Tons of Food in the Philippines Isn't Getting to Starving Typhoon Survivors

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Countries all around the world have responded to the humanitarian crisis in the Philippines with more than two tons food and emergency water. Unfortunately, a lot of it is going untouched because the hardest-hit areas are nearly impossible to reach. "I don't think that's anyone's fault. I think it's the geography and the devastation," UNICEF Spokesman Christopher De Bono told reporters.

Organizations like World Food Programme, which has already delivered 2,700 tons of rice to the country, are having a tough time getting that food into the mouths of hungry survivors because the damage left by Typhoon Haiyan has blocked roads and access routes to those areas. In Tacloban, airstrips have been cleared but there's a bottleneck of deliveries that's reduced aid to a trickle. "Mayor Romualdez said that the city desperately needed trucks and drivers to distribute relief shipments of food that are piling up at the city’s airport," The New York Times reported, adding that Romualdez also needs those trucks for more depressing reasons. Tacloban needs "heavy equipment and personnel to pull decaying corpses out of the unending mounds of debris and collapsed houses that stretch across this city," the Times reports. 

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The Times also reported that the chaos prevented those bodies that have been recovered from being buried. A recent attempt to deliver more than 200 bodies to a mass grave was canceled because of security concerns, as there have been rumors of gunfights between home and business owners and looters.

The glimmer of good news is that relief workers are making progress in Tacloban and Guinan and made their first food deliveries on Wednesday."WFP food distributions underway in Tacloban this morning. Rice provided to 3,000 people," the World Food Program announced this morning. Three thousand is just a start — the Filipino government said over 2 million people need food aid. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.