Sunday 25 February 2018

Typhoon death toll passes 1,000

David Eimer in Manila

Terrified workers at one of the Philippines' major airports last night described how they were forced to climb out of windows to escape being killed as the strongest typhoon in history swept across their nation and claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people.

"It was like a tsunami," said Efren Nagrama, Tacloban Airport's manager, who had remained behind with his colleagues to try to keep the airport open when 13ft of water surged across the runway and hit their control building.

An estimated 1,200 people are thought to have been killed as Super Typhoon Haiyan swept across the islands on Friday, leaving a trail of destruction in the wake of its 160mph winds and storm surges that sent 16ft-high waves rolling down streets.

Tens of thousands of people are still missing.

"My daughter was ripped from my arms by the force of the water. Now, she's gone," said one man in Tacloban, the central city worst hit by the raging winds. The Red Cross fears 1,000 people have died there.

Haiyan turned the simple wooden shacks that are the homes for most people in Leyte province into piles of broken timber.

"This is every bit as bad as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami," said a local.

Last night, two Irish tourists told the Sunday Independent that their Vietnamese hostel was in lockdown, in expectation of the typhoon.

They are "expecting the worst" as high winds and heavy rain tear up from the south in the Philippines.

Claire McCann, from Belfast, said people had been forced to seek shelter inside their homes yesterday in Hoi An, on Vietnam's south central coast.

Ms McCann, 19, said: "It's been very rainy and windy all day. It was sunny yesterday so it was a pretty dramatic change. We've had windows and doors boarded up in the hostel. We are expecting the worst."

Ms McCann and her friend Hannah-Louise Allison fear they'll be without electricity for the next few days.

"We'll probably be here until Monday and then we'll try and get out and see a bit of Hoi An. They told us to stay put in one place and not be moving about, not to get on any buses," she added.

Local people seem concerned and are busy boarding up their homes and putting up extra protection from the bad weather.

Sunday Independent

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