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  • AFP video journalist Agnes Bun arrived in the Philippines a day after typhoon Haiyan hit. Over six days she shot images of a woman sobbing over the body of her five-year-old son and a baby being born in a makeshift hospital among many others. Telling the story behind the story, Bun describes a range of experiences from what it was like working in place with no electricity, no phone lines or mobile network to feeling like a “vulture”, feeding off the misfortune of others. Her thought-provoking blog: Lessons in life from the hell of Haiyan is a must-read for anyone interested in what it’s like to cover huge disasters like the one in the Philippines    
    Often people asked me to film them in the mad hope that I would help them to pass on their personal messages. “Mother, I am alive,” they would say in front of my camera. Of course, it was not possible for me to pass on dozens of desperate messages. But how could I get them to understand this? How could I refuse their pleading? How could I quash the only glimpse of hope that they could see amid this complete destruction? Impossible. So I complied -- I filmed them, although I knew I would never use these images. They thanked me profusely. It broke my heart to be doing this. I felt guilty and weak. But I also saw that this sad charade seemed to really lift their spirits – Agnes Bun, AFP video journalist

    by Katie Nguyen @TR_Foundation via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/27/2013 3:40:57 PM
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  • Philippine farmers need urgent assistance to avoid a "double tragedy" befalling rural survivors of the typhoon that hit the country earlier this month, the United Nations' food agency says
    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/27/2013 9:15:58 AM
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  • Can anyone be blamed for the massive destruction caused by typhoon Haiyan and why is the recovery process so slow? Interesting read in the Irish Examiner
    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/26/2013 2:48:41 PM
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  • The Philippine Congress set up a reconstruction fund of 100 billion pesos ($2.28 billion) after approving next year's national budget, Reuters reports
    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/26/2013 2:47:12 PM
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  • Summary of response acitivities, according to UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), as of Nov 24. Click on infographic to see bigger version.

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  • A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) video documenting the struggle to reach and treat patients in remote communities still cut off after typhoon Haiyan
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  • NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation)—United States Agency for International Development (USAID) applied lessons learned from the tsumani in Indonesia and earthquakes in Haiti and Pakistan in its response to the super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, according to a top agency executive official just back from a weeklong visit to the devastated region.
    “One of the lessons we’ve applied is the local purchase of rice,” Nancy Lindborg, USAID's assistant administrator of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
    USAID fielded an experienced 19-person disaster assistance response team on the ground in the Philippines, supplemented by 50 to 60 additional personnel from USAID’s Philippines mission and its Washington headquarters, she said.
    USAID gave immediate cash--$7,750,000 according to UNICEF’s fact sheet-- to the World Food Programme so that it could purchase rice from local and regional sources, getting it to the people who needed it far faster than by bringing in food from outside, she said.
    The result was food parcels distributed to 2.7 million families. The rice was supplemented by nutritious biscuits and other items flown in from USAID’s regional distribution hub in Dubai, airlifted by U.S. military transport planes. The agency also employed U.S. military aircraft, such as Blackhawk helicopters and Osprey aircraft, to airlift supplies to remote areas in the days before roads were cleared.
    In addition, to date USAID has provided heavy duty plastic sheeting to 20,000 families for temporary shelter, hygiene kits to prevent disease to another 20,000 and water containers to 30,000 households, Lindborg said.
    USAID allocated $750,000 to UNICEF to restore the municipal water system in the devastated city of Tacloban. The repaired system currently is supplying clean water to 200,000 people in that area, she said.
    “The U.S. government put $49 million into the response and that is money that already has been turned into urgent, lifesaving assistance and put into the hands of the people that need it most,” Lindborg said.
    Any lessons learned from the response to the typhoon, Lindborg said, will come when the crisis is over and the after-action reports are analysed.
    by Lisa Anderson@TR_Foundation via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/24/2013 3:08:03 PM
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  • The impact of Typhoon Haiyan is still taking its toll on the Philippines, with key infrastructure such as hospitals destroyed by the storm.

    The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani visited a field hospital set up by German and Belgian medics in Palo, near Tacloban, the only medical centre available in the area.
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  • Maoist rebels have extended for another month a unilateral ceasefire in areas devastated by typhoon Haiyan, ordering guerrillas to help distribute food, water and other relief supplies in coastal and mountain villages
    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/24/2013 10:43:23 AM
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  • It's been two weeks since the typhoon devastated Tacloban city in the Philippines. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy is in Tacloban overseeing U.S. military relief efforts in the Philippines, and he says the city is picking up the pieces, businesses are re-opening and he sees signs up hope in the residents. Here's the radio report from NPR
    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/23/2013 11:07:07 PM
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  • A homeless survivor burns wood beside his damaged house in a community devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban City central Philippines, on Nov. 21, 2013. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

    by Alisa Tang @TR_Foundation via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/22/2013 9:12:14 AM
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  • Residents in typhoon-hit Guiuan evacuated to this school, but the roof was ripped off by the storm, so they are only using the bottom floor, as seen in this video from Plan International.

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  • "With the relief now flowing, people are starting to get back on their feet... I saw people cooking and selling items in the street, fixing their homes, and clearing roads. At the same time there are still many areas such as Guiuan where almost no assistance has got through to people yet. We still have a huge amount to do and will be standing with and working alongside the Philippines people for as long as it takes."


    by Alisa Tang @TR_Foundation via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/22/2013 5:49:20 AM
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  • Please can we have our bells back?

    Typhoon-wrecked Philippine town asks U.
    S.

    A view of the Roman Catholic church and belfry in the coastal Philippine town of Balangiga devastated by super typhoon Haiyan, November 20, 2013. REUTERS/NATHAN LAYNE 


    Reuters reports: In the devastated coastal Philippine town of Balangiga, animosity has festered for more than a century over the seizure of the town's church bells by U.S. troops during the 1899-1902 Philippine-American WarMarciano Deladia, a chief aide to the mayor, and other residents are thankful for the U.S. packets of rice and other food in the typhoon's aftermath. "But we want our bells back," he said. Two of the bells are at the Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. The third is part of a travelling museum now at a base in South Korea.
    Read more here.


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  • Child survivors of the Philippines super typhoon battle to come to terms with the loss of family, friends and homes

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  • This video shows footage taken at 6am on Friday 8 November as typhoon Haiyan hit Hernani in Eastern Samar, Philippines. Plan International’s Nickson Gensis took this while sheltering on the 2nd floor of a house less than a few hundred metres from the sea
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  • Two British politicians write in the International Business Times today about the needs of women and girls in disasters: Whenever conflict or natural disaster devastates communities, women and girls will face specific dangers because of their gender. In addition to losing their homes and loved ones women and girls also face the added risk of gender based violence, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking and early or forced marriage.
    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/21/2013 3:25:19 PM
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  • Credit: REUTERS GRAPHIC

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  • Charity Plan International, working with Oxfam and CAFOD, is purifying drinking water and constructing pit latrines for at least 100,000 people affected by typhoon Haiyan, Britain's Department for International Development said in a briefing on aid operations in the Philippines
    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/21/2013 1:09:53 PM
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  • China sends hospital ship and medical team to the Philippines after criticism of a slow and ungenerous typhoon response

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  • "Philippine orphans fled from room to room to escape sea surge " - Officials at an orphanage in the Philippines say they feel blessed that not one child was harmed by one of the biggest typhoons the world has known, even though it reduced most surrounding structures to rubble
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  • As millions of dollars pour in for more than four million left homeless by a typhoon in the central Philippines, authorities are grappling with a familiar problem - how to stop fraudulent claims and prevent greedy politicians taking advantage
    by Magda Mis @TR_Foundation via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/21/2013 11:21:22 AM
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  • And another from Mary Robinson of the Elders, about how Haiyan should be helping change the whole debate around addressing climate change www.trust.org
    by Laurie Goering @TR_Foundation via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/21/2013 10:42:03 AM
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  • Really nice blog by Purple Romero from the Philippines, who's at the climate negotiations in Warsaw www.trust.org
    by Laurie Goering @TR_Foundation via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/21/2013 10:40:43 AM
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  • A team from the International Rescue Committee is in the Western Visayas, one of the hardest-hit regions, yet is has only received limited emergency assistance.
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  • Britain’s Disaster Emergency Committe (DEC) will host a live-streamed Q+A panel discussion about its Philippines Typhoon Appeal on Thursday from 09:00 GMT to 10:30 GMT with a panel of experienced disaster management and aid teams. Follow the discussion and join the debate on Twitter: #askDEC
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  • A net containing the day's catch is hauled out by fishermen from their boat, made from a broken fridge, after they returned to Tanauan November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj  


    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/20/2013 10:43:28 AM
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  • A boy rests by a boat, made from a broken fridge, that just returned to a destroyed village in Tanauan November 20, 2013. After losing their boats and houses in the Typhoon Haiyan, fishermen of a destroyed village in Tanauan started building two-seated boats made of abandoned refrigerators and some wood. The first boat was made by a fisherman, whose children gave him the idea as they wanted to play in it, and soon others followed. The Philippines and international armed forces and aid agencies are struggling to get help to devastated areas due to the extent of the destruction from Typhoon Haiyan, which has left more than 4,000 dead and 4 million people displaced. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj  


    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/20/2013 10:42:36 AM
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  • China is sending a state-of-the-art hospital ship to the Philippines following criticism that it was slow and stingy in its response to one of the world's biggest typhoons
    by Maria Caspani via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/20/2013 10:40:00 AM
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  • Plan International staff got video of the Typhoon Haiyan storm surge washing away a house.
    by Alisa Tang @TR_Foundation via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/20/2013 10:33:15 AM
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  • With her with her feverish 5-month-old son, Lorna Marciano travelled one and a half hours by motorbike to the clinic in Guiuan. He was diagnosed with dengue and pneumonia - a result of being soaked for three hours when Haiyan struck. "He's our only child," Lorna said as she cradled and tried to comfort him, on Nov. 19, 2013. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Thin Lei Win

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  • boy attempts to fly with his makeshift kite in a typhoon-devastated waterfront
    shanty town in the eastern Samar town of Guiuan, in the aftermath of Super
    Typhoon Haiyan, on Nov.
    19, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
     


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  • Typhoon Haiyan has damaged the 2013 main rice crop, harvesting of which was well advanced, and also disrupted planting of the current 2013-2014 secondary season.

    As a result, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has downgraded its forecast for the Philippines’ 2013 rice production to 18 million tonnes from the expectation of a bumper crop of 18.9 million tonnes at the beginning of the season, FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) said in a news release on Tuesday. The rice production shortfall of 900 000 tonnes will be felt disproportionally in the five most affected regions.

    While rice production at the national level is likely to remain close to last year’s level, the damage at the regional level is more severe, FAO said, warning that farmers in typhoon-hit areas could face severe food security and livelihood problems if they do not succeed in planting the next crop in the weeks ahead.

    “Planting of the secondary season, mostly irrigated rice, was well underway and it is expected that crops are severely compromised. If we want to avoid entire regions of the country having to rely on food aid, we need to act now to help vulnerable families to plant or replant by late December,” Dominique Burgeon, director of FAO's emergency and rehabilitation division, said in the news release.

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  • Thomson Reuters Foundation's South East Asia correspondent Thin Lei Win reports from Tinago Evacuation Centre near the port of Cebu in the Philippines:
    by Luke Balleny @TR_Foundation via Thomson Reuters Foundation 11/18/2013 4:38:43 PM
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  • Residents dry rice under sunlight outside the Transfiguration Cathedral, which was damaged by super Typhoon Haiyan, in Palo, south of Tacloban in central Philippines, November 17, 2013. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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  • “Ten days after Typhoon Haiyan, aid is still quite concentrated on Tacloban city and little aid has reached devastated rural areas on Leyte and Samar islands,” writes François Dumont of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

    According to a Monday morning update, MSF - which has staff in Tacloban, further south on the coastal and inlands areas of Leyte island, Samar island to the east and Panay island to the north - has found an increasing number of diarrhoea patients in Dulag, on the east coast of Leyte island south of Tacloban. Team assessments indicate widespread destruction in cities and on islands to the southwest and west of Tacloban.

    ”In Burauen, a city of 55,000 inhabitants, the situation is disastrous,” Federica Nogarotto, emergency coordinator in south Leyte, says in the update. “Nearly 100 percent of houses are damaged or destroyed and the hospital – formerly a 70-bed referral hospital with surgical capacity – is completely damaged.

    Across the region, MSF is setting up tent and inflatable hospitals, as well as mobile clinics.

    MSF on Samar island:

    • An MSF team of 26 is in Guiuan, eastern Samar, working with local Filipino medical
      staff at a rural health unit for the past three days.
    • At the severely damaged Guiuan public hospital, an MSF logistical team is preparing to set up a tent hospital to provide secondary healthcare. Maternal care, including care for complicated deliveries and c-sections, has been identified as a priority, as most of the secondary healthcare capacity has been destroyed. In the coming days, MSF will start rehabilitation work on the hospital building.

    On Leyte island:

    • In Tacloban a team of eight is being reinforced with 10 additional staff from Cebu – including medical doctors, nurses, logisticians and a psychologist – to prepare the parking lot next to Bethany Hospital for setting up an inflatable hospital, which should be up and running in the next few days with an emergency room, inpatient department, operating theatre, post-operative ward, obstetrics & gynaecology unit, maternity delivery room, psychosocial activities, blood bank, X-ray, and an isolation ward in case of tetanus cases.
    • South of Tacloban, starting on Monday MSF teams will provide primary healthcare at a fixed health post in Palo, and through mobile clinics in Talawan and Talosa, as well as basic care in evacuation centres in Ormoc town and the surrounding district.
    • MSF is deploying a combined mobile clinic and assessment team to the town of Santa Fe, near Tacloban, and will provide medical care in Cebu where people being evacuated from Tacloban are arriving.
    • In Dulag town (population 48,000) on the east coast of Leyte island, the health facility has been partially destroyed and the medical staff report an increasing numbers of patients with diarrhoea.
    • The team plans to set up a tented hospital with surgical capacity in Burauen.
    • Forty-seven tons of cargo arrived in Cebu on Sunday and three trucks loaded with logistical and medical materials are on their way to Burauen by ferry, due to arrive on Monday.

    On Panay island:

    • On Sunday, teams carried out further assessments by helicopter of several small islands northeast of Panay island. The northeastern coastline of Panay and the islands have been severely affected, and teams estimate 90 percent destruction. The immediate needs are for shelter and water, while access to healthcare is also a major concern. MSF expects to see many people with respiratory illnesses and diarrhoea.
    • On Saturday, MSF teams also visited the towns of Balasan, Sara, Bagacai, Estancia and San Dionisio in Iloilo province, where many health facilities are destroyed.
    • MSF plans to establish a base in Estancia and carry out mobile clinics from there. Teams will travel by boat to reach the small islands east of Panay.
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  • The risk of skin disease, diarrhoea and tetanus are high in storm-hit central Philippines where homes have been flattened and most of the health infrastructure damaged, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Sunday.

    "One of the emergencies in the short-term is to restore a minimum of access to healthcare for the population," said Jean Pletinckx, MSF emergency coordinator who is overseeing the organisation's response to Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda.

    For more, read our story here
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  • "I have no more tears to cry" - Joy, a typhoon survivor who lost 10 relatives, including her mother when Haiyan hit

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  • Thomson Reuters Foundation correspondent Thin Lei Win talks to evacuated survivors who have made their way to Cebu.

    Ricael Ebar Alcover waited eight days before his knee - which had been pierced by a shard of glass when the typhoon hit - was treated.

    Like many other survivors, Alcover made it to an evacuation centre in Cebu, about 250 kms (155 miles) away from his home - hoping for a job and a place to stay.

    "If my injury is healed and Tacloban is safe again, we can go back," he said wistfully. He shrugged when asked when he expects that to happen.

    For more, read: Evacuated Filipino storm survivors face uncertain future on www.trust.org

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  • The humanitarian situation in the areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) is catastrophic. Over half a million men, women and children are homeless and living in the open, desperate for food, safe drinking water, basic shelter and sanitation.
    A disaster of this magnitude calls for a massive response. The Government of the Philippines mobilized relief operations under extremely challenging circumstances. The humanitarian community has declared the highest level of emergency response.
    The scale and scope of this tragedy has shocked everyone.
    The United Nations and humanitarian partners are mounting a major aid operation throughout the affected area.
    A humanitarian response plan has been launched, seeking $301 million for the United Nations and humanitarian partners to provide emergency food, shelter, clean water and sanitation and health services for six months -- Valerie Amos, United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator 

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  • A girl drinks juice in a church damaged by Typhoon Haiyan during a mass in Tacloban November 16, 2013. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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  • Britain has pledged a further £30 million to support the U.N. and Red Cross emergency appeals for the Philippines, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Saturday.

    The funding will be used to deliver vital supplies to more than 500,000 victims of the Typhoon Haiyan and support UN and Red Cross teams working on the ground as they coordinate the international relief effort, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) said in a statement.

    He also announced that the UK will deploy a C130 plane to help with the relief efforts. The C130 will assist DFID, the U.N. and national authorities with the internal delivery of humanitarian aid and the movement of personnel.
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  • Survivors begin rebuilding homes destroyed by one of the world's most powerful typhoons and emergency supplies flowed into ravaged Philippine islands, as the United Nations more than doubled its estimate of people made homeless to nearly two million.


    But the aid effort was still patchy, and bodies still lay uncollected as rescuers tried to evacuate stricken communities on Saturday, more than a week after Typhoon Haiyan killed at least 3,633 with tree-snapping winds and tsunami-like waves.

    "We are very, very worried about millions of children," U.N. Children's Fund spokesman Marixie Mercado told reporters in Geneva. There are officially 1,179 people missing, according to the national count.

    Survivors and officials in Tacloban, which bore the brunt of the storm, have said the death toll could be many thousands just in the city as more bodies are discovered every hour.

    After long delays, hundreds of international aid workers set up makeshift hospitals and trucked in supplies on Saturday, while helicopters from a U.S. aircraft carrier ferried medicine and water to remote, battered areas where some families have gone without food and clean water for days.

    Aid flown in to Tacloban's congested airport finally trickled into ravaged neighborhoods. Work crews and heavy equipment cleared debris from roadsides, but side streets remained piled with the sodden, tangled remains of homes.
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  • INFOGRAPHIC: Aid for the Philippines www.trust.org
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  • INFOGRAPHIC: Super typhoon Haiyan's death toll www.trust.org
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Malaysian court to rule on women accused of killing brother of North Korean leader

KUALA LUMPUR A Malaysian court will decide on Thursday whether to continue hearing a case against two women charged with the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, or acquit them.