Nightly News   |  November 14, 2013

U.S. Marines deliver desperately-needed aid to Guiuan

Marine Ospreys, loaded with food and other aid, have arrived in the town of Guiuan, which was hard-hit by the typhoon. NBC’s Harry Smith reports.

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>>> now our update on the continuing and desperate situation in the philippines. tonight the u.n. is out with their newest mat of the death toll nearly 4500 so far. also tonight some food, water and medical help is finally getting in, but it's not clear if it is reaching the hundreds of thousands who desperately need it of. tonight, nbc's harry smith has ventured back into the hard hit city of tacloban . harry, good evening.

>> reporter: brian, thank you very much. once again in tacloban . yesterday we criss-crossed the country with the united states marine corps and if possible gained an even greater understanding of the depth and scope of the problems and also the urgency for need of response. we have been looking at scenes of misery all week. an incomprehensible visual onslaught. as we are almost seven full days now since the storm hit, this is what you should know.

>> reporter: aid is starting to pour in from all over the world. with a stable airport, back there there is a plane from the united arab emirates . behind me, one from israel. there are planes from asia, australia. the world is responding.

>> reporter: in the storm zone, little of the response is being felt. that's why storm victims by the hundreds wait in lines at the tacloban airport -- lines that don't seem to move. terry works at the local post office. she's been in line for three days.

>> people like us , very ordinary, cannot go to manila. we are just suffering from hunger. no water.

>> no medicine.

>> no medicine.

>> reporter: so the u.s. marines are throwing everything they have at the problem including the osprey. it can fly like a plane but take off or land like a helicopter, making it an ideal bridge between the aid that's come in and those that desperately need it. we rode along as they went to a town cut off since the storm hit. we are in a little village called ewan. the ospreys are loaded with aid, with food. there are police, local emergency workers here helping to unload the planes. look at the crowd that's assembled here. [ cheers ]

>> reporter: what was it like here friday?

>> oh, horrible. it's like hell.

>> reporter: this man worries the aid may not get to the people who need it most. as best we could tell, the shipment was secure. as the ospreys continued to swoop from village to village, you can't help but wonder what would happen if they weren't here. lieutenant general john whistler told me this work is like second nature to the marines.

>> being able to come out and make a difference for these people means all the world to them.

>> reporter: and, brian, one of the things that's interesting, we are so focused on the immediate needs of the people. as you travel across the country, the power lines are down everywhere. there is no running water any place in the storm zone and restoring all of that is going to take a long, long time.

>> a long time, indeed. harry smith in tacloban for us. thanks for your day of reporting.