U.S. leads Philippine disaster relief, but most Americans unengaged

One in three overseas Filipinos lives in the United States and the U.S. government is leading the international relief effort after Typhoon Haiyan, but most Americans are tuned out of the disaster’s aftermath, the Pew Research Center reported Tuesday.

A Nov. 14-17 survey of 1,013 U.S. adults found less than a third of them were following the tragic consequences of the monster storm, the Pew pollsters found.

Even fewer, 14 percent, said they had contributed to disaster relief, although donations typically tend to be slow in the early days after a devastating storm or earthquake, the researchers noted. An additional 17 percent of those polled said they planned to send money to help the victims of Haiyan.

General interest in the Philippines tragedy and limited humanitarian response were low compared with Americans’ reactions to other recent disasters, the Pew report said.

After the earthquake-triggered tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011, 55 percent of Americans surveyed by Pew said they were closely following the plight of the Japanese. In 2004, 58 percent of those polled said they were watching coverage of developments in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami, and 60 percent of Americans asked about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti said they were tuned in to the tragedy.

The researchers drew no conclusions as to why the Philippines’ disaster has failed to galvanize as much empathy or charitable response as other recent disasters, especially given the close political ties between the two countries and the presence of 3.4-million Filipinos in the United States. The report said only that the story drawing most attention among U.S. citizens during the week of the survey was the troubled rollout of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Since the typhoon hit central Philippines islands on Nov. 8 with record wind force, nearly 4,000 people have been confirmed dead and the toll is expected to rise as debris is cleared and searches for the missing are exhausted.

On Tuesday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council raised the official death toll to 3,982, and said 4-million people whose homes were destroyed were living in emergency shelters.

The death tolls for the Haiti, Japan and Indian Ocean tsunami disaster were considerably higher.

Meanwhile, the White House reported Tuesday that it has contributed $37 million to Haiyan relief so far and delivered food, water, shelter materials and hygiene kits for about 100,000 people. The Obama administration also posted online information about how Americans can help in the crisis.

The U.S. military deployed the aircraft carrier George Washington and its attendant vessels to the region, where the ship’s 21 helicopters have been ferrying relief supplies and assisting in search-and-rescue operations since arriving Thursday, the White House said in the report on U.S. assistance.

More than 9,500 U.S. military personnel are now helping with aid distribution, communications and utility restoration and getting key airports up and running to ramp up relief to the hardest-hit areas, the government said.

“Our Philippine ally is responding to one of the largest disasters its country has ever faced, and we have been coordinating closely with them at every step,” the White House said.

Two U.S. amphibious ships, the Ashland and the Germantown, are also en route to the Philippines to bring the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from Okinawa, Japan, as well as heavy engineering equipment such as backhoes, dump trucks and wreckers needed to support the response, the government statement said.

A British carrier, the HMS Illustrious, is also headed for the Philippines with seven helicopters and a fresh-water production plant on board, the Ministry of Defense has announced.

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Voter registration deadline looms

Oct. 30 is the deadline for new voter registrations prior to the General Election.

This week’s Herald Super Kid is Nathan Nicholson of Snohomish High School. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
One driven Panther

Snohomish senior Nathan Nicholson a student leader, social media master.

Most Read