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Fundamental humanitarian constraints exposed by Philippines typhoon, U.N. official says

November 13th, 2013
03:23 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The humanitarian devastation in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines shows just how overstretched the global humanitarian community is, John Ging, director of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said Wednesday.

“One of the biggest constraints that we have is that we can’t fill the warehouses in anticipation of these disasters because we’re overstretched worldwide,” Ging told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

“There are children starving in the Sahel; you look at Syria every day,” he said. “We are chronically underfunded as a humanitarian community, and then when these natural disasters hit us suddenly, we don’t also have the logistical or the supplies to hand.”

It always, therefore, takes a couple of days for the humanitarian support to mobilize, as he said we are now seeing.

More than 2,000 tons of rice have been delivered to the Philippines by the World Food Programme; but the government says that more than two million people need help, many of whom are in remote areas made even more inaccessible by storm damage.

Ging called the devastation “quite unprecedented.”

The primary need of Filipinos is food, he told Pleitgen, but also water and shelter, in the wake of a storm that destroyed countless fragile houses.

The destruction of infrastructure presents humanitarian workers with “a major logistical challenge,” he said, “and that’s why they’re so frustrated that it’s taking so long.”

Cooperation with the Filipino military, he told Pleitgen, including the use of helicopters, is aiding with the distribution.

“The Philippines as a country have invested hugely in this, but the scale of what is required is beyond their means,” Ging said.

“We talk the talk as an international community, but we don’t walk the walk when it’s putting the resources at the disposal to ensure that we can instantly” respond to disasters.


Filed under:  Latest Episode • Philippines
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Paul Ignacio

    Finally that operation are started. We can not always blame someone for all the mistakes or what went wrong. If we look all the last history of the Philippines, all the last years ex-president they didn't really work hard for the country to boost the economy and to buy more equipment or transportation for all this kind what the Philippines they need right now. Philippines have less and old helicopters at the last two years. But also fix wings aircraft and sea vessels. I think President Aquino is trying to buy some of them again. With the lack of money, they only buying the old or second hand. But still he is doing it. The problem also in the Philippines if the president buy more of things, some of the people in the Philippines will say that he is only spending money for nothing and this is also a big problem for being a president in the Philippines. I hope all filipino's have already learned from all they have experienced to prevent and to be sure that they all safe and live happily in the coming future...

    November 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • leonilo

      you are right....instead of supporting the president they criticizing him,, that is why we are still in the lowest part. its time for us to change we still have time, lets move on... let us pray for the Philippines.........................God bless to our President Noynoy.......,

      November 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
      • jrmagtago

        well he started to blame and criticize the lgu which they are also affected than to help so the result he is the one who is also to blame because he should be in command to all this things but the result is like a crap so instead blaming lgu what if the first place he should persuade his countrymen to help those victims of typhoon instead of blaming in the first place.

        November 14, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • injpn

      the rich are busy buying paintings and diamonds. it will take some time for them to get bored and throw some quarter to the needy.

      November 14, 2013 at 7:41 am | Reply
  2. Jule Mozar

    That's exactly Right Paul. The governments are too corrupt to properly protect or provide for it's people. This cannot be blamed on shortage of humanitarian efforts.

    November 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  3. Rowena Boquiren

    That news account from Cooper was not any help!!!

    I hope reporters that CNN listens to have a good sense of the real challenges - less useless commentary, please. Please share this post from a friend:

    Oscar V. Campomanes ADDENDUM ni Bong Austero (salamat sa perpektiba at mahinahong, at di-alarmistang, pagbabahagi Bong!!) - "At the Tacloban airport early today, I did see Anderson Cooper and the rest of the foreign media people.

    I understand their concern and we should be happy that they are here to raise more awareness about what else needs to be done. At the very least the global coverage should increase the flow of relief goods. But word of caution, our perspectives are not the same. They are used to clearing operations using heavy equipment that is readily available. They have the technology, the supplies, the chemicals, etc, etc, etc all readily available.

    But this does not mean we cannot and should not aspire for more efficient and more effective disaster response.

    Today was much better in terms of clearing efforts. Let's keep the bayanihan spirit going.

    More cities from all over the Philippines should send a volunteer team to TAcloban, Guiaun, Palo, Ormoc, Tanauan, Basey, Tolosa, Dulag, Sta Fe, Alang alang for medical, clearing, and other necessary efforts.

    We should welcome more global aid.

    We should stop focusing more on controls in the relief distribution and just focus on flooding Leyte and Samar with relief goods. So what if a family gets more than their share, they need to survive for more than a week anyway. If there is so much relief goods coming in, then let's make sure they are brought to the people quickly."

    about an hour ago · Edited · Unlike · 7

    November 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • Pinay

      reaction lng po s statement mo na "They are used to clearing operations using heavy equipment that is readily available. They have the technology, the supplies, the chemicals, etc, etc, etc all readily available." you know why they have those? because their government made sure of acquiring them for use during "disasters like typhoons and earth quake in the event their country will need.
      How many typhoons do we have in the Philippines? How many years have our country suffered calamities due to typhoons like Yolanda? Our government did not even think of it besides, where's the government's common sense? Everybody in the Philippines know that Yolanda will be the biggest typhoon in history, did they even plan or anticipated the effects? Buwan buwan me bagyo, lagi n lng me baha me landslide, me nasasalanta, ano p kaya ang effect ng super typhoon? d b sumagi s isip ng Gobyerno na higit ang kakailanganin ng mga Lugar na dadaanan ni Yolanda, bkit ngayon lng nila naiisip na mahihirapan makarating ang mga tulong s area?
      Matagal na tayong ganyan? Matagal ng nahihirapan ang bayan natin, ano ang dahilan, ang gobyerno ang dapat mangunang ayusin ang bansa dahil un ang pangako nila ng cla ay nanghihingi ng ating boto... Kaya wag mo ng kampihan pa...

      November 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • OFIENES

        Very well said Ms Pinay. Sa totoo lang iyan din ang punto ko. Why not focused on the preventive measures sa mga calamidad na lagi lagi naman tayong binibisita every now and then. Masaya na ba sila sa pagbibigay ng relief goods everytime na may mga ganitong pangyayari. Pwede naman itong maiwasan sa mga darating pang mga panahon kung maglalaan lang tayo ng enough funds or i prioritise ito ng ating mga lawmakers. Ang problema, pag may naaamoy na silang budget, inuuna nila ang kanilang bulsa na punuin at ayaw na nilang makinabang ang mga mamamayan na umasa at bumoto sa kanila sa pagasang magbabago ang takbo ng pamamumuno sa ating bansa. We always hope na sila ang less evil na pwedeng magbigay ng magandang pagasa sa mga darating pang generasyon. But to this point, wala na talagang pagasa, lalahatin ko na na wala na tayong mapili sa mga leader na nakaupo ngayon. They make it as a business when running for government positions. Namumuhunan sila tuwing eleksyon para bumawi pag nakaupo na sila.
        Sa ngayon pati ang ibang bansa ay nakakapuna na sa klase ng leadership ng ating gobyerno or ng ating presidente. I think nagkamali ang mga bumoto sa kanya.

        November 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • T-Roy

      What is it that the foreign media has said that is not true?

      The fact that he is exposing what everyone else already knows is of no consequence. The Government gets no criticism from the local media. The own the local media. No local journalist with any brains would ever criticize the governors or Mayors... it could end up deadly for them. Anderson Cooper will not be shot and killed, but any local Pinoy who would report that would be in the bottom of Manila bay by sundown.

      I think it is wonderful and refreshing for Anderson Cooper to state what the entire country already knows as fact. Our government is corrupt, lazy and indifferent to the poor, darkskinned locals who inhabit any place outside of Forbes, Das Marinas, Urdeneta and perhaps Greenhills.

      The Philippines Government are mostly rich family members given the job by the parents and grandparents. No one has any interest in leading or managing a city or barangay, much less an entire province. They take the job in order to make money from pork and then they give the money to their families to pay for private school, range rovers, expensive homes and most of all trips to California and Hong Kong to buy houses and invest outside the country.

      When a calamity hits, those people are not in Tacloban, they are in Hong Kong, or California, or even Manila, but no one is going to hang around and sink with the ship. Tacloban was a mess because all the people with decision making ability, left. Cowards and sons of cowards. Hey Tacloban! How do you like Imelda and her family now?!

      November 18, 2013 at 1:27 am | Reply
  4. Michael

    Corporation are sitting on enormous amounts of stock and doing stock buy backs, while the US cannot maintain its infrastructure of roads, bridges, sewers and schools, and the world cannot afford humanitarian aid, while the Republicans scream "cut taxes."

    November 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  5. jhong

    i pray that this event wont happen to your country and to the rest of the world.

    November 13, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  6. Sergey

    And even on Philippines help comes with Russian helicopter...

    November 13, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Reply
    • Al

      да, спасибо правительству России!

      (Yes, thank you to the Russian government!)

      November 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  7. Jay S. Villan

    Let us not forget the Philippines experienced the same disasters in the previous years. We are still recovering. A couple of months ago there was the Zamboanga Crisis. Last month, the 7.2 Magnitude in Bohol and Cebu. We don't have the same resources as other countries have when it comes to disaster mitigation. We only use what we have. I know our government is working hard to alleviate the suffering.

    November 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  8. Ben

    Enough talk and analysis. It is time for quick action first. Talk, analyze and blame later. Better still, just move on and focus on constructive and positive thoughts.

    November 13, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  9. Rachelle

    All foreign donations go through the Commission of Audit where officials can put the money into their pockets. The aid money will be divided by the crocodiles in government, never mind the poor and the suffering. This is too much money for these corrupt officials, their eyes are already bulging with greed. http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/11/13/1256239/foreign-aid-balloons-p2.36-b-coa-audit-donations

    November 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • junglejem

      Sorry to say that from day 2 i monitored closely the philippine news until now day 6 not so much enough food for the most dislocated areas and from downtown still noodles and sardines, how can people survived and where are the foreign donations....UN cannot sustain the needs in two weeks from now coz they still help some other counties , when these good hearted people return to thier respected countries i believe tacloban,leyte and the remote area will be left hungry DEAD.....corrupt phil goverment!

      November 14, 2013 at 1:39 am | Reply
  10. Ronaldo Luis G. Facun

    I am not talking b4 the disaster. Sa katunayan pinapanuod ko sa TV kung pano maghanda ang NDRRMC/National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, The National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC) or formerly called National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) is an agency of the Philippine government under the Department of National Defense, responsible for ensuring the protection and welfare of the people during disasters or emergencies, kung pano inihahanda ang mga tao at mga gamit for rescue operation.

    I'm talking aftermath, on how they dealt and decide action quickly of implementing rescue operation and deploying people on some government agencies (ei; Police force, Armed Forces of the Philippines (w/ their new and refurbished helicopters), LGU's (Local Government Unit) from other parts near/far from the devastated area.

    Si Korina Sanches (Anchor, ABS-CBN), sumama ang loob niya ke Anderson Cooper at wala daw katotohanan ang mga sinabi niya (Anderson) sa enterview w/ CNN, (Sec. Mar Roxas is the Vice chairman of NDRRMC and husband of Korina na after the tragedy nag-earial view na gamit ang helicopter. Si Korina masarap ang pagkaupo sa "both room" ng news center samantalang si Anderson Cooper (CNN) nandun mismo sa pinangyarihan ng tragedy.

    Hindi ako nanisi sa post ko, kundi'y, para sa aken kung ako ang mamuno, lahat ng inter-agency ng gobyerno ay i-order ko upang i-deploy sa lugar right after na nangyari ang disaster. Eh ang nakita ko pa sa news nag deploy order nga ang DND at nagpadala lang ng konteng sundalo at pulis sa lugar. Si P-noy, nag walk-out sa meeting after sa nangyari at nagagalit kasi mali mali ang report sa kanya ng NDRRMC.

    November 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  11. Road

    Hope all the donation will really go to the people that are victims. They should not entrust the donationa from other country to the philippine government because we have a corrupt government.

    November 13, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  12. Mocs

    Prepared or unprepared is not the question o n the problems corruption in the philippine goverment is the main issue why we pilipinos could not stand with our own. Even President Pinoy could nt descline his Cabinets, he keeps on defencing his polical allies.

    November 13, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  13. Girl

    I agree that almost all ex-president didn't work hard for the country but it doesn't makes him different as well as his administration. Afer 6 days of the typhoon, the president had done ironing his plan and DSWD Sec. Sulayman had just arrived in the area, THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH did nothing. We didnt even see from RED CROSS. I know Chairman Gordon is very active to help but I think there's a problem for the transportation.. As the Presiden of the country, you have the voice to command and ask help to his countrymen first and Foreign Aid will follow. But WATCHOUT!!! If you wish to help its better to give materials, shelter such as Tent and foods directly to the victims or to the designated NGO'S in cash, materials and foods (ABC-CBN SAGIP KAPAMILY, GMA STATION, TV5 AND PHILIPPINES RED CROSS). We have on-going unresolve scam issue regarding Foreign Aid and income for natural resources whom the some veteran SENATORS AND some CEO's were still under iinvestigation. . Don't give chance to corrupt non-politicians/politicians to use YOU or your NGO'S to ask an Aid or might be use this coming 2016 election purposes. I hope the president or any assign department have advance plan A, B, C D...and Z for calamities. Its not the first time we encountered calamities like Yolanda. Typhoon Sendong and Pablo were also devastating. But why it always back to Zero plan. There's nothing wrong with the relief goods but how do this people eat the uncooked rice? They dont have any left even a matchstick. I hope the DSWD and REd cross could plan to assign every 1-2km station for cook foods and water. Victims are nowhere to go. Looking and waiting for nothing. Feed them first! I remember a day or 2 day after the typhoon, I received an email from a friend in Australia he said to me that " I donated a big some of money in Red Cross but I dont understand why no one organized for an urgent help.' I hope to those department who are involved in helping the victims and to do the rescue TO ACT NOW or might be those survivors will die due to starvation and illnesses.

    November 13, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  14. Javed Iqbal

    In the wake of such unthinkable natural disasters , even the wealthy countries of the world can not manage the affairs at the very beginning but every thing comes to normality in some days. Therefore, the Government of Philippines is not to be blamed if some shortcomings are being observed in the supply of relief goods and rehabilitation work.

    November 14, 2013 at 2:29 am | Reply
  15. Proud to be Filipino, Ashamed of my government

    Thank you CNN, I am a Filipino and currently living here, it breaks my heart seeing my fellow countrymen suffered that much. We are thankful that we are spared from the calamity but my relatives are not, they are still suffering there, it is hard for us to get them and bring them to a safe place like ours, all we had to do is rely on the news to know every situation that happened in the affected areas. Unfortunately the local news is a big joke right now, they are bias, we cannot trust them anymore. The only news we trust now is from CNN, please continue what you are doing, you are the only hope for the truth! God bless CNN!

    November 14, 2013 at 2:38 am | Reply
  16. ashok

    Given the scale of devastation, some time is bound to be lost before relief efforts can be coordinated and food / other aid starts reaching the affected people.

    November 14, 2013 at 3:11 am | Reply
  17. desert voice

    Moments as these validate my long-standing advocacy for an "equivalent money." A money like this, pink dollars, could be used in cases of global disasters, without overburding global economies and nations!

    November 14, 2013 at 5:34 am | Reply
  18. T-Roy

    Manila is sitting on 10 million tons of rice. I wonder why they don't donate it to their own people?

    I believe there is at least 1 million tons of rice sitting in a holding area with the port authority. Rice illegally imported into manila and confescated by the customs department. Gee, wouldn't it make sense to free this up and give it to the poor people starving in Leyte? Does the customs officials value the profit they will make selling this loot on the open market over saving lives? I guess you know the answer to that one....oh please Korina Sanchez, don't get mad at me for exposing this, I am sure they have a good reason to be either dumb or greedy/ perhaps both...

    November 18, 2013 at 1:31 am | Reply
  19. La Luce Galaites

    We thank the foreign governments and CNN, which I consider to be the last bastion of truth. May I echo the statement of Mr. T Roy, Mr. Facun and Pinay who are equally unnerved at the deplorable status of the Philippine government's response and non-response to the disaster. So true when seen in the eyes of the world, through CNN/BBC here, yet evokes a another facet of truth when spoken by Filipinos themselves. We salute the various humanitarian missions, the humbling statement of the UN, and the action oriented people of the world, Filipinos and non Filipinos alike. As for the advocacy of desert voice on equivalent money, maybe we should start to reconsider this in preparation to disasters and the resultant effect it will have on peoples of the world. Once again, warmest praises to CNN.

    November 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  20. Anna

    Hi. I wanted to ask You, what do You think about inter-agency coordination while helping typhoon victims? Is it poor? What would You suggest to do to change it for better? With so many agencies wanting to help it is important that the people/area of devastation are not overwhelmed nor receive an overload of one type of help and a insufficient of another.

    January 9, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Reply

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