Dutch relief supplies to Philippines

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The KDC-10 departed from the air base Eindhoven, fully loaded with tarpaulins, water equipment and medicines.

It concerns supplies from the Cooperating Aid Agencies (SHO). The Dutch government used the defense aircraft to transport the goods to the affected area.

The aircraft carries a total of 29 tons of relief supplies. Much is made up of tarpaulins, for people who no longer have a roof over their heads, according to a spokesperson for the SHO. Three medical kits, enough to care for ten thousand people and ample number of solar lamps.


The KDC-10 is the largest transport aircraft of the Royal Air Force and is regularly used for humanitarian aid flights to countries in Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East.

The UN warned emergency aid victims of the typhoon are not reached quickly enough. There are still areas where people in need can not be reached, according to Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. She hopes this will drastically improve in the next 48 hours.

The International Red Cross had to wait for hours Thursday before their aircraft with relief supplies could land in the disaster area in the Philippines. Now all the aircrafts come in at once and the few available runways are immediately overcrowded, according to a Dutch Red Cross spokesperson. He still takes it as a very good sign, though, better late, than no help.

After handing out the first hundreds of food packages on the islands of Samar and Leyte the Red Cross wants to set up two distribution centers in the cities of Ormoc (on Leyte) and Catbalogan City (on Samar). From these centers they want to supply these islands with food, water and medicine this week.

After looters blocked the road for a while, the organization finally managed to get two convoys with supplies in Ormoc Thursday. These two cities were especially chosen for the safety of the people who should receive the packages. The organization wants them to keep those packages as well, but are concerned for their safety. Hungry looters don't shy away from violence. In a city as badly hit as Tacloban City (also on Leyte) it is too dangerous to distribute food.

The Red Cross also supplies body bags on both islands. There are many bodies in the street. Survivors can not bury their relatives because they lack the means and the bodies have started to decay. In the next few days the international organization will also send medical teams in. It's not clear yet where those will go, but they will also set up stationary clinics with about fifty beds. Victims need to be administered a tetanus shot, so they don't get sick from their surroundings, such as street refuse.

The Philippine President Benigno Aquino is under growing pressure to accelerate distribution of food, water, and medicine to the victims. He must also ensure that local authorities in the disaster areas can get back to work. So far only about 70 of the normally 2,500 employees is available in the area. They died, were injured, or lost family. Another problem is the lack of trucks, forcing relief worker to make a choice between distributing food or retrieving corpses.

Aquino also caused controversy by saying the death toll by the typhoon is likely closer to the 2,500 or 2,000 than 10,000. Government Officer Tecson Lim of Tacloban mentioned that figure as the death toll for his city alone.

Lim thinks Aquino tried to control the panic with his lower estimate. Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban is also pessimistic. He cited an example of a request for pick up of five or ten bodies, but when they got there, it turned out to be forty.