News


Palo Alto's sister city devastated by typhoon

City of Palo in Philippines cut off from communication

Super Typhoon Yolanda, considered one of the most powerful storms of its kind to make landfall, has struck Palo Alto's sister city, Palo in Leyte Island in the Philippines, killing at least 31 people in the city, according to the Philippine news site GMA Network Inc.

The typhoon, also known by its international name Haiyan, made landfall in Guiuan, a city in Samar province in the eastern Philippines that is just east of Leyte Island. Palo, a city of 62,727 people, lies in northern Leyte just opposite Samar and sits on the Leyte Gulf. The area was one of the hardest hit by the storm, according to the report.

The number of dead as of Saturday was estimated at 1,200, with the casualties expected to rise, Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross told the news agency Reuters. About 1,000 of the dead were on Leyte.

At least 100 people were officially confirmed dead in Tacloban City and Palo as the storm crossed the central Philippines on Friday, according to GMA Network. Journalists passed at least 10 bodies in a school on the way to Palo and anther 12 in a church near Tacloban. At least 20 bodies washed ashore and were laid upon a pier, GMA reporter Jiggy Manicad said in a report.

Philippines officials reported maximum sustainable winds of 147 mph with gusts of 170 mph. Manicad and his team felt like they were "inside a washing machine," as winds blew for four hours.

Video footage showed fierce winds and rain pounding buildings and snapping palm trees. Storm surges tossed vehicles and flattened buildings. Residents, clutching a few belongings, waded through waist-deep water.

In a church where GMA reporter Love Anover took shelter in Palo, the roof ripped off while video cameras rolled, and rain and debris fell inside. Anover emotionally recounted the experience in a later news report. Manicad said the church later housed at least 20 bodies that had washed onshore or were found by the road. Palo was left isolated by the typhoon, including widespread power and communication outages.

Palo and Palo Alto became "sister cities" in 1963; it was the first of Palo Alto's seven sister cities. Palo is the site of the 1944 landing of General MacArthur and the Allied troops during World War II, which 1aunched the liberation of the Philippines.

The sister cities have shared many cultural exchanges through the nonprofit organization Neighbors Abroad of Palo Alto. The organization was started by local residents to meet the challenge set by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower during the Cold War to build relationships with overseas communities that would further peace and understanding among nations after World War II.

Neighbors Abroad has been sponsoring a children's library in Palo for many years. Each year books collected in Palo Alto are sent to the library. The library is one of the few in the Philippines where children can check out and return books, according to the organization's website.

Ruth Carleton, Neighbors Abroad vice president in charge of Palo, said the group had not yet heard from Filipino colleagues. All telephone lines are down in the area, she said.

"We are waiting on pins and needles. ... Knowing the area well, I can say the river's right there and the bay is right there. It would be a hard place to be," she said.

Neighbors Abroad will hold a board meeting on Wednesday to discuss ways to assist Palo. Persons wanting to help can send donations to Neighbors Abroad, P.O. Box 52004, Palo Alto, CA 94303.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by tyfoon
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm

air pollution is causing climate crisis. burning odor outside now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm

This afternoon's smoke is from a fire in Redwood City.

It would be nice if PAOnline made safety announcements.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2013 at 11:18 am

The fire was in Redwood City in San Mateo County. The smoke spread to County of Santa Clara, as well as east. Alerts were sent to those who had signed up for the respective alert systems.

You can sign up for free emergency alerts from San Mateo County and from Santa Clara County (as well as City of Palo Alto and other cities). Alerts can be received as email, phone call, or text message.

County of San Mateo's alert signup page: Web Link

County of Santa Clara's alert signup page is linked from here:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2013 at 11:18 am

The fire was in Redwood City in San Mateo County. The smoke spread to County of Santa Clara, as well as east. Alerts were sent to those who had signed up for the respective alert systems.

You can sign up for free emergency alerts from San Mateo County and from Santa Clara County (as well as City of Palo Alto and other cities). Alerts can be received as email, phone call, or text message.

County of San Mateo's alert signup page: Web Link

County of Santa Clara's alert signup page is linked from here:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm

It's really awful that this story about the devastation and tragedy in Palo Alto's sister city in The Philippines ONLY generated comments about the local fire/smoke release....nothing about the complete disaster in The Phillipines.

Here are some places to send donations to The Phillipines: The Phillipines Red Cross, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders.

Here's a long list of these and others, with websites and contact info included.
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Another neighbor
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2013 at 11:00 am

Thank you Neighbor! Finally somebody with sensibility to comment on a disaster which virtually devasteted our sister city Palo with more than just complaining about smoke eminating from Redwood City.

Please consider helping people in desperate need.


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