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Storm’s Destruction Leaves Extreme Need in Philippines

by APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE |   2013 | 0 | 0

It’s been a week since the devastating Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. Relief efforts are strained by logistical challenges, including roads washed out by the storm.It’s been a week since the devastating Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, and chaos in the region is still rampant while the death toll continues to rise.

“The problem is many people don’t know where to go as aid runs short,” reported the Wall Street Journal Wednesday. “Relief agencies and government officials say they don’t have an estimate of how many are on the move, though the size of the crowds and reports from individual cities suggest the number is in the excess of tens of thousands.”

In an interview, the mayor of Tacloban suggested residents should go stay with friends or relatives elsewhere because of the extreme strain on resources in the region. One UN official is quoted saying on day five there are still people who haven’t received food or water. Relief efforts are strained by logistical challenges, including roads washed out by the storm.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal blog network published an interview with Orla Fagan, the public information officer with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). She says because of the Philippines’ location, the country prepares for natural disasters, such as typhoons, by prepositioning things like food and water. However, “this storm was so big that a lot of that was actually washed away,” Fagan says. “The ferocity of this storm just kind of wiped everything out.”

Fagan says it is the job of the UNOCHA to make sure relief is going to those who need it most and no one is serving the same community with the same things. She says next steps include the World Food Program coming in to set up access to water and food and UNICEF taking charge of the children’s needs.

“These first few days are crucial,” Fagan said. “It’s crucial to get the water there, it’s crucial to get the logistics. And that’s the biggest problem here, access. And once you get the logistics into order, everything else will fall into place.”

Emergency supply chain and operations management

It’s evident from the devastation in the central Philippines that supply chain management plays a huge role in disaster relief. The Philippines may be far from where you are physically located, but we are all neighbors and colleagues in this global economy. Please consider contributing to relief efforts.