Countries around the world may have been mobilising aid for typhoon-hit central Philippines  since last week but this has to be increased 50 to 100 times more, a Dubai-based singer-philanthropist  told Gulf News.
“It’s the biggest disaster of the world. I’ve been to international disasters — to Haiti, Japan during the tsunami, to Africa, to Indonesia during the tsunami. But this is the worst I have ever seen in my life. This is catastrophic,” singer-musician and humanitarian Glenn Perry told Gulf News in a phone interview from Manila on Tuesday.
Perry was in Manila for a few hours to buy badly needed medicines for typhoon victims in Tacloban, a city flattened by super typhoon Haiyan along with other island provinces in the Philippines on November 8. The typhoon left in its wake almost 4,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.
Perry flew to Tacloban six days ago to do his bit to help. But what greeted him was beyond his wildest imagination.
“When I reached Tacloban, my heart stopped beating. Everything was totally devastated. And it’s worse than what we have seen in the news. The children are crying; the elderly are starving. It’s total chaos,” Perry recounted.
Perry said this is his fourth trip to the Philippines for humanitarian reasons. He visited the Philippines in 2006, 2009, and 2012 when three strong typhoons hit the country.
“My only wish, and I’m pleading to the world on behalf of the people here, please get here as soon as possible and whoever has come in, it’s not enough. They need to come in 50 to 100 times more. It’s the disaster of the greatest magnitude,” Perry stressed.
Perry said he is requesting the media to continue reporting on the issue so people around the world don’t forget.
“I know the lifespan of every disaster is two weeks. After two weeks, the media forgets everything and focuses on the next disaster. Before that happens, I want everyone to come here and help these people,” Perry stressed.
Perry said residents in towns outside Tacloban like Palo, Tanauan, Tolosa, and Dulag, which directly face the South Pacific Ocean, have received very little aid, if at all.
“There is aid. But it’s a trickle of aid. Really, these people need food and water!”
Perry admitted there is a logistical problem in the badly-hit areas as the Leyte airport was badly damaged by the typhoon. But aid workers just need to find a way like he did. He said he boarded a plane from Dubai to Manila, then flew to Cebu, took a ferry to Ormoc in Samar and then a bus to Leyte.
While the Philippine government is doing a good job in the clearing operations, Perry said they should work double time to bury the dead.
“There is a stench of death everywhere. The stench of death is so strong that it’s in my nostrils and it’s in my body. I can smell it even here now that I’m in Manila. That is going to make them sick and the worst thing is there’s going to be a disease,” Perry said.