The Philippines says “Thank you” on billboards around the world in gratitude for the massive outpouring of international help after a typhoon that killed about 8,000 people three months ago. READ FULL STORY
Tag archive for "Typhoon Haiyan"
Counting the dead in the Philippines is grim, slow, and frustratingly inexact work. On November 19, the Philippine government put the count at just under 3,982, but no one seemed to believe it would stay there. The United Nations warned that crews have still not reached some remote islands. READ FULL STORY
A survivor of Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan) describes their condition as “worse than hell.” These images from CNN and New York Times capture the suffering and devastation from the world’s most powerful typhoon ever. Click links to view photos. Warning: the photo galleries contain graphic images.
For the third year in a row, the Philippines has been hit by a major storm claiming more than 1,000 lives, and the death toll from Haiyan, one of the worst on record, could climb to 10,000. With thousands of islands in the warm waters of the Pacific, the Philippines is destined to face the wrath of angry tropical storms year after year. READ FULL STORY
On November 8th, after Typhoon Haiyan hit, Helen Merino, a forty-four-year-old housemaid in Manila, tried to reach her parents in rural Barangay Tolingon, part of Isabel municipality in Leyte province. All power and communication lines were down, but somehow Facebook was accessible. READ FULL STORY
Lieutenant Colonel Fermin Carangan is the Commanding Officer of TOG 8, the Air Force unit tasked to provide air support for Samar and Leyte. Here he narrates his ordeal as Supertyphoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) unleashed her fury on Tacloban on that fateful morning of November 8. READ FULL STORY
TACLOBAN CITY – Tormented survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda that is feared to have killed thousands rummaged for food through debris scattered with corpses, while frenzied mobs looted aid convoys.
Two days after one of the most powerful storms ever recorded flattened communities across a large part of the country last Nov. 8, desperate survival tactics created fresh horrors.
On the outskirts of Tacloban, a coastal eastern city of 220,000 where tsunami-like waves destroyed many buildings, Edward Gualberto accidentally stepped on bodies as he raided the wreckage of a home.
Wearing nothing but a pair of red basketball shorts, the father of four and barangay councilor apologized for his shabby appearance and for stealing from the dead.
“I am a decent person. But if you have not eaten in three days, you do shameful things to survive,” Gualberto told AFP as he dug canned goods from the debris and flies swarmed over the bodies.
“We have no food, we need water and other things to survive.”
After half a day’s work, he had filled a bag with an assortment of essentials, including packs of spaghetti, cans of beer, detergent, soap, canned goods, biscuits and candies.
“This typhoon has stripped us of our dignity… but I still have my family and I am thankful for that.”
Elsewhere in Tacloban, other survivors were employing more aggressive means as they took advantage of a security vacuum created when most of the city’s police force failed to turn up for work after the typhoon.
Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon said looters ransacked one of his organization’s trucks as it was crossing a bridge in Tanuan, Leyte, last Nov. 10.
“These are mobsters operating out of there,” said Gordon.
According to a report by the Sun Star, the truck carried enough food and water for 25,000 families.
Gordon tried to call local police forces for aid, but no one took his calls.
Like Gualberto, many said they had not eaten since the typhoon and overwhelmed authorities admitted they were unable to get enough relief supplies into the city.
Some broke through shops that had withstood the typhoon by hammering through glass windows and winching open steel barricades.
One desperate meat shop owner brandished a handgun in a failed bid to prevent one mob from entering his shop.
He was ignored and the shop was ransacked. The businessman just silently stood by, waving his gun in the air and shouting. When he realized he had lost the fight, he cursed them and walked away.
Nearby, pastry shop owner Emma Bermejo described the widespread looting as “anarchy.”
“There is no security personnel, relief goods are too slow to arrive. People are dirty, hungry and thirsty. A few more days and they will begin to kill each other,” she said.
“This is shameful. We have been hit by a catastrophe and now our businesses are gone. Looted. I can understand if they take our food and water, they can have it. But TV sets? Washing machines?”
Meanwhile, confused men, women and children walked aimlessly along roads strewn with overturned cars and felled power lines, some gagging from the stench of rotting flesh.
A team of military cadaver collectors had been deployed, but the soldiers appeared overwhelmed.
“There are six trucks going around the city picking up the dead, but it’s not enough,” said the driver of one of the vehicles as it wended its way through the streets.
“There are bodies everywhere, we do not have enough people to get to them.”
Some survivors handed out small letters to passers-by and reporters asking them to contact their relatives to relay their fate.
Many had wounds on their faces and were limping, while all had stories of unimaginable horror.
“The huge waves came again and again, flushing us out on the street and washing away our homes,” Mirasol Saoyi, 27, told AFP near the city’s seaside sports stadium that withstood the typhoon and where thousands of people had gathered.
“My husband tied us together, but still we got separated among the debris. I saw many people drowning, screaming and going under… I haven’t found my husband.” (Reuters and Agence France-Presse)
TACLOBAN CITY — Corpses hung from trees, were scattered on sidewalks or buried in flattened buildings — some of the thousands believed killed in one Philippine city alone by ferocious Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that washed away homes and buildings with powerful winds and giant waves.
As the scale of devastation became clear on Nov. 10 from one of the worst storms ever recorded, officials said emergency crews could find more bodies when they reach parts of the archipelago cut off by flooding and landslides. Desperate residents raided grocery stores and gas stations in search of food, fuel and water as the government began relief efforts and international aid operations got underway.
Even in a nation regularly beset by earthquakes, volcanoes and tropical storms, Typhoon Haiyan appears to be the deadliest natural disaster on record.
Haiyan hit the eastern seaboard of the Philippines on Nov. 8 and quickly barreled across its central islands, packing winds of 235 kph (147 mph) that gusted to 275 kph (170 mph), and a storm surge of 6 meters (20 feet).
Hardest hit in the Philippines was Leyte Island, where regional Police Chief Elmer Soria said the provincial governor had told him there were about 10,000 dead, primarily from drowning and collapsed buildings. Most were in Tacloban, the provincial capital of about 200,000 people that is the biggest city on the island.
Reports also trickled in indicating deaths elsewhere on the island.
On Samar Island, Leo Dacaynos of the provincial disaster office said 300 people were confirmed dead in one town and another 2,000 were missing, with some towns yet to be reached by rescuers. He pleaded for food and water, adding that power was out and there was no cellphone signal, making communication possible only by radio.
Reports from other affected islands indicated dozens, perhaps hundreds more deaths.
With communications still knocked out in many areas, it was unclear how authorities were arriving at their estimates of the number of people killed, and it will be days before the full extent of the storm is known.
“On the way to the airport, we saw many bodies along the street,” said Philippine-born Australian Mila Ward, 53, who was waiting at the Tacloban airport to catch a military flight back to Manila, about 580 kilometers (360 miles) to the northwest. “They were covered with just anything — tarpaulin, roofing sheets, cardboard.” She said she passed “well over 100” bodies.
In one part of Tacloban, a ship had been pushed ashore and sat amid damaged homes.
Haiyan inflicted serious damage to at least six of the archipelago’s more than 7,000 islands, with Leyte, Samar and the northern part of Cebu appearing to bear the brunt of the storm. About 4 million people were affected by the storm, the national disaster agency said.
The Philippine National Red Cross said its efforts were hampered by looters, including some who attacked trucks of food and other relief supplies it was shipping to Tacloban from the southern port of Davao.
Tacloban’s two largest malls and grocery stores were looted, and police guarded a fuel depot. About 200 police officers were sent into Tacloban to restore law and order.
With other rampant looting reported, President Benigno Aquino III said he was considering declaring a state of emergency or martial law in Tacloban. A state of emergency usually includes curfews, price and food supply controls, military or police checkpoints and increased security patrols.
The massive casualties occurred even though the government had evacuated nearly 800,000 people ahead of the typhoon.
Challenged to respond to a disaster of such magnitude, the Philippine government also accepted help from abroad.
President Barack Obama said in a statement that he and his wife, Michelle, were “deeply saddened” by the deaths and damage from the typhoon. He said the U.S. was providing “significant humanitarian assistance” and was ready to assist in relief and recovery efforts.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed the Pacific Command to deploy ships and aircraft to support search-and-rescue operations and fly in emergency supplies.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was “extremely concerned” by the widespread destruction and the steeply rising death toll, according to a statement released by his office.
Pope Francis led tens of thousands of people at the Vatican in prayer for the victims. The Philippines has the largest number of Catholics in Asia, and Filipinos are one of Rome’s biggest immigrant communities.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Aquino was “speechless” when he told him of the devastation in Tacloban.
“I told him all systems are down,” Gazmin said. “There is no power, no water, nothing. People are desperate. They’re looting.”
“The devastation is … I don’t have the words for it,” Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said. “It’s really horrific. It’s a great human tragedy.” (Associated Press)
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