Survivors continue to say that critical aid isn’t reaching them fast enough in parts of the Philippines that were crushed by Typhoon Haiyan a little over one week ago, NPR’s Anthony Kuhn said earlier today on Weekend Edition Saturday.
Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless. The Philippine government’s official death toll stands at 3,633.
But stories of survival and strength also continue to emerge. On Weekend Edition, NPR’s Jason Beaubien reported about the hospitals and medical facilities that suffered catastrophic damage.
In one hospital he visited, the lobby has been turned into a makeshift triage ward.
“The crowd of patients waiting to be seen spills out into the parking lot,” Jason said. And though there’s no electricity, “nurses are tending to wounds and taking the vital signs of patients on a line of gurneys in front of what used to be the pharmacy.”
The typhoon “ripped the roof off this solid 4-story hospital and threw it down in the courtyard,” Jason added. “Air conditioning units in the upper floor windows were flung in to the rooms. Windows were smashed. Nurses continue to mop the mud out of wards on the ground floor.”
A patient, Ronico Olarte, tells of trying to hold up the cement walls of his home — only to see one collapse on to him. One of his legs was crushed. “He was originally treated at the regional government hospital,” Jason said, “but when the doctors decided they couldn’t save his leg, he was sent here for the amputation.”
A nurse, Sister Eliza Arpon, says the staff is “just so thankful … despite of all this … you go on, you can survive.”
NPR photographer David Gilkey is also in Tacloban. We’ve added a photo he took inside the hospital that Jason visited, as well as two others — one of the destruction at another hospital and another showing the some of the mass of wreckage in Tacloban, a city of 220,000 people.