DAWNS Exclusive: Senior members of the US government say that the relief effort has ‘turned a corner.’ The United States has managed to deploy material aid and the first food aid from the US is expected to have been already delivered to the World Food Programme. Logistical challenges remain, but ground transport is now available to Tacloban meaning more people are receiving life saving aid. As a result, there is belief that early security concerns are now decreasing due to the delivery of aid. Support is still hampered by the region’s small airport and a lack of access to remote coastal regions. More US military support is expected and with the potential for more than 1,000 boots on the ground by week’s end.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has toured the typhoon-ravaged Philippine city of Tacloban, where she says the priority is to get basic relief supplies to victims. (VOA http://bit.ly/1aqioH8)
One public hospital remains the only medical option in the city of Tacloban for most survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. The storm destroyed all but two hospitals in the city. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1gLzF2I)
New Poll: One in Three Africans Forced to Pay Bribes
Uganda ranks worst for medical bribes. “Nearly one-third of Africans surveyed say they have been forced to pay bribes including for medical treatment, according to a 34-nation poll released Wednesday. The Afrobarometer survey also found it was often the poorest people in each country who were pressured to pay bribes at health clinics and hospitals. The West African nation of Sierra Leone fared the worst overall, with 63 percent of respondents saying they’d paid up at least once in the previous year. Morocco and Guinea came next, each with 57 percent. (USA Today http://usat.ly/1cW2AQU)
Cyclone Strikes Somalia’s Puntland Region
With international attention focused on the Philippines, it will be a challenge to muster up support to respond to the damage caused by heavy rain and flooding in the Horn. “‘Torrential rains, high wind speeds and flooding has created a state of emergency, with 300 persons feared dead, hundreds others unaccounted for, and countless livestock lost,’ the government of the semi-autonomous region said in a statement. The death toll could not be independently verified, but weather experts from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) confirmed flooding was severe. ‘Given that Puntland is a semi-arid region, it rarely rains but when it does, to an extent we have seen… the impact is devastating,’ said Hussein Gadain, a senior FAO technical advisor.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1cTNPOv)