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Monday, November 11, 2013

In Typhoon-Ravaged Philippines, Aid Trickles In

A man walks home with his son Monday Nov. 11, 2013 following Friday's devastating typhoon that lashed Hernani township, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines. (Bullit Marquez/AP)

A man walks home with his son Monday Nov. 11, 2013 following Friday’s devastating typhoon that lashed Hernani township, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines. (Bullit Marquez/AP)

“In some cases the devastation has been total.” That’s how Philippine Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras describes the scene, after one of the worst typhoons in the country’s history.

There’s little in the way of utilities, food, water or fuel, and thousands are feared dead in the central Philippines. Survivors still appear to be in shock as they pick through the remains of their homes today.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks to the BBC’s Alastair Leithead and Dr. Natasha Reyes of Doctors Without Borders, both on the island of Cebu, about the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan. We also hear a piece from the BBC’s Jon Donnison in Tacloban, one of the hardest-hit cities.

To hear the interview with the BBC’s Alastair Leithead, see the audio at the top of the page.

Interview Highlights

Jon Donnison on the scene just after touching down at the Tacloban airport

“The terminal building, ripped apart in front of me—a mess of broken concrete and twisted metal. The aid operation is underway here, there are choppers trying to distribute it as best as they can. And at the gate of this airport, hundreds of people gathering—they are desperate to get hold of whatever aid they can.”

Dr. Natasha Reyes on the dead bodies in the streets

“No, it is not a health hazard, at least now. What I am more concerned about, as a doctor, are the people who sustained wounds. There are seriously wounded people, and even probably more with minor wounds and minor wounds can become dangerous as time goes by if they are not treated well. It can have infection and it can have tetanus.”

Alastair Leithhead on the island of Cebu

“It is completely dark because all the power is out here. There’s only a little moonlight from behind the clouds and an orange glow of fires that people have lit outside their homes. What an eerie scene actually, there’s the wind whipping in here, there’s battered palm trees … there’s power lines just hanging down, trees, bits of metal, shrubs all scattered around. And this is an area that just was clipped by the typhoon. This isn’t the area that took the full force of it — that is some miles further up the road. That is something that we will have to look at at first light because it is very difficult to go any further in the darkness.”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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