Relief Teams Offering Glimmer of Hope Amid Despair

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Despite having experienced numerous natural disasters in the past, nothing has prepared the Philippines and its people for the damaging impact of super Typhoon Haiyan.

The death toll could reach as high as 10,000. More than 3,500 are injured and many are still missing.

The estimated economic damage is between $12 to $14 billion as roads, schools, and government buildings were almost wiped out.

Operation Blessing teams have witnessed the extent of damage not just on life and property but more importantly on the spirits of the Filipinos. Disaster relief teams have been witness to the images of desperation, hopelessness, and despair every day.

Operation Blessing disaster response teams are working in four provinces worst hit by Haiyan.

Tacloban, Leyte
The situation is chaotic as looting continues and food and water remain scarce. The New People's Army, a terrorist organization connected to the Communist Party, has also been hijacking vehicles with relief goods.

Meanwhile, the stench of bodies and piles of debris and garbage fills parts of the city.

Teams are working to provide medical attention to families who have been waiting painfully for days to receive treatment but couldn't get it because of the chaos. They have about two days worth of medicine to use in caring for the disaster victims in Tacloban.

Operation Blessing is also helping distribute thousands of packs of relief goods donated by its various partners to towns outside of Tacloban. Many of these communities have received little or no aid from the government or other NGO's.

Guiuan, Samar
Guiuan was one of the first areas to experience Haiyan's fury and is now almost isolated by the typhoon's devastation. Operation Blessing is the first and so far only humanitarian group registered to be serving this coastal town.

An Operation Blessing team traveled by land for 36 hours to reach Guiuan. The damage wiped out about 90 percent of the homes, the town hall, and hospitals. With four evacuation sites, there is at least peace and order in this area. But there is no electricity and water is scarce.

The nearest water and food supply is five hours away in another town. However, relief goods were flown in by a partner's private plane.

Meanwhile, an Operation Blessing team has been able to serve several hundred people there with the supplies they have.

Disaster Relief teams are still arriving in Iloilo with the first part of the team getting there Monday to access damage in these northern Filipino towns.

More arrived Friday to scout out other towns and communities that may not have been reached by any disaster relief agencies or by the government.

They are setting up a base camp in Sara, Estancia and Iloilo. The team is preparing to distribute goods to people in provinces like Roxas, Aklan, and Antique as soon as aid supplies and medicine arrive. A medical team will also be sent out in those areas.

Coron, Palawan
Another relief team arrived Thursday and set up a base camp in Coron. Relief supplies are now being prepared for distribution there with the help of local government and churches.

Other Areas
Operation Blessing has plans to move into more provinces across the island nation in other northern provinces like Daanbantayan town and Bantayan Island, where Haiyan's toppling winds made relief efforts a challenge.

Another team arrives Saturday and will go to Leyte to help head-up disaster relief distribution along with another medical mission next week in Bantayan Island.

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