 GMT (1802 HKT)
CNN's Airmie Jarin-Bennett, an expat Filipino, returned to her native land after Typhoon Haiyan. Nothing prepared her for what she found there.
November 19, 2013 -- Updated 0427 GMT (1227 HKT)
As thousands of traumatized typhoon survivors struggled to escape the stricken city of Tacloban, Gina Ladrera was desperate to get back in.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
Karl Penhaul reports from the middle of the Tacloban devastation using a drone camera to get a bird's eye view.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 1737 GMT (0137 HKT)
The USS George Washington is expected to leave the Philippines once two amphibious ships arrive there Wednesday, officials say.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
Australian Jason Day was out on the course at Royal Melbourne on Monday.
The golf community is rallying around Jason Day after it emerged the Australian lost eight members of his family during the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 2141 GMT (0541 HKT)
The aftermath of Haiyan and the need for aid has celebrities working phones and taking donations. Max Foster reports.
November 19, 2013 -- Updated 0426 GMT (1226 HKT)
As an expression of hard power, they don't come bigger or more fearsome than the USS George Washington.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 0821 GMT (1621 HKT)
The tiny, baby girl barely moves as she lies wrapped in a bundle of yellow plastic and green cloth on a peeling brown mattress made for a child far larger than she.
November 19, 2013 -- Updated 0204 GMT (1004 HKT)
The USS George Washington is on the front lines of the aid mission in the Philippines. CNN's Anna Coren reports.
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 0612 GMT (1412 HKT)
The day after the typhoon, Father Edwin Bacaltos stepped out of the compound of the Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in central Tacloban and began his work.
November 15, 2013 -- Updated 0533 GMT (1333 HKT)
Explore stories from typhoon survivors, relief workers, and officials from eight regions across the Philippines.
November 17, 2013 -- Updated 2347 GMT (0747 HKT)
A distraught mother who lost her young sons in the tidal surge of Super Typhoon Haiyan feels her life is over.
November 17, 2013 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
This video shows how strong the storm surge was during Super Typhoon Haiyan.
November 17, 2013 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
CNN's Anna Coren reports from Tacloban's airport as Typhoon Haiyan survivors wait to evacuate.
November 15, 2013 -- Updated 1421 GMT (2221 HKT)
The Philippine govt. is defending its efforts against accusations people there are not getting desperately needed help.
November 22, 2013 -- Updated 1921 GMT (0321 HKT)
How charities and nongovernmental organizations from around the world are responding to the disaster, and how you can help them make a difference.
November 27, 2013 -- Updated 2354 GMT (0754 HKT)
The storm affected 4.3 million people in 36 provinces and displaced more than 340,000.
November 27, 2013 -- Updated 2333 GMT (0733 HKT)
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in recorded history, left thousands of victims in its wake.
November 27, 2013 -- Updated 2324 GMT (0724 HKT)
Troops and aid organizations help Filipinos struggling to survive the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in recorded history.
November 11, 2013 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
CNN reporters capture sounds and images of Typhoon Haiyan's devastating trek through Tacloban, Philippines.
November 11, 2013 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
'I was gob-smacked as we made our final approach into the ruins of the airport in Tacloban,' says CNN's Ivan Watson.
December 7, 2013 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
Flattened forests and flooded villages in the Philippines seen from the air.
ADVERTISEMENT