Filipinos hit by new storm Zoraida while still reeling from Haiyan

PETALING JAYA - Malaysian-based Filipinos are also reeling from the effects of super typhoon Haiyan.

Engineer Elmer Nifas, 40, who is based in Ipoh, said although his family members in northwest Philippines were not directly affected, he felt the pain of his suffering countrymen.

"Bodies are lying on the roads. Survivors were helpless and demoralised. Relief goods couldn't easily reach people because of damaged transportation and entry points.

"But I am sure that the Philippines will rise again. May God be with us!" he said.

Elmer's colleagues, Domingo Cornejo, 40, and Russel Elona, 40, also prayed for a speedy recovery for their fellow Filipinos.

Joy Adeline Donasco, 37, suggested that the government airdropped food and water there. "It's faster than queuing up at relief centres," she said.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer, a member of the Asia News Network, is coordinating donations in the form of cash and kind through its Inquirer Help Fund, specifically as aid for Tacloban and Eastern Samar.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysian military medics and volunteers would head to the Philippines today with the first shipment of aid, braving a new storm that has hit the country after Haiyan.

He said two C-130 transport aircraft would leave from the Subang RMAF base today for Tacloban, which is the worst hit area.

Hishammuddin said the Malaysian team would closely monitor the new storm, known as Zoraida, which was currently near Mindanao.

"We are worried that if the new storm escalates it could affect the movement of our people but this will not deter us from proceeding," Hishammuddin said at a press conference yesterday.

One of the two aircraft will carry a 40-member team of volunteers from Kelab Putera 1Malaysia, headed by its president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, 10 tonnes of food and three tonnes of medicine.

The other aircraft will transport a mobile field hospital and military personnel comprising doctors, paramedics and support staff.

The Royal Malaysian Navy is also on standby to transport aid by sea to the Philippines while MASkargo has offered its aircraft for use to carry supplies if required.