The survivors of Typhoon Haiyan are in desperate need of food and water and a huge relief effort is under way – but a shocking claim has emerged from an aid worker in the Philippines that government officials are prioritising aid based on who they think will vote for them.
The worker told MailOnline that the system there is so corrupt that he feared he would ‘vanish’ if he was identified.
He said: ‘Relief is not being distributed fairly in the Philippines. The government is prioritising the areas that vote for them. This is happening with all the large aid. The government is holding funds back and distributing on vote.’
However, a spokesman for the Disaster Emergency Committee said: ‘The DEC has had no reports from our member agencies that aid is being prioritised by the Philippines government on the basis of potential political support.
‘The DEC charities will fight tooth and nail to make sure aid goes to survivors according to their need alone, without regard for irrelevant factors such as people’s political views, religion or race.’
The claim makes for horrifying reading as pictures of survivors desperately pleading for food and water are beamed around the world.
The worker explained that this issue with distribution wasn’t just happening on a national level – but at a village level, too.
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He said: ‘It is being reported to us by the locals in one village that the head of the Baranguays [villages] gave additional vouchers for relief packs to families they favoured. So by the end of the relief, even though we had given exactly the right number of packs for the number of families in the village, several went without.
‘They were all telling us that it was done by favouritism.’
The worker was distressed that ‘only Leyte and Tacloban are getting the international coverage’ and that the plight of those in other, more remote, areas of the Philippines was being made worse because ‘no one even knows about them’.
He added: ‘I don’t want to upset people over here it’s very corrupt and I don’t want to vanish.’
The Philippine government, meanwhile, has defended its efforts to deliver assistance to victims of the typhoon.
‘In a situation like this, nothing is fast enough,’ Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said in Tacloban, most of which was destroyed by the storm one week ago.
‘The need is massive, the need is immediate, and you can’t reach everyone.’
The number of confirmed dead jumped more than 1,200 to 3,621, Eduardo del Rosario, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said on Friday. MORE