Typhoon Haiyan has affected more than 13 million people.
The relief efforts in the Philippines continue slowly as aid workers and military forces try to deal with the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda.
The typhoon, which made landfall in the Philippines on November 7, has affected an upwards 13 million people according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA), and has displaced approximately 3 million.
Though supplies such as fresh water and food have been delivered to the Philippines by ships and cargo planes there are a number of problems in trying to distribute the supplies. The extreme amounts of infrastructure damage incurred by the typhoon have left roads closed, and in combination with the lack of cargo vehicles to haul the supplies, efforts to provide aid to some regions have been greatly hindered.
Moreover, the vast amounts of people who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan make relief efforts difficult. A warehouse in Alangalang that held a government stockpile of rice collapsed, killing eight people, when it was raided. Approximately 33,000 bags of rice, each weighing 110 pounds, were stolen from the warehouse. Other warehouses throughout the country have been raided as well, causing stampedes that have killed a number of people, and in some cities people have moved to raiding homes after stores were completely emptied as people fight to survive.
As the relief efforts continue, the death toll rises. As of Saturday, November 16, the total number of confirmed deaths was 3633 people, and 1871 people were officially listed as missing. Mass burials have taken place in Philippine cities, such as Tacloban, as officials try to deal with the scores of bodies that have been recovered. The public has not been allowed to view the bodies and they are interred unidentified, with a photograph is taken of each of the bodies by forensic experts, as well as a tissue sample so that they may later be identified by family and through DNA testing.
The death toll is expected to increase as more bodies are discovered and as people die from the after-
effects of the storm. In addition to the deaths that have occurred in the stampedes trying to get supplies from the relief effort warehouses a number of people have died due to the lack of medical resources, food, and clean drinking water.
In some parts of the country people have been able to dig up water pipes and boil the water before drinking it in order to survive until help can reach them, but in other areas people struggle to find clean water. The risk of water becoming contaminated after a storm such as a typhoon is very high, as chemicals and sewage seeps into the drinking water, and the consumption of water that has been contaminated can cause several different types of infections and diseases that can lead to death. The same problem occurs with food. As victims of the typhoon struggle to survive they may consume food that has been contaminated and this too can cause illnesses that can result in death.
The lack of medical resources, such as medicine and electricity for operating medical machines, limits the ability to treat those injured by Typhoon Haiyan. Due to the warm climate of the Philippines open wounds become infected very quickly and the lack of antibiotics makes them impossible to treat, leading to several people dying from infection in the wake of the storm. Though relief organizations such as the Red Cross work to set up medical facilities for the storm victims, those in areas that cannot be reached or that cannot reach the facilities succumb to their injuries.
Relief efforts continue as more organizations arrive from various parts of the world to provide assistance, bringing in more food, water, clothing, and medicine for the survivors. The different organizations now work to find a way to provide shelter to the victims of the typhoon, as well as an adequate means of distributing supplies and reaching survivors in more isolated parts of the country.