Home > Analysis, aside, News, Opinion > Typhoon Haiyan’s Destructive Path

Typhoon Haiyan’s Destructive Path

Survivors waited to board a military plane at the airport in Tacloban

Survivors waited to board a military plane at the airport in Tacloban

The news is still enfolding on the destruction Typhoon Haiyan – now barreling its towards Vietnam and on into southern China – left in the Philippines. For those with the means, it appears the best way to help for the public now is to donate money. Two organizations with the capacity to help on the ground are:

Even though the original reports when the storm made landfall was that the storm was weaker than originally feared, and that it was expected to leave relatively light damage (see also this initial report), by most accounts now, the destruction is actually worse than expected. Unfortunately, there is growing concern that despite a massive military presence and a show of force by the Philippines military, heavy destruction of infrastructure, widespread looting, and desire by the Philippines government to retain “strategic control” are slowing the pace of aid reaching the most affected areas and desperate regions.

For now, it appears there is not much the public can do – except to donate what money one can.

One note I want to observe is the opportunistic China trashing that already has appeared in the Western press.  For example, NY Times and Slate both within hours of Haiyan’s landfall blasted how modest China’s donations were by pledging $100,000, and then $200,000 in relief (by contrast, U.S. originally pledged $100,000, but then later incrased that to $20 million – which is actually still largely symbolic as it is still puny (.14%) in comparison to the $14 billion estimated in damages).

In my view, I don’t think China should get into this sort of pissing contest.  Playing for geopolitical influence at the heel of humanitarian disaster is disgusting.

In calamities like this, International relief for the people affected is a marathon, not a sprint.  And as many reports (linked above) make clear, while money donations are probably the best way the International public can help, little help can get there until the local authorities have not cleared the way for relief to get there.

As the local community and organization race to help, I hope the International community keep its attention on the people on the ground, for the long haul – and not just for media attention.  I know China will.  It will donate money and materials and equipment when situations presents itself for China to help.

For now, admidst reports of this overwhelming human tragedy, perhaps there is already a silver lining in the sense that the lasting economic impact may be muted.  Whatever the long term effects, let’s focus on how help can actually be delivered on the ground, and pray … and hope for the best.

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  1. Black Pheonix
    November 12th, 2013 at 09:13 | #1

    Unfortunately, there is already enough supplies that are NOT getting to the disaster area.

    Of course, China should help. (And let this be a lesson to some HK lawmakers who organized “resist donation to China”, on the pretense of concerns for corruption in China).

    Regardless of concerns of politics (nationalism or otherwise), China should help Philippines.

    And what Philippines need MOST right now is not money or supplies, (and what China is most able to offer), it’s man power and ships to help move supplies, and man power to clean up, rebuild roads and restore power.

    However, Whether Philippines (and US) will accept Chinese ships and personnel is a different story.

  2. November 12th, 2013 at 16:13 | #2

    Earlier today while listening to a NPR broadcast, I learned that monetary donations is of importance because it goes to buying equipment and supplies from around the nation (Philippines). This kind of troubled me. So supplies and equipment are readily available around the nation, but they will remain unavailable until foreign aid pays for them? Should luckier Philippine citizens not affected by the storm help those impacted – even without foreign money?

    Then I also read when foreign nations donate, it is often used to purchase supplies, equipment and pay personnel the foreign nations send to the disaster area. Is that double dipping for credit here? If you send personnel and equipment, you should just send it. Don’t send it -take credit for it – and then take credit again for money donations that never reach the disaster victims per se, but that goes toward paying yourself to go there in the first place?

  3. Black Pheonix
    November 13th, 2013 at 06:51 | #3

    Many have commented on how Philippines is used to preparing for this kind of disaster.

    I don’t see much preparation, at least the kind of rational preparation in the scale of the disaster.

    Unlike Earthquakes, one can see a superstorm coming. Yet it is evident that evacuation in Philippines was hardly followed.

    Many people simply did not heed evacuation.

    Many men stayed at home to guard against possible looters. A symptom of social ill that does not bode well for the recovery.

    Already, looters and insurgents have ambushed relief convoys. Crowds of desperate people have clashed with troops to try to get onto military transports.

    I feel and fear for the people there. I simply do not see Philippines as possessing a collective will to orderly recover from this.

    (Especially if one considers the US left Gun-toting culture in Philippines, where almost everyone who can afford it buy guns, and there are tons of illegal guns on top of that.)

    I noted 1 media report that Philippines government sent troops armed with assault rifles into the disaster area.

    The Philippines Government made a rather silly excuse that those troops are just carrying rifles that don’t have bullets, because they are responsible for their weapons. (Duh, the army could just lock the rifles up in their armory! It’s much more likely for the troops to lose their weapons when they carry them into the field.)

    No, that’s a lie.

    The real reason is that they know they will have to shoot people, rioters, looters, who are likely to be armed.

  4. Black Pheonix
  5. November 13th, 2013 at 07:43 | #5

    When people loot it means they don’t have faith in their government. In the aftermath of massive earthquake in China and Japan, the victims helped each other and waited for government help to arrive. Citizens in other part of the country also rallied to help. I would say this is positive nationalism at work.

    What we see here and after Hurricane Katrina is the total opposite. Western press is quick to assign blame after the Wenquan earthquake but not much is said about the ill of the society and corruption of the government when dealing with the Phillippines. As we can see from several articles, they are more interested in attacking the “stingy” Chinese donation. I foresee HK will easily donate much more.

    As Allen has also pointed out, western aid includes the cost of sending the personnel and supplies over there. Basically, if it cost $500,000 to put and host 10 medical aid workers there for 1 month, it is counted as total aid given! So basically it is not a very cost effective method. Basically, if they want to be cost effective, they can spend that money and hire 100 medical personnel from neighbouring countries for better effect.

    Hey, but we are all for pomp and circumstance.

  6. ersim
    November 13th, 2013 at 11:23 | #6

    The U.S. neo-colony of the Phillipines hasn’t been a united country to begin with. It wasn’t after the U.S. took over the Phillipines from Spain in 1898 that there have been attempts to unify the whole archipielago and to this day it has been relatively stable. It would be interesting how China will help with the relief effort in the affected areas by Typhoon Haiyan.

  7. pug_ster
    November 14th, 2013 at 07:31 | #7


    I doubt it. Philippines didn’t really help out China during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Considering that Philippines is America’s puppet anyways, I doubt that they would accept China’s help even if they offered.

  8. Black Pheonix
    November 14th, 2013 at 08:37 | #8

    Bromosa88 is banned for attempting to bypass a previous ban on a different ID.

  9. Black Pheonix
    November 14th, 2013 at 11:03 | #9

    China increases aid to Philippines:


    “…An online poll on the Phoenix News website on Wednesday showed that 95 percent of the 60,000 votes cast were against China donating to the Philippines.”

    Wait, isn’t Phoenix News based in HK (which was still debating retaliating against Philippines recently in its legislative body)?

  10. Black Pheonix
    November 14th, 2013 at 11:18 | #10

    Some have criticized China’s “meager” and slow response as failing in “soft power”.

    I would have to say, “Soft power” doesn’t mean grabbing headlines, or being first place.

    If it could be easily termed by amounts and dollar figures, then US would be #1 right now. Frankly, #1 in that context would mean so very little.

    “Soft power” means caution, prudence in decisions, not quickness or eagerness.

    Spending money carelessly won’t win you friends.

    Just remember, when you stop spending money on your new “friends”, then they would be even louder in proclaiming you as CHEAP.

  11. November 14th, 2013 at 11:58 | #11

    @Black Pheonix

    I find it weird that there would be a political reaction against “meager” donations in such immediate wake of a disaster.

    When has donation become an expected handout? Is it going to become a right somehow in the future?

    Second, in such early hours, donations means nothing. As one can already see, aid can’t get through without proper conditions on the ground. The conditions have never been there, so all these donation chest-pounding and growls to me are stupid.

    Third, it is noted in the NYT articles linkedin #9,

    when China suffered devastating floods in 1998, the United States sent only $20,000.

    So what? Is that time for Chinese to lament about the U.S.? No. The Chinese went out with their tasks. They appreciated what help – whatever help – they received, but understands no one can help them out of the hole nature dealt them except themselves.

    That’s the proper mindset to view international aid – in context, and with humanity – not this sort of chestpounding geopoliticking we’ve seen from the Western press…

  12. Black Pheonix
    November 14th, 2013 at 13:27 | #12


    Yes, I find it odd and disturbing that so many Media groups (led by Western ones) came out ridiculing China for the “meager” donations, and how China decided to increase the amount AFTER they ridiculed China.

    Hello? I thought this was supposed to be about the needs of the Filipino people, not some stupid contest (to prove one’s moral righteousness)?

    Which is just so very typical of Western media:

    (1) the need to continue to humiliate China in every possible turn.
    (2) the need to brag about one’s own numbers.
    (3) the need to turn every issue into “us vs. them”.

    I mean, what’s that old saying? “Good deed is its own reward.”

    It’s not enough to donate money? That one has to brag about how much one is donating, and then ridiculing others for how little they are donating??

    *You know, I think this rather demonstrates something fundamentally wrong in the morality of Western civilization.

    The Free Western media, as the mouth piece of the mob, has demonstrated amply, that they are not in it for any kind of altruism.

    To that I say, they can have their “victory”.

    And Philippines, good luck with your “saviors”. From now on, as done while before, you will be expected to kiss their asses every morning, open your bars 24/7 for their drunken sailors, and shut up and enjoy it.

    But if you want real trade and real roads built, call China.

  13. ersim
    November 14th, 2013 at 15:40 | #13

    Disgustingly enough, each time there is a natural catastrophe somewhere in the world, the “public relations” branch of the U.S. likes to beat itself in the chest as being the “most generous people in the world”. They are “generous” as long as they have their boot on the neck of their subservient slave.

  14. Black Pheonix
    November 14th, 2013 at 19:11 | #14


    Yes, the insidious secondary message was obviously aimed at Philippines, which still somewhat resents American presence for all those years of imperialism.

    “Look upon us, your former masters, how generous we are. Don’t you think you would have been much better under our generous care, like you used to be?”

    I mean, there is something between the lines of a man who must make such a show of his generous giving.

    Why make a fuss if it was in his good nature? What’s so unusual about it, that he must show off so openly?

    The answer is obvious: He wants you and every one to remember his generosity on this occasion, so that some day he can make you an offer you can’t refuse (Godfather style).

  15. N.M.Cheung
    November 15th, 2013 at 05:13 | #15

    Here I would like to discuss the leadership of Philippine, the lack of leadership of Aquino and his supposedly democratically elected administration. He flied to Tacloban and posed for photo-op and left immediately. I read all the excuses of being unprecedented and unforeseeable disaster while sitting on their hands. For a layman like me it’s obvious what need to be done rather than hurling accusations about China being modest in her aid. I can’t believe mass burial didn’t start until 1 week has passed. Here is what I would have done.

    1. Aquino should have stayed in Tacloban and show his leadership.
    2. Declare martial law and draft all able bodied young men into temporarily national guard duty.
    3. Organize immediate search and bury all the bodies in mass graves. I am sure in a city of 200,000 there must be some parks it can be used. (It’s laughable that NYT claimed that some neighborhood objected to burial for fear of disease while rotting bodies don’t?) I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when they were talking about DNA identification of bodies when they claimed to empty coffers due to previous earthquake relief.
    4. Takeover and guard all warehouses and supermarkets and pay the owners for the supplies and orderly distribute the supplies to the survivors. Also fuel depots and gas stations.
    5. The temporary national guards were to immediately clear the wreckage and roads and other infrastructure repair. Send in shovels and picks, don’t wait for machines and foreign aid workers to arrive.

  16. November 15th, 2013 at 08:03 | #16

    You cannot humiliate a country or people by writing a biased article, only yourself. The Jimmy Kimmel episode is but one example. The Philippines authority and the social economic make up of the country should be the subject of discussion here. It is sad it is swept under the carpet.

    A few years back, I actually told a friend, western press vilification of China is actually good for China. China has too many challenges and different inside voices and need to be alert lest so it become conceited and fall behind the world. India and Philippines rarely got attacked in those press and they are paying the price for non-critical measure to take care of the social economic development.

    China’s government simply do what it feel is right, that is the development of the economy and improve the quality of life of the people. It is not perfect and many things still have to be done. But by simple measure of social economic development China is miles ahead of Philippines which used to have the 2nd highest per capita GDP in Asia (1960).

  17. November 15th, 2013 at 08:06 | #17

    The fact that China donated anything at all is surprising in itself. Philippines is not at all friendly with China and has been antagonistic towards her, Taiwan and HK. The Aquino regime even renamed South China Sea to “West Philippine Sea” and Typhoon Haiyan to “Typhoon “Yolanda”. Who is to guarantee that aid will be accepted by the regime? It would be a further slap on the face of every ethnic Chinese if aid was turned down.

    The Chinese government took a great risk in offering aid.

  18. pug_ster
    November 15th, 2013 at 09:17 | #18

    The Chinese government shouldn’t offer any monetary aid at all. Instead it should offer to deploy its aid ships to the Philippines and aid the people themselves and then specify this aid is worth xx million. That way China can get good PR like Yan Jun.

  19. Black Pheonix
    November 15th, 2013 at 10:55 | #19


    I think the Chinese government is just waiting for the “do-gooder” crowd to clear up.

    Afterall, I give it a few week, until this story becomes old story, and then when the media spotlight goes away, all the “do-gooders” will pack up for the next public gig.

    Philippines will still be in tatters, and then who will be there?


    *No point in going in right now, it’s just a media circus there.

    The real “good will” will still be there, if China is the last one still there.

  20. Black Pheonix
    November 15th, 2013 at 12:48 | #20


    It didn’t take long for the Western media to start kicking Philippines when it’s down.


    So, I guess the “saviors” bought themselves some “right” to criticize now.

    It’s such political drama:

    One plays the perpetual victim.

    Others play the perpetual saviors.

    It’s poetically Shakespearean! You know it’s going to end in tragedy, bloody tragedy.

    I would prefer China to remain the spectator on this one!

  21. N.M.Cheung
    November 15th, 2013 at 14:06 | #21

    I sent the following letter to NYT public editor.

    Dear Editor,

    This is the second article attacking China for the modest aid China given to Philippines. I have been a faithful reader for over 50 years. I am very aware that financial pressure NYT has been facing in recent years, but I do not expect NYT stoop to the tabloid level, beating chest yelling U.S.A…..( We gave 20 mil while China gave 1.6 mil).

    Whatever happened to investigative journalism? (Where have you gone Seymour Hersh? Rhymes with “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?”). The tragedy at Philippines lends to many stories. I suggest one might be Aquino. He landed at Tocloban and have his photo op and departed. Politicians at Manila offered excuses (Unprecedented, impossible to plan, coffer depleted.). I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I heard that residents of the city don’t want mass burial in their neighborhood for fearing diseases as if rotting corpses don’t, or DNA profile will be kept to identify bodies. As a layman I would have know what to do if I am a leader. I would go to Tocloban and stay there to direct the relief. I would declare martial law, drafted young people to temporary national guard duty. having them search for bodies for mass burial and clear roads and repair infra-structure. I would confiscate the grain stores and fuel depots and promise to repaid the owners and distribute the food and water to the people. I would fly in shovels and picks rather than wait for Americans to bring in machines and relief workers. It’s not as if China promise to match U.S. and give 20 mil would have change anything for the peoples of Tocloban.

    Thank you

    Sincerely yours Ngok Ming Cheung



  22. November 16th, 2013 at 14:28 | #22

    Whatever one might think of the New York Times, at least it fesses up to the fact that aid to Phillipines from the U.S. and its allies is calculated in large part by geopolitical ambitions.

    The American aircraft carrier George Washington has arrived, its 5,000 sailors and 80 aircraft already busy ferrying relief supplies to storm-battered survivors, and the United States has committed an initial $20 million in humanitarian assistance. Japan is dispatching a naval force of 1,000 troops, in what officials say is that country’s largest ever disaster-relief deployment. Also on the way: the Illustrious, a British aircraft carrier stocked with transport planes, medical experts and $32 million worth of aid.

    The outpouring of foreign assistance for the hundreds of thousands left homeless and hungry by Typhoon Haiyan is shaping up to be a monumental show of international largess — and a not-so-subtle dose of one-upmanship directed at the region’s fastest-rising power, China.

    The challenge for China comes shortly after the United States appeared to suffer a setback of its own in the contest for Pacific influence. President Obama had to cancel a high-profile visit to the region this fall to grapple with the fiscal shutdown in the United States, an event that seemed to many in Asia to showcase American dysfunction. So when the typhoon struck an old ally, the Pentagon did not waste much time offering a robust show of assistance.

    “There is no other military in the world, there is no other navy in the world, that can do what we can do,” one American official said.

    Michael Kulma, an expert on East Asia at the Asia Society in New York, said the Chinese reluctance to give more aid could hurt its chances to make a favorable impression in the country.

    “There was an opportunity, right up front, for China to make a commitment,” he said. “At the end of the day it could be that the Chinese end up giving more. But on the front end of it, they didn’t stand out.”

    At the same time, the relief efforts by the United States could give a lift to its already strong influence in the Philippines.

    Already, some in Tacloban said they would not mind American boots on the ground there temporarily, if it would help.

    In announcing their assistance on Thursday, Japanese officials spoke of it mostly as an effort to provide humanitarian assistance, though there was also an acknowledgment of growing security ties.

    “The Philippines is geographically close to Japan and an important strategic partner,” said Japan’s defense minister, Itsunori Onodera.

    The donated coast guard vessels are meant to help the Philippines better patrol its waters, including those contested with China. On Thursday, officials said Japan’s military would send C-130 transport aircraft and helicopters to ferry supplies to areas that have been cut off by the disaster. Japan will also send three navy ships, led by the Ise, Japan’s largest warship. Tokyo also offered $10 million in emergency aid.

  23. ersim
    November 16th, 2013 at 18:13 | #23

    @Black Pheonix
    The most recent act of “generosity” from the U.S. was the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Haiti was basically “recolonized” by U.S. troops to “help” Haiti to “recover”. The same “charitable” act the people in the Phillipines will eventually happen to them.

  24. Black Pheonix
    November 17th, 2013 at 11:03 | #24


    Yes, neo-colonialism is indeed strong in the “aid” from the West.

    Now, Aquino has effectively open the door to foreign aid/interference in all future matters, which only makes his own government look even weaker.

  25. Black Pheonix
    November 17th, 2013 at 13:34 | #25


    “Where did the money go? (Republic of NGOs)”.

    Haha, that’s funny, but sad too.

  26. Black Pheonix
    November 18th, 2013 at 05:15 | #26


    Expats blame the local corruptions in Philippines.

    Isn’t that rich? In Haiti, it was the Republic of foreign NGOs that made off with the aid money.

  27. Black Pheonix
    November 18th, 2013 at 05:37 | #27

    What’s really amazing to me, is how much of a basket case Philippines really is.

    Did you know that USAID donated more than $200 million in aid to Philippines on “war on poverty”?

    China has helped Philippines to build railroads, given them a $100 million credit line in local development, etc..

  28. ersim
    November 18th, 2013 at 06:51 | #28

    Unfortunately, like Haiti in 2010, the so called “NGO” will swoop in like vultures for the great opportunity to make money, I meant to do an act of charity to help themselves to help the people in the Phillipines. Western NGO are the 21st century missionaries of Western colonialism, making the occupation in countries like Haiti and the Phillipines not so obvious.

  29. November 20th, 2013 at 07:52 | #29

    I read this news only on Phoenix TV and a few Chinese websites. Still can’t find any verification.

    Basically, on the 2nd day after Haiyan hit the Phillipines, China wanted to send two 747 with aid and supplies to the disaster zone but was declined by the Phillipino govn’t.

    菲律宾一名不愿具名的国会议员15 日接受《环球时报》记者电话采访时透露,“海燕”重创菲律宾第二天,中国灾难应急的相关部门即提出派遣两架747飞机将救援物资运至菲律宾宿务,因未获得菲政府的降落许可,最终援助没能实现。“中国的反应是迅速而积极的,一开始我们的政府很犹豫,后来国际救援越来越多,这件事对政府也就显得不那么棘手了。”这名议员称,中国建议派遣医疗队赴菲已有数日,但菲政府对此回应也不积极。

  30. Hong Konger
    November 28th, 2013 at 10:43 | #30

    China’s lack of charity is worth noting, considering the size of its economy / role in the world, and the huge discrepency with other places in terms of donation.

    The HK government quickly approved HK $40 million (US $5 million) in aid, even though we are just one city. Private donations from HK were also very generous.

    In comparison, China gave less than US $2 million, even after being repeatedly goaded internationally (as well as from places like HK and Taiwan). China’s initial $100,000 was so embarassing that even state media like Global Times initially criticized it (before the editors were internally all told to shut up and make excuses for the government).

    Re: The poll showing the Chinese lack of charity. Phoenix is based in HK (mostly to avoid censorship) but broadcasts mostly in China. Any poll should be taken as pan-greater-China, unless stated otherwise. Plus, there have been many other polls on mainland websites showing an overwhelming desire to not give a penny to the Filipinos.

    There’s hatred among Chinese netizens over a land dispute – though most people don’t know any details. They just think the Philippines is an “enemy.” There is an unfortunate lack of understanding that you can have a beef with a nation’s government, but still be sympathetic to its average people. HK is having an argument with the Philippines, too — over a bungled tourist killing. But the average HK person donates. Even today — long after the typhoon has left the headlines — there is ongoing charity work for typhoon recovery.

    As for the excuse (which is really getting old) that China is “too poor” and “developing” to afford to be charitable —
    Right during the typhoon, on China’s “Singles Valentines Day” (basically a made-up holiday for shopping), consumers spent US $5 BILLION on discounted lingerie, “boys nights out”, novelty sex toys and other crap on websites like Taobao. There was no accompanying PayPal campaign or anything to encourage shoppers to add an extra dollar to charity. The younger generation of nouveau riche Chinese are gallingly selfish.

    I agree that China should not donate because the US or anyone else told them to. Nor should anyone be petty and calculate who donated what in the past.

    China should be grateful for its economic successes, sympathetic to the less fortunate, and give out of its own good heart. The Chinese have to learn to be less tight-fisted, both with their hearts and their wallets. China should show it is a big player in the world, not only because of its economy, but because it is a role-model. China is feared because it holds the purse strings in this region, but it is largely disliked. That has to change.

  31. Black Pheonix
    November 28th, 2013 at 11:38 | #31

    @Hong Konger

    I have been repeatedly told by many Westerners that the “size of Chinese economy” doesn’t matter.

    They in fact harp on how China is still quite poor.

    It’s interesting how so many of them seem to flip 180 when coming to discuss foreign aids.

    On the side note, I don’t think China ever refused to aid Philippines.

    Perhaps China was just “too slow” for some? I mean, some starting calling China “stingy” after only 3 days.

    As far as I recall, many nations didn’t bother to say anything about donating to China for the Earthquake until after 1 week.

    Amazing how quick people rather bad mouth others rather than focusing on their own charity work.

  32. pug_ster
    November 28th, 2013 at 21:48 | #32

    @Hong Konger Embarrassing China about lack of charity to Philippines is just plain BS. Hurricanes hit Cuba and Earthquakes hit Iran all the time and you don’t see Western propaganda telling people how they can donate to those countries because donating to those countries is considered supporting terrorism. At least in China if you want to donate to the Philippines, the Chinese government won’t stop you.

  33. November 29th, 2013 at 07:06 | #33

    Hong Konger’s silence on western countries behaviour during the UN Climate Change conference is telling, eh?

  34. Black Pheonix
    November 29th, 2013 at 08:47 | #34

    Of course, no one has objections to “humanitarian aid”, but even Westerners have limits on speed and capability.

    For example, would US and Australia consider allowing en masse immigration of Filipino refugees?? I mean, if you really want to help them, why continuously send massive amounts of supplies. The quicker way is just to bring them to your home country, where food and medicine are plenty. (and there are plenty of room).

    See, back in WWI and WWII, US and Europe did allow refugees. So, there was a historical evidence of capability.

    So, why not now?? (Could it be because back in WWI and WWII, the refugees were mostly European??)

    Instead, today’s US and Europe create detention centers (most inhumane conditions) for refugees, and call them “illegal immigrants”. Australia too, ignore refugees’ needs and call them “illegals”.

    I think that’s rather telling of how “stingy” the West has become.

  35. pug_ster
    November 29th, 2013 at 10:56 | #35

    @Hong Konger

    I forgot another thing. I recall during the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes that in the Western Propaganda I have never seen any of those propaganda channels of how to donate to the Charities for their cause. Instead, you see these Western propagandists go to these villages and try to expose on these so called ‘tofu’ buildings.

  36. November 29th, 2013 at 11:40 | #36

    @Black Pheonix
    Oops, I think you have fallen into a trap. According to some, East Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea are more racist and stingy than the west. In the west they actually encourage immigration (provided one meet the set criteria), there is almost no immigration policy for those East Asian countries.

    How do you explain that? China’s excuse is that it is poor but what about Japan, Korea and Taiwan?

  37. Zack
    November 29th, 2013 at 14:51 | #37

    just because some Western countries are more accepting of immigrants, doesn’t mean their societies are less racist. the recent jimmy kimmel scandal is one example of a racist society that seemingly accepts immigrants yet doesn’t blink an eye when calls for genocide are aired and considered good comedy.

    Secondly, why do western countries accept SOME immigrants? they certainly don’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts-they do it to attract top foreign talent and keep foreign talent, in effect stealing the human resources from poorer countries so as to further their own geopolitical goals. How many Chinese scientists are currently working on sci/tech development in the US?

  38. Black Pheonix
    November 29th, 2013 at 17:24 | #38


    The question is not “immigration” in general, but rather acceptance of REFUGEE immigrants.

    All too often, those self-proclaimed “enlightened” Democracies are the ones too eager to abuse the more vulnerable refugee immigrants, push them around because they are defenseless and in need of help.

    US has massive and privately run detention centers for “illegals”, which are relatively unchecked in their abuses of people who are stuck in the limbo of “possible deportation”. They could be stuck there for years.

    That’s quite a bit of contradiction to the PUBLIC display of US military sending aid to desperate Filipinos.

    And IKEA’s donation??!

    Don’t tell me it had nothing to do with trying to offset the negative PR going on with its ongoing INTERNATIONAL dispute with its workers, now in the 6th Month!!!


  39. November 30th, 2013 at 08:46 | #39

    @Black Pheonix
    Well, this is the accusation I regularly read that implied East Asians are “more racist” than European. Just giving you a head up.

  40. October 20th, 2015 at 23:01 | #40

    Trying to follow up on how the recovery efforts in Philippines are going after almost two years.

    Here is what I have been able to find:


    One year ago, Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) struck the Philippines, claiming over 6,000 lives. In the aftermath, numerous reports emerged regarding the failure of the Philippine government to properly manage relief efforts and get foreign aid to victims. This past September, the Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) released its comprehensive–and damning–Report on the Audit of Typhoon Yolanda Relief Operations. According to the report, of the $15 million available in the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) quick response fund, and the $1 million in donations received by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), not one cent was spent on the basic subsistence needs of typhoon victims, in clear violation of the statutory mandate of Republic Act 10352.

    Elizabeth’s recent post highlighted some of the challenges involved in fighting corruption in a conflict zone. While a natural disaster like Typhoon Haiyan poses similar issues, the challenges–and the opportunities for effective response–differ in some important respects. On the one hand, in a natural disaster–as in a conflict situation–the chaos and breakdown of oversight, coupled with the dependence of victims on the resources, coordination, and capabilities of those in a position to provide relief creates a power imbalance that increases opportunities for corrupt actors. At the same time, although any individual natural disaster is unpredictable, the fact that such disasters will periodically occur is predictable (at least in certain disaster-prone areas), and this creates opportunities–which perhaps don’t exist to the same degree in the context of armed conflicts–to plan ahead: to take steps that can redress the potential power imbalance before the crisis occurs.

    The need to plan ahead to address corruption in natural disaster response is critical because, in the immediate aftermath of something like a typhoon strike, normal governmental operations grind to a halt, and the immediate needs of disaster management override the government’s interest in strict oversight of resource allocation. The breakdown of accountability provides unscrupulous public officials with a golden opportunity to siphon off money and supplies from government funds and donations. Moreover, because the responsibility for natural disaster response falls mainly on the government, public officials placed in charge of relief operations are given a heightened opportunity to exploit victim desperation in order to advance their private interests. (In this regard, the corruption risks may be even more severe than in the armed conflict situations that Elizabeth described, where the corrupt actors are mostly NGOs and their local clients.) The aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan illustrates the potential for abuse: As foreign aid began pouring in to the hardest hit regions, reports emerged that village captains–who had been put in charge of coordinating the distribution of relief goods–were distributing relief packs and vouchers on the basis of favoritism and political patronage. In one town, a mayor was accused of distributing goods only to affiliates of his own party.

    Here is a second. http://faq.ph/where-did-the-billion-dollar-foreign-aid-for-haiyan-survivors-go/

    Not only Haiyan (Yolanda) survivors but all the concerned Filipinos and foreign nationals are asking… where did all the international donations for Yolanda victims go? Did the funds reach the Haiyan survivors or not?

    As a Haiyan Survivor myself, I’m also curious to the answer of those questions above.

    1. The government has set up a Foreign Aid Transparency Hub or FAITH. This hub is composed of web pages in the government’s official website. It shows the total foreign aid and assistance pledged and received by the Philippine government from other countries (governments). It also shows the list of countries, government and private individuals or organizations that made a donation or pledge to our government.

    The hub is our government’s attempt to be transparent to the public on how they are handling the international aid and assistance for Haiyan and other calamity affected areas in the Philippines. The problem is it lacks data. It doesn’t show the details on how they are spending or distributing the money and goods they received from the International communities.

    The following infographic from the Hub tries to show us the flow of information, cash and goods from various donors to the different agencies of the government.

    Is the infographic above or the whole Transparency Hub enough to give you a clearer picture of how the government handles the distribution of foreign aid and assistance for Haiyan affected areas?

    In my own opinion, it doesn’t provide the transparency it should bring to its users. The Hub is not even updated, as it was still dated May 2014. And as of this date, the links to CSV files in the full report lead to “pages not found” (please correct me if you can access them in your end).

    2. Not all foreign aid and assistance are already received by our government. Most of these amounts are pledged. In other words, most of them are promised contributions yet to be made in the future by their pledgors. According to the data I retrieved from the Hub as of August 16, 2014, The total foreign aid pledged amounted to $763,519,307 (PHP34,067,467,968) while the total foreign aid received amounted to $336,115,394 (PHP14,997,132,777).

    3. Not all Foreign Aid pledged to the Philippines are cash. Of the total foreign aid pledged of $763,519,307 (PHP34,067,467,968), only $248,254,904 (P11.076billion) are cash while the rest of $515,264,403 (P22,990billion) are noncash. These noncash aid and assistance include relief goods, medical services, equipment, manpower and infrastructure.

    I think that there are a couple of things to tease out here. Note how much of the donations is in non-cash. The author would like to believe that portion means goods or equipment or supplies (which would be nice), but I think a huge huge chunk of the noncash is actually used to pay exorbitant salaries of foreign (Western) NGO staff (consults, advisers, technical workers, operations staff, etc.)…

    Even if the non-cash donations are for bona fide goods and equipment, and given how wasteful the U.S. military – one of the most efficient organization in the world – can be especially operating abroad (see, e.g., this or this or this), and given that NGOs as a class are no more wasteful (actually perhaps a lot more wasteful, given the veil of darkness that often surround them) than other organizations, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see $1000 toilets in those non-cash goods, supplies and equipment – assuming, of course, that they were delivered to the people in the first place!


    4. Not all international donations and pledges are granted to our government. Other donations and pledges for Haiyan victims were granted through international and local NGOs. These international nongovernment organizations include UNICEF, International Committee of the Red Cross, Tzu Chi Foundation, World Vision and other international humanitarian organizations. Local NGOs or foundations include ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc, GMA Kapuso Foundation, Gawad Kalinga Foundation and other non-for-profit organizations based in the Philippines. Hence, when it comes to asking “where did the donations go?”, we should not only ask the Philippine government but also all the NGOs.

    The good thing about these International NGOs like Red Cross, UNICEF and Tzu Chi Foundation is that we can see the efficiency and effectiveness of their work – just ask the Haiyan Survivors.

    7. Alleged expired and wasted relief goods were reported. There were reports of truckloads of expired relief good ending up in the dumpsite. DSWD defended itself by saying that only one sack of assorted biscuits, 10 cups of instant noodles, 1/2 sack of wet rice, and one sack of used clothing were buried. So who’s telling the truth?

    8. Many Haiyan survivors have wondered where the imported relief goods went.

    If you will ask most of the Haiyan Survivors here in Tacloban City if they received imported relief goods from the government, don’t be shocked if the majority of their answers is “NO”. Perhaps, those imported goods were distributed outside Tacloban City, like in Eastern Samar or the other parts of Leyte. Perhaps I just missed those imported stuff since I did not queue for them. Maybe they were stranded at the Bureau of Customs for lack of clearance and required documents. Well, I don’t know for sure.

    There were also reports of alleged imported relief goods for Haiyan victims that were sold in Manila. Philippines-aid-furore-foreign-aid-stalled-witnesses.html) The DSWD vowed to probe the reported sale of those relief goods.

    9. Here comes the rehabilitation plan. On August 1, 2014, nearly 9 months after after Yolanda struck us, Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson submitted the 8,000-page/8-volume thick final Yolanda Rehabilitation Plan to President Aquino for approval rehabilitation-master-plan-for-yolanda-hit-provinces-8000-pages-8-volumes. The master rehabilitation plan is estimated to cost P170.7 billion ($3.93 billion) …

    As of July 28, 2014, P37.42 billion of the total P170.7 billion Yolanda Rehabilitation Plan is already funded. This means there’s still remaining P 133.496 billion to be funded. A big chunk of this fund will be coming from the loans granted by the Asian Development Bank (P48.25billion), World Bank (P44.221billion), JICA or Japan International Cooperation Agency (P21.5billion) and AFD or Agence Française de Développement (P12.212B).

    If you’ve noticed, after nine months since Haiyan, the government has just completed 285 of the 205, 128 permanent houses it should deliver – that’s 0.14% completion rate. …

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