Anderson Cooper reports on govt’s failure in TaclobanTop foreign journalists led by CNN’s Anderson Cooper who flew to Tacloban City to report on the devastation wrought by typhoon Yolanda criticized the government for moving too slowly to bring aid to victims.
In his Twitter account, Cooper said: “”It looks like the end of the world, for many here it was…The people in Tacloban have great dignity and deserve better than what they have gotten”.
“The search and rescue never materialized.. There is no real evidence of organized recovery or relief,” Cooper said in another tweet.
Cooper also tweeted saying it’s not clear who is in charge and that he has not seen a large Philippine military presence nor food and heavy machineries to turn things around.
He said: “”They are saying ‘I need food and water, why are there still bodies?’”
In his on-air comments, Cooper described the situation in the battered city as “miserable,” observing that the government had not even set up a feeding center five days after the storm struck.
The veteran CNN journalist also noted in one of his tweets that “Haiyan’s youngest victims are also some of the most vulnerable.”
Cooper contrasted the slow action in Tacloban to the swift response of the Japanese government during the tsunami in 2011.
“When I was in Japan, right after the tsunami there two years ago, within a day or two, you had Japanese defense forces going out, carving up cities into grids and going out on foot looking for people, walking through the wreckage. We have not seen that here in any kind of large-scale operation,” Cooper said.
Cooper’s tell-it-as-it-is reporting came a day after President Benigno Aquino did an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour where he said the death toll should be around 2,500 and not 10,000 as earlier quoted. As of Wednesday evening, latest data released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed the validated number of fatalities from the monster storm has reached 2,344 already with 3,804 injured and 79 missing. Observers believe the number of deaths will soon exceed the conservative estimate Aquino gave to Amanpour.
CNN’s critical assessment of the government relief efforts dovetailed with observations by local journalists at the scene.
ABS-CBN’s Ted Failon, in his nightly news program TV Patrol, pointed out that most roads in Tacloban City were still littered with bodies and debris, two nights after President Aquino went on the air to report that major roads have had been cleared.
The French news agency AFP reported that thousands of Tacloban residents remained outside the destroyed airport hoping to fly out of the city.
ABS-CBN’s radio and TV news anchor, Korina Sanchez, meanwhile made a remark in her program that Cooper doesn’t know what he is talking about.This triggered an avalanche of angry comments directed to Sanchez, with many questioning her credibility for being the wife of Interior Sec. Mar Roxas who was among the officials supposedly on top of the situation in the typhoon-ravaged provinces. Those who commented also pointed to the fact that Sanchez was reporting inside the comforts of the TV network, while Cooper has flown all the way to Tacloban to be on the ground and see with his own eyes the extent of the horror left by Yolanda.
As for Cooper, one of his well thought-out tweets hit the nail in the head: “This story gets sadder by the hour…”, an observation confirmed by a later tweet: There are mothers searching for their children, it is a sickening sight five days later”.