Better Food Distribution and New Field Hospital Help Typhoon-Ravaged Tacloban

Over 280,000 family food packs have been distributed

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Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters

Six-year old Angela, of the central Philippine town of Palo, undergoes an operation performed by a team of Belgian and German doctors and nurses at a make-shift hospital opened by Belgian relief organization B-Fast in Palo, November 15, 2013.

Relief efforts appear to have gained momentum, a full week after Supertyphoon Haiyan devastated eastern provinces of the Philippines. The development will come as a relief to the people of the hardest hit locality, the city of Tacloban, where earlier efforts were hampered by lack of fuel and transport, blocked roads and security fears.

Belgian relief organization B-Fast arrived in Tacloban on Sunday, but only set up its field hospital on the city outskirts on Friday, after finally receiving supplies and equipment two days ago.

Speaking from Tacloban, Silke Buhr, World Food Programme (WFP) regional spokesperson in Asia, said that food distribution had been operating since Tuesday, and that the deliveries are becoming more effective.

“People have arrived with tuk-tuks and pickup trucks to bring food to their barangays. Now, we have trucks arriving, and we’re looking at an increased use of the waterways in order to reach affected communities.”

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, which is in charge of delivering relief in Tacloban, reported the distribution of 285,250 family food packs as of Friday.

“I’ve been amazed with the positivity and optimism of the people here,” says Buhr. “Most people don’t have any means of transport, but the people who do manage to get goods have shared with their neighbors.”