Typhoon Haiyan survivors in Philippines struggle with scarce supplies

Residents watch as others throw items taken from a warehouse after super typhoon Haiyan hit Guiuan town, eastern Samar province, central Philippines November 11, 2013.
Survivors scavenge for supplies at a warehouse Monday after Supertyphoon Haiyan hit Guiuan town, eastern Samar province, central Philippines..
Credit: Reuters

Dazed survivors begged for help and scavenged for food, water and medicine Monday after a supertyphoon killed an estimated 10,000 people in the central Philippines.

President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity and deployed hundreds of soldiers in the coastal city of Tacloban to quell looting.

The huge scale of death and destruction from Friday’s storm became clearer as reports emerged of thousands of people missing and images showed apocalyptic scenes in one town that has not been reached by rescue workers.

One of the most powerful storms ever recorded, Typhoon Haiyan leveled Basey, a seaside town in Samar province about 6 miles across a bay from Tacloban in Leyte province, where at least 10,000 people were killed, according to officials.

About 2,000 people were missing in Basey, said the governor of Samar province.

“The situation is bad; the devastation has been significant. In some cases the devastation has been total,” Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras told a news conference.

The United Nations said officials in Tacloban, which bore the brunt of the storm Friday, had reported one mass grave of 300-500 bodies. More than 600,000 people were displaced by the storm across the country and some have no access to food, water or medicine, the U.N. says.

Flattened by surging waves and monster winds up to 235 mph, Tacloban, located 360 miles southeast of the capital Manila, was relying almost entirely on just three military transport planes flying from nearby Cebu city for supplies and evacuation.

Dozens of residents clamored for help at the airport gates.

In a nationwide broadcast, Aquino said the government was focusing relief and assistance efforts on Samar and Leyte provinces, which acted as “funnels for the storm surges.”

The declaration of a state of national calamity should quicken rescue efforts.

It will also allow the government to use state funds for relief and rehabilitation, and control prices. Aquino said the government had set aside 18.7 billion pesos ($432.97 million) for rehabilitation.

More bad weather was on the way with a depression due to bring rain to the central and southern Philippines on Tuesday, the weather bureau said.

Wall of water

Three days after the typhoon made landfall, residents of Tacloban told terrifying accounts of being swept away by a wall of water, revealing a city that had been hopelessly unprepared for a storm of Haiyan’s almost unprecedented power.

Most of the damage and deaths were caused by waves that inundated towns, washed ships ashore and swept away villages in scenes reminiscent of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Jean Mae Amande, 22, said she was washed several kilometers from her home by the surge of water. The current ripped her out to sea before pushing her back to shore, where she was able to cling to a tree and grab a rope thrown from a boat.

An old man who had been swimming with her died when his neck was gashed by an iron roof, she said.

“It’s a miracle that the ship was there,” Amande said.

Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded, is estimated to have destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of structures in its path. The damage to the coconut- and rice-growing region was expected to amount to more than 3 billion pesos ($69 million), Citi Research said in a report, with “massive losses” for private property.

Bodies litter the streets of Tacloban, rotting and swelling under the sun. People walked covering their noses with rags or old clothes to mask the stench.

International aid agencies said relief resources in the largely Roman Catholic Philippines were stretched thin after a 7.2-magnitude quake in central Bohol province last month and displacement caused by a conflict with Muslim rebels in southern Zamboanga province.

Twenty-one countries pledged to send relief, including Indonesia, United States, Britain, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Hungary, Aquino said.

The Italian bishops conference pledged 3 million euros in emergency aid, adding to $150,000 given by Pope Francis and 100,000 euros by Catholic charity Caritas. On Sunday, Pope Francis led thousands in a silent prayer outside St. Peter’s Basilica for the victims.

Tacloban’s administration appeared to be in disarray as city and hospital workers focused on saving their own families and securing food.

Operations were further hampered because roads, airports and bridges had been destroyed or were covered in wreckage.

Exasperation

Awelina Hadloc, 28, the owner of a convenience store, foraged for instant noodles at a warehouse that was almost bare from looting. She said her store had been washed away by a 10-foot storm surge.

“It is so difficult. It is like we are starting again,” said Hadloc. “There are no more supplies in the warehouse and the malls.”

Aquino, facing one of the biggest challenges of his three-year rule, deployed 800 soldiers and police to restore order in Tacloban after looters cleared out several stores.

Aquino, who before the storm said the government was aiming for zero casualties, has shown exasperation at conflicting reports on damage and deaths. One TV network quoted him as telling the head of the disaster agency that he was running out of patience.

The official death toll is likely to climb rapidly once rescuers reach remote parts of the coast, such as Guiuan, a town in eastern Samar province with a population of 40,000 that was largely destroyed.

“The only reason why we have no reports of casualties up to now is that communications systems … are down,” said Col. John Sanchez in a posting on the Philippines armed forces Facebook page.

About 400 people were confirmed dead in Samar province, according to provincial Gov. Sharee Ann Tan. Baco, a city of 35,000 in Oriental Mindoro province, was 80 percent under water, the United Nations said.

U.S. aid groups also launched a multimillion-dollar relief campaign. An official from one group, World Vision, said there were early reports that as much as 90 percent of northern Cebu had been destroyed. An aid team from Oxfam reported “utter destruction” in the northernmost tip of Cebu.

Thirteen people were killed and dozens hurt during heavy winds and storms in Vietnam as Haiyan approached the coast, state media reported, even though it had weakened substantially after hitting the Philippines.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…