Are Philippines officials only handing out food to the people who VOTED for them? Shocking claim that millions in other areas are being left to fend for themselves after Typhoon
- An aid worker on the ground in the Philippines told MailOnline that favouritism exists at a national and village level
- He spoke on condition of anonymity saying he feared he might 'vanish' if identified
- The number of confirmed dead from Typhoon Haiyan has jumped more than 1,200 to 3,621, according to officials
PUBLISHED: 11:17 GMT, 15 November 2013 | UPDATED: 11:14 GMT, 16 November 2013
The survivors of Typhoon Haiyan are in desperate need of food and water and a huge relief effort is under way – but a shocking claim has emerged from an aid worker in the Philippines that government officials are prioritising aid based on who they think will vote for them.
The worker told MailOnline that the system there is so corrupt that he feared he would ‘vanish’ if he was identified.
He said: ‘Relief is not being distributed fairly in the Philippines. The government is prioritising the areas that vote for them. This is happening with all the large aid. The government is holding funds back and distributing on vote.’
However, a spokesman for the Disaster Emergency Committee said: ‘The DEC has had no reports from our member agencies that aid is being prioritised by the Philippines government on the basis of potential political support.
‘The DEC charities will fight tooth and nail to make sure aid goes to survivors according to their need alone, without regard for irrelevant factors such as people’s political views, religion or race.’
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Shocking: An aid worker has claimed that the Philippine government is distributing aid based on voting patterns. Pictured is the devastated Leyte province
Horrifying: The worker explained that this issue with distribution wasn't just happening on a national level – but at a village level, too. Pictured is the ravaged city of Tacloban
The claim makes for horrifying reading as pictures of survivors desperately pleading for food and water are beamed around the world.
The worker explained that this issue with distribution wasn’t just happening on a national level – but at a village level, too.
He said: ‘It is being reported to us by the locals in one village that the head of the Baranguays [villages] gave additional vouchers for relief packs to families they favoured. So by the end of the relief, even though we had given exactly the right number of packs for the number of families in the village, several went without.
‘They were all telling us that it was done by favouritism.’
The worker was distressed that ‘only Leyte and Tacloban are getting the international coverage’ and that the plight of those in other, more remote, areas of the Philippines was being made worse because ‘no one even knows about them’.
Powerful: A computer-generated image of super typhoon Haiyan making landfall over the Philippines on November 7
Desperate: The words 'SOS, Food, H20, Help!!!' are painted on the roof of a house as seen from a Philippine Air force helicopter in the super typhoon devastated Leyte Province
He added: ‘I don’t want to upset people over here it’s very corrupt and I don’t want to vanish.’
The Philippine government, meanwhile, has defended its efforts to deliver assistance to victims of the typhoon.
‘In a situation like this, nothing is fast enough,’ Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said in Tacloban, most of which was destroyed by the storm one week ago.
‘The need is massive, the need is immediate, and you can't reach everyone.’
The number of confirmed dead jumped more than 1,200 to 3,621, Eduardo del Rosario, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said on Friday.
Help arrives: Philippine Army rescue teams clear the road to a hospital in Leyte
Neutralising: A Filipino officer dispenses mosquito poison at a damaged residential area in Tacloban
Survival measures: A man sells pigs in Tacloban city
Make-shift: Survivors carry metal sheets they've collected and head back to their destroyed village of Marabut
Some officials estimate that the final toll, when the missing are declared dead and remote regions reached, will be more than 10,000. At least 600,000 people have been displaced.
The pace of the aid effort has picked up over the last 24 hours, according to reporters who have been in the region for several days. Foreign governments are dispatching food, water, medical supplies and trained staff to the region. Trucks and generators are also arriving.
But many people complain that the amount of food being given out is too small.
Renee Patron, 33, an American citizen of Filipino descent who was in Guiuan city on eastern Samar province when the typhoon struck, told the Associated Press news agency: 'The government's distribution system is not enough.
'They are handing out small food packets to each household. But when you have three families inside one home, one little packet is not enough.'
Her friend, Susan Tan, whose grocery store and warehouse were completely looted after the typhoon, is despondent but determined to carry on with her life and help others.
A Landrover is loaded into the hold of a Royal Air Force C17 at RAF Brize Norton preparing to carry UK Aid for victims of the Phillipines typhoon. The load included 4x4s, earth moving equipment, forklifts and medical supplies
Britain steps in: Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, is shown the vehicles and humanitarian aid on the Philippines-bound aircraft
On its way: The C-17 aircraft, operated by No 99 Squadron, takes off
She's now using her empty warehouse as a center from where people can make calls on a satellite phone she got from a friend who works for local telecoms company Smart. There has been no cell phone service in the town since last Friday.
'This was my store. Now's it's a relief center and a call center,' said Tan, 43. 'It was ransacked by panicked... people desperate for food. There was no way to control them. We had stocked up on food for the Christmas holidays. They took everything, and not just the food. They ransacked my office too, anything they could find. They took away our furniture.'
Now, the barren blue shelves are empty. Still, it is serving a purpose, with about 100 people queued up outside waiting to make calls. The free calls are limited to one minute each.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told The Associated Press that armed forces have set up communications lines and C-130 transport planes are conducting regular flights to Tacloban, the capital of Leyte.
While the navies of the United States and its allies rushed to the aid of the typhoon-hit Philippines, a state-of-the-art Chinese hospital ship has stayed at home and in doing so has become a symbol of China's tepid response to the crisis.
Generous: America and its allies have rushed to the aid of the Philippines. Here American military personnel load relief aid on to a US Navy Seabee helicopter from the USS George Washington carrier at a landing zone in Tacloban
Exhaustion: US military personnel sleep on aid shipments at Tacloban Airport
Misery: People wait for flights out of Tacloban Airport in the early hours of Friday morning
Beauty amongst the despair: A rainbow forms over the airport in Tacloban
Escape: Survivors wait for a military plane that will carry them to Manila at Tacloban airport
A soldier assists young survivors to the military plane at Tacloban airport
The decision not to deploy the 14,000-tonne Peace Ark, one of the newest and biggest hospital ships in the world, is one that contrasts with a recent charm offensive across Southeast Asia by China as it seeks to bolster ties and ease tension over the disputed South China Sea.
Even China's usually hawkish Global Times, a tabloid owned by the People's Daily state mouthpiece, on Friday called for the Ark to sail to the Philippines, where an international naval flotilla, headed by a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group, is delivering food, water and medicine.
Initially, China pledged $100,000 in aid to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan roared across central islands a week ago, and a further $100,000 through the Chinese Red Cross - figures dwarfed by multi-million dollar donations from countries and corporations around the world.
Even Swedish furniture chain Ikea and beverage giant Coca-Cola have done more than the world's second-largest economy for the Philippines.