Sunday, 10 November 2013

Travel Advisory : Philippines' Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)


Travellers from anywhere in the world are advised to exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to the Philippines. Officials fear that Typhoon Haiyan may have killed as many as 10,000 people in one Philippine province alone. 

Magina Fernandez was among the survivors who had lost her home and business. And she was desperate to leave on the next military plane from Tacloban Airport. She made an anguished plea for help. "Get international help to come here now -- not tomorrow, now," she said. This is really, really bad, bad, worse than hell, worse than hell." This statement was reported by Andrew Stevens and Paula Hancocks of CNN.

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to the Eastern, Central and Western Visayas, as well as Bicol Region, Mimaropa and Calabarzon due to damages caused by the typhoon.  


Tourists helping in Coron in the island of Busuanga, the Philippines
Photo Credit: Lowell Estepa
Many travellers in the Philippines will remain stranded for the weekend as hundreds of flights were cancelled and a dozen airports were closed in the wake of typhoon damage. Twelve airports had been closed across the Philippines on Friday. These airports are Tacloban, Surigao, Kalibo, Roxas, Caticlan, Iloilo, Romblon, Legaspi, Masbate, Dumaguete, Busuanga (Coron) and Bacolod.

Travellers in the region mentioned above or have planned visiting the tourist attractions should be making changes in their trip plans. As of this writing, the airport in Tacloban City is still not safe for travellers, so it is suggested to use the neighbouring airports for chartered flights. You may check with the airlines for flights to the following nearby airports; D. Z. Romualdez Airport and Ormoc Airport with a distance of 1.7 kilometres/1.1 miles and 52.4 kilometres/32.5 miles away from Tacloban City respectively.


A large boat sits aground surrounded by debris in Tacloban - Photo credit: CNN
Although International aid started coming, NBC News reported that 'silence' worries aid workers in the wake of typhoon Haiyan. They say that aid workers and emergency officials warned that there had been no contact with many typhoon-hit parts of the Philippines more than three days after one of the most violent storms to ever make landfall slammed into the country. 

In a related story, the Los Angeles Times reported that the typhoon-ravaged Philippines declares 'state of national calamity'. Reporters say that each story has been more heartbreaking than the last.

A 44-year old high school teacher from the destroyed provincial capital of Tacloban City recounts how she abandoned her dying daughter, stabbed by splinters of their house, which was razed by Friday's killer.

"Ma, just let go. Save yourself", Bernadette Tenegra was quoted as saying by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "I was holding her and I kept telling her to hang on, that I was going to bring her up. But she just gave up."

Inspite of the not-so-good news happening in the Philippines, the leading Philippine newspaper, Manila Bulletin made it a little lighter. "International celebrities tweet concern over Haiyan (Yolanda to the Filipino people) victims", says Pau Aguilera.

Many countries all over the world are very quick in extending their concern to the Filipino people and started helping the Philippines for the much needed aid. 

Philippine Army personnel loading relief goods for Haiyan victims, Philippines
In Canada, the Filipino-Canadian community comes together in the wake of typhoon as reported by the Toronto Star newspaper. At Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Parish, what began as a typical Sunday mass quickly turned personal for Rev. Ben Ebcas, Jr.  "The typhoon struck my home province along with my city of Ormoc.  We lost our house and I'm still missing two of my brothers," Rev. Ebcas told his parishioners.

Filipino community groups across the GTA have been collecting donations for typhoon relief and planning fundraising events. Our Lady of the Assumption has launched a massive appeal for continued financial aid, as well as canned food and dry goods. Financial donations will be counted right away and sent to Catholic bishops in the affected areas, the church said.

Erlinda Insigne, President of Filipino-Canadian Association of Vaughan is appealing to all her fellow "kababayans" and fellow Canadians to give whatever monetary donations they can give. "Donations will be made payable to" Leyteno Association of Ontario" - Typhoon Yolanda Fund, c/o FCAV, 7894 Dufferin Street, Vaughan, Ontario, L4K 1R6. Cash donations will be collected by FCAV and will be channelled to the Leyteno Association of Ontario headed by Jose Saavedra, Jr.," she said. Erlinda posted her appeal on her Facebook page very recently.

Ottawa has pledged up to $5 million for humanitarian aid and will match all donations by Canadians to all registered charities helping in the Philippines. Anyone wishing to help can also donate online at www.redcross.ca/typhoon or at a local Red Cross office. You can also donate by calling 1-800-418-1111.

Residents walk by debris in Tacloban City, the Philippines
Photo Credit: Aaron Favila/AP
Sharing this comment posted on the CNN site on an update on super typhoon Yolanda.....

"Time to get  to know the Filipino people....unbelievably resilient, long suffering, good natured, uber friendly, loyal, ingenius, and a bunch of survivors.

At the end of the day, the Filipinos will just shake off the dirt from their clothes and go about their business...and SMILE. they do not complain much, they will bear as long as they can.

Maybe this is why they were given the "privilege" of bearing the burden of the strongest typhoon ever recorded.

The indomitable human spirit at its finest."

Author Bio
Freddie is a Filipino-Canadian freelance writer and blogger based in Toronto. A passionate traveller who writes and shares his travels and the journey of his featured travellers. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page to see more of his works.