News World News

Friday 22 August 2014

660,000 people without food or shelter following Philippines typhoon

660,000 people without food or shelter following Philippines typhoon
*Death toll stands at 10,000 but this is expected to rise
*Britain send warships to help Philippine relief efforts
* US aircraft carrier at full speed ahead for disaster zone
* Toll expected to rise as rescuers reach devastated towns
* An estimated 10,000 killed in Tacloban city alone

Published 12/11/2013 | 06:44

  • Share
Children play outside the Tacloban City Convention Center, which has become a makeshift refuge center for displaced people after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 12, 2013. Philippine officials have been overwhelmed by Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest on record, which tore through the central Philippines on Friday and flattened Tacloban, coastal capital of Leyte province where officials fear 10,000 people died, many drowning in a tsunami-like wall of seawater.   REUTERS/Edgar Su (PHILPPINES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Children play outside the Tacloban City Convention Center, which has become a makeshift refuge center for displaced people after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 12, 2013. Philippine officials have been overwhelmed by Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest on record, which tore through the central Philippines on Friday and flattened Tacloban, coastal capital of Leyte province where officials fear 10,000 people died, many drowning in a tsunami-like wall of seawater. REUTERS/Edgar Su (PHILPPINES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
An aerial view of buildings destroyed in the aftermath of the massive storm

Some 660,000 people have been left without shelter food following the Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record.

  • Share
  • Go To

A US aircraft carrier has set sail for the Philippines to accelerate relief efforts after a typhoon killed an estimated 10,000 people in one coastal city alone, with fears the toll could rise sharply as rescuers reach more isolated towns.

The crew of the USS George Washington, which carries 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft, were recalled early from shore leave in Hong Kong where it left in the early hours of yesterday monring. Four other US Navy ships also set sail for the disaster zone.

The nuclear-powered George Washington should arrive in two to three days, the Pentagon said, confirming a Reuters report.

"The weather is pretty bad out there, so we are limited by seas and wind," said Captain Thomas Disy, commander of the USS Antietam, a missile cruiser that's part of the carrier group. "But we are going to be going as fast as we possibly can."

Philippine officials have been overwhelmed by the scale of Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest on record, which tore a path through islands in the central Philippines on Friday.

About 660,000 people have been displaced and many have no access to food, water or medicine, the United Nations said.

A man points at one of the bags containing bodies of typhoon victims in Tacloban city, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, in central Philippines November 12, 2013. Rescue workers tried to reach towns and villages in the central Philippines on Tuesday that were cut off by the powerful typhoon, fearing the estimated death toll of 10,000 could jump sharply, as relief efforts intensified with the help of U.S. military.    REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
A man points at one of the bags containing bodies of typhoon victims in Tacloban city, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, in central Philippines November 12, 2013. Rescue workers tried to reach towns and villages in the central Philippines on Tuesday that were cut off by the powerful typhoon, fearing the estimated death toll of 10,000 could jump sharply, as relief efforts intensified with the help of U.S. military.
Survivors stand near bags containing bodies of typhoon victims in Tacloban city, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, in central Philippines November 12, 2013. Rescue workers tried to reach towns and villages in the central Philippines on Tuesday that were cut off by the powerful typhoon, fearing the estimated death toll of 10,000 could jump sharply, as relief efforts intensified with the help of U.S. military.    REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Survivors stand near bags containing bodies of typhoon victims in Tacloban city, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, in central Philippines November 12, 2013. Rescue workers tried to reach towns and villages in the central Philippines on Tuesday that were cut off by the powerful typhoon, fearing the estimated death toll of 10,000 could jump sharply, as relief efforts intensified with the help of U.S. military. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
A man walks past a tree uprooted by strong winds brought by super Typhoon Haiyan that hit Cebu city, central Philippines
A man walks past a tree uprooted by strong winds brought by super Typhoon Haiyan that hit Cebu city, central Philippines

Rescue workers were trying to reach towns and villages on Tuesday that have been cut off, which could reveal the full extent of the loss of life and devastation from the disaster.

The arrival of the US carrier and its aircraft will accelerate the distribution of aid and ensure more injured survivors can be evacuated.

Another US aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, led a massive aid operation off Indonesia's Aceh province in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

Britain is also sending a navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater and a military transport aircraft, Prime Minister David Cameron said. The HMS Daring left Singapore and expects to arrive in two or three days, said Steven Lysaght, a senior British embassy official.

DEATH TOLL EXPECTED TO RISE

Officials in Tacloban, which bore the brunt of the storm, have said the death toll could be 10,000 in their city. There is grave concern for regions outside Tacloban yet to be reached.

"I think what worries us the most is that there are so many areas where we have no information from, and when we have this silence, it usually means the damage is even worse," Joseph Curry, of the U.S. organisation Catholic Relief Services, told NBC's ‘Today’ programme from Manila.

John Ging, director of operations at the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said "many places are strewn with dead bodies" that need to be buried quickly to prevent the outbreak of a public health disaster.

"We're sadly expecting the worst as we get more and more access," Ging told reporters at the United Nations in New York.

President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity and deployed hundreds of soldiers in Tacloban to quell looting. Tacloban's administration appeared to be in disarray as city and hospital workers focused on saving their own families and securing food.

"Basically, the only branch of government that is working here is the military," Philippine Army Captain Ruben Guinolbay told Reuters in Tacloban. "That is not good. We are not supposed to take over government."

Tacloban's government was nearly wiped out by the storm, said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas. Many officials are dead, missing or too overcome with grief to work. Of the city's 293 policemen, only 20 have shown up for duty, he said.

CHAOS AT AIRPORT

Two Philippine Air Force C 130 cargo planes landed at Tacloban airport early on Tuesday, but unloaded more soldiers than relief supplies. Among dozens of troops was a unit of Special Forces, underscoring concerns about civil disorder in a city where little aid has been distributed.

The Special Forces immediately deployed at the airport to hold back angry and desperate families waiting in heavy rain in the hope of boarding the planes returning to Manila.

"Get back! Get back in the building!" shouted air force officials through megaphones, gesturing the crowds back inside the wrecked terminal. Many had walked for hours from their destroyed homes in the once-vibrant port city of 220,000, carrying meagre possessions.

The sick, infants and the elderly were taken on board first. Pale-faced babies were passed over the crowd and carried on with several injured people. Many people wept and begged officials to let them on.

Aid trucks have struggled to enter the corpse-choked city because of the stream of people and vehicles leaving.

Reuters journalists travelled into Tacloban on a government aid truck late on Monday which was guarded by soldiers with assault rifles.

"It's risky," said Jewel Ray Marcia, an army lieutenant. "People are angry. They are going out of their minds."

Residents have 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 power.

Most of the damage and deaths were caused by waves that inundated towns, washed ships ashore and swept away villages.

RELIEF EFFORTS PICKING UP

International relief efforts have begun to gather pace, with dozens of countries and organisations pledging tens of millions of dollars in aid.

Operations have been hampered because roads, airports and bridges were destroyed or covered in wreckage by surging waves and winds of 314 kph (195 mph).

UN aid chief Valerie Amos, who has travelled to the Philippines, released $25 million for aid relief on Monday from the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund.

Amos and the Philippines government are due to launch an appeal and action plan on Tuesday to deal with the disaster.

Aquino's declaration of a state of national calamity allows the government to use state funds for relief and to control prices. He said the government had set aside 18.7 billion pesos ($432.97 million) for rehabilitation.

Additional U.S. military forces also arrived in the Philippines on Monday to bolster relief efforts, officials said, with U.S. military cargo planes transporting food, medical supplies and water for victims.

Rescuers have yet to 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 typhoon also levelled Basey, a seaside town in Samar province about 10 km (6 miles) across a bay from Tacloban in Leyte province. About 2,000 people were missing in Basey, said the governor of Samar province.

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.

By Andrew R.C. Marshall and Manuel Mogato

Read More

Editors Choice

Also in World News