CNN journos on Tacloban ops: Disorganized, no one in charge

Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - November 13, 2013 - 2:38pm

MANILA, Philippines - American journalists Anderson Cooper and Paula Hancocks of CNN, reporting from typhoon-hit Tacloban City, expressed frustration at authorities conducting relief and recovery operations.

In their televised reports broadcast around the world, Cooper and Hancocks called the government's relief efforts disorganized and survivors are mostly left on their own to survive.

"It is certainly not organized. It's just a drop in the ocean compared to what's needed," Hancocks, a CNN international correspondent, said.

"We're five days on, and people that are coming and talking to me saying, 'I need food, I need water, why are the dead bodies still by their side.  It's incredible, they've been there for five days. People are trying to live in the rubble of their homes," she added

The powerful typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) cut through Tacloban and neighboring areas last November 8, bringing with it a massive storm surge that rose to as high as 15 feet. Dead bodies are scattered in the streets and beneath destroyed homes, commercial centers and churches. Even evacuation centers were affected by the surge of water.

Cooper, a television personality whose name has been trending on Twitter Philippines on Wednesday, observed how Philippine agencies and military are taking a long time from launching a full-scale effort on the ground.

"It's a miserable, miserable situation here. It is not getting better day by day. We're now entering the fifth day since the storm hit here in Tacloban ... You would expect maybe a feeding center that has been set up five days after the storm. We haven't seen that, certainly not in this area," Cooper said, speaking with CNN anchor Jake Tapper on The Lead newscast on Tuesday.

"It is a very desperate situation, among the most desperate I've seen in covering disasters in the last couple of years," he added.

Cooper, who has covered the world's major catastrophes, also contrasted the Philippine relief efforts with a similar disaster in Japan, swept with the destructuve Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

"Whereas in Japan, right after the tsunami there years ago, and within a day or two, you have Japanese forces going out, carving out cities into grids and going out on food, looking for people, going through the wreckage, we have not seen that here in a large scale operation," he said.

He added that it is not clear for survivors and even volunteer organizations where the center of relief operations is.

"It could be happenning in some other place, but this is the airport in Tacloban, this would be the main staging ground," Cooper said.

"As to who's in charge of the Philippine side of the whole operation, that is not really clear. I'm just surprised that on this day 5, maybe I've gotten here late, that things would be well in hand. It does not seem like that," he observed.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, meanwhile, said that has deployed a team of military engineers and a battalion in Tacloban on Monday for humanitarian assistance.

"As of yesterday there are 300 combined military engineers and Special Forces troops conducting road clearing in Tacloban. The AFP is also allocating another 700 to augment said troops," the military said in a statement.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with