Local Relief Grows For Devastated Areas After Philippines Hit By Another Typhoon

Landslides buried two families in the Philippines as they sheltered in their homes from Asia's latest deadly typhoon, which killed at least 16 people and left more than a dozen flooded villages cut off Sunday.

Police Senior Superintendent Loreto Espineli said a family of five, including a 1-year-old boy, died when their home in Benguet province was buried as Typhoon Parma hit Saturday. Seven people, including another family of five, were buried in a nearby village, he said.

Parma moved Northwest into the South China Sea near Taiwan Sunday before hooking back towards the Philippines and interacting with Typhoon Melor, which is growing over the north Pacific Ocean and pushing west. The good news is its not expected to hit the Philippines coast again, just cause more heavy rains.

Parma hit just eight days after an earlier storm left Manila awash in the worst flooding in four decades, killing almost 300 people.

Tens of thousands of Filipinos fled to higher ground as Parma bore down on the main island of Luzon bearing winds of 108 mph (175 kph) and driving rain. Towns in half a dozen provinces were battered, and downpours swelled rivers to bursting, officials said. Power, phone lines and internet links were down across the north, making it difficult to get reports about the extent of damage, Armand Araneta, a civil defense official responsible for several northern provinces, told the AP.

"We really got the brunt of the wind," he said by phone from Tuguegarao city, capital of Cagayan province. "Many trees fell here. The winds knocked down cables, telephone lines - even our windows got shattered by the strong winds."

Manila escaped the worst of the storm. On Sept. 26, Tropical Storm Ketsana killed at least 288 people and damaged the homes of 3 million. Ketsana went on to kill 99 in Vietnam, 14 in Cambodia and 16 in Laos.

Sunday, Child United, a Seattle-based nonprofit organization, gaterhed relief supplies and donations to send to the Philippines later this week. along with more clothes, shoes, towels, blankets, sheets and food they plan on collecting and combining with online monetory donations.

Child United promotes education in the Philippines, but switched their focus when disaster struck. "When we found out that there was so much devastation in the Philippines," said Christine Umayam, "we just had to change our focus and put it out there for relief."

Parma was part of more than a week of destruction in the Asia-Pacific region: an earthquake Wednesday in Indonesia, a tsunami Tuesday in the Samoan islands, and Ketsana.

In Indonesia, the United Nations puts the death toll at 1,100 and its expected to rise some more. On Sunday, government officials ans search teams lost hope of finding any more survivors under the rubble, and instead began focusing on retrieving bodies and setting up tents for the tens of thousands of homeless and providing them with food and drinking water.

According to the AP, hundreds of children went back to class Monday in schools set up in tents in Indonesia's earthquake zone to get counseling on the loss of loved ones and homes, as authorities tried to restore normalcy after the disaster.

Meanwhile, In Samoa, medical teams are giving tetanus shots and antibiotics to tsunami survivors, as grieving residents begin burying the dead. At least 169 people are known dead after Samoa and its neighboring Pacific islands were hit by an earthquake and tsunami. Bodies are still being pulled from the sea and dug out from under sand, mud and debris. Many billagers in remote areas of American Samoa were waiting for government officials to assess damage to their homes and shops before they can start to clean up.

McChord Air Force Base joined a massive convoy effort from the United States, Australia, and New Zealand to help out those in the Samoa Islands recovering from a deadly tsunami. A C-17 loaded with supplies and a nine-person Federal Emergency Management Agency team left for American Samoa in the early evening, with the goal of making it by midnight while refueling in mid-air.

It's one of several local efforts to help out several Southeast Asian countries that have been devastated in the last few days by natural disasters.

Local non-profit, World Vision has sent a small group to the Samoa Islands to get a better idea of what's happening on the ground there, because they say communication with loved ones has been difficult.

"It's just, the waiting, and it's hard," says Lina Thompson with World Vision, "and we're just hoping and praying for some good news."

Mercy Corps is concentrating their efforts in Indonesia. "Mercy Corps has a substantial presence in Padang working on disaster preparedness," said Craig Redmond, Mercy Corps Southeast Asia Regional Director. "No one is better positioned to respond to this emergency than us." They are providing temporary shelter items, other relief supplies and provision of clean water.

Tim Serban, Snohomish County Red Cross volunteer from Marysville and a member of the spiritual care response team is being deployed to American Samoa as part of the massive mobilization of Red Cross personnel and supplies being sent into weather-devastated areas in the Samoa area.

"This is an exceptionally busy time in that part of the world," Chuck Morrison, director of the Snohomish County Red Cross stressed. "We've got people, hundreds of families with children who need help just to get through the day and survive the effects of the tsunami, along with flooding and typhoon activity in the surrounding area. And there's another typhoon on the way," he added.

The Red Cross has dozens of volunteers already providing food and supplies in the Philippines as well. A team of 50 volunteers are enroute to American Somoa supplement the efforts of the local Red Cross team. The Red Cross has a warehouse on American Samoa supplied with cots, flashlights, and cooking and clean-up supplies, and will be sending in additional supplies as quickly as possible.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times