Thousands Feared Dead In Philippines After Super Typhoon

The death toll could rise as high as 10,000 after Typhoon Haiyan laid waste to the eastern swath of the island nation. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Aaron Aspi, a communications officer with World Vision Philippines, a Christian relief organization.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Typhoon Haiyan swept to the Philippines with nearly 200 mile per hour winds. Thousands are feared dead. Aaron Aspi is a communications officer with World Vision Philippines, a Christian relief organization. And he joins me now from the island of Cebu.

Thank you so much for being with us.

AARON ASPI: Yes. Thank you.

MARTIN: So can you just tell us what you have seen since the storm has hit?

ASPI: Yes. I have been two different places now since the storm hit and before I was in the quake area of Bohol. And now I am now transferring to the island of Cebu, which is also affected by the massive 7.2 quake three weeks ago, in fact. Our office here is relocated because it was affected by the quake and now it's reeling from the pain brought by the typhoon.

MARTIN: Can you give us a sense of what kind of relief efforts are underway? I imagine there are thousands, probably tens of thousands of people who have been displaced.r.

ASPI: Yes. A massive relief effort is underway, providing the most critical needs of typhoon need families, like water, ready-to-eat food and other federal relief items. Right now, the first wave of goods are flown from Frankfurt and will be arriving tonight here in Manila. And these goods are composed of 5,400 blankets and 3,000 plastic sheets that would be useful for thousands of families, who are surely feeling cold right now as they sleep tonight in their evacuation centers.

MARTIN: You mention a major earthquake that hit the Philippines just last month. How is that affecting relief efforts? I mean these are areas that were already dramatically compromised. Infrastructure had been devastated.

ASPI: Yes. The clearing effort is doubly hard, especially in the quake areas. These of places that are easily flooded right now because of drainage systems there are totally damaged.

MARTIN: Are you able to get to the places? You mention roadblocks. Is it very difficult to get to the affected areas to deliver aid?

ASPI: Yes. Right now, that's the major challenge for us, to stabilize and establish contact with our staff who are worst hit in the areas affected by the storm.

MARTIN: Aaron Aspi is a communications officer with the aid group World Vision Philippines. He joined us on the line from Cebu. Thank you so much for talking with us.

ASPI: Thank you so much.

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