News / Asia

At Least 10,000 People Reportedly Died in Central Philippines

Residents cover their nose from the smell of dead bodies in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.
Residents cover their nose from the smell of dead bodies in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.
Simone OrendainMichael Lipin
Survivors of a typhoon that slammed the central Philippines on Friday have become increasingly desperate, looting shops and aid convoys in search of food and water.

Local authorities said they believe up to 10,000 people were killed on the central islands of Leyte and Samar, where Haiyan became one of the world's strongest cyclones on record to make landfall.  Many drowned when tsunami-like waves swept through island communities.

Officials on Samar island said at least 300 people are confirmed dead, with another 2,000 missing.

The Philippine government said its official death toll was 229 late Sunday, but it has acknowledged the figure is likely to increase substantially.

Emergency Work 'Overwhelming' in Philippinesi
X
November 10, 2013 1:59 PM
Local officials in the Philippines say the death toll in a central province that took the brunt of Typhoon Haiyan could reach as high as 10,000. Police and provincial officials provided the estimate Sunday after assessing damage in Leyte province where they say the destruction was overwhelming.

After going without food for three days, some residents of Leyte's capital, Tacloban, resorted to ransacking the remains of stores and homes in the devastated city of 200,000 people.

Looters also raided delivery vans carrying humanitarian aid, but other residents lined up peacefully as Philippine soldiers handed out supplies.

Thousands of homes were reduced to rubble, while crumpled cars lay smashed into each other and splintered trees and power lines clogged the muddy ground.

Haiyan created a five-meter high storm surge that pounded Tacloban and left bodies tossed about in its wake.  Authorities struggled to retrieve them.

Food takes priority

Philippine Red Cross chief Gwendolyn Pang said her organization has ordered body bags, but is focussed on delivering 45,000 food packs to the families most in need.

"People are impatient already because they want to see significant support already, since today is already the third day since the typhoon,"  said Pang.

She said managing the crisis is an overwhelming challenge, even with some roads partially cleared.  Aid workers trying to bring in food and water supplies struggled to communicate with each other.

Related photo gallery

  • An aerial image taken from a Philippine Air Force helicopter shows the devastation of the first landfall by typhoon Haiyan in Guiuan, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
  • Survivors fill the streets as they line up to get supplies in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
  • A survivor writes a call for help, Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, Nov. 11, 2013.
  • Survivors pass by two large boats that were washed ashore by strong waves caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, Nov. 10, 2013.
  • A resident walks by remains of houses after powerful Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Nov. 9, 2013
  • Survivors assess the damage after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines, Nov. 9, 2013.
  • Tacloban Airport is covered by debris after powerful Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban city, in Leyte province in central Philippines, Nov. 9, 2013.
  • Residents go on their daily business Nov. 9, 2013, following a powerful typhoon that hit Tacloban city, in Leyte province, central Philippines.
  • A fisherman carries his net after making it safely back to shore in the fishing village after a strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan battered Bayog town in Los Banos, Laguna city, south of Manila, Nov. 8, 2013. 
  • A man walks past a tree uprooted by strong winds brought by super Typhoon Haiyan that hit Cebu city, central Philippines, Nov. 8, 2013. 
  • A mother takes refuge with her children as Typhoon Haiyan hits Cebu city, central Philippines, Nov. 8, 2013.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino toured Tacloban and other hard-hit areas on Sunday.  He said his government's priority is to deliver relief and medical assistance to survivors and restore power and communications in isolated areas.

In contrast to scenes of looting shown on television, the president's social media account posted photographs of Tacloban residents waiting for relief goods with a caption saying they lined up in an "orderly" manner.  Vice President Jejomar Binay also visited one island and called the typhoon a "national tragedy."

Foreign aid efforts

The U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Office in Manila said aid workers have "ramped up critical relief operations" in the affected region.  But it said "access remains a key challenge," as some areas are still cut off from supplies.

The U.N. World Food Program said it was working with the Philippine government to fly food, logistics and communications equipment to Cebu island, southwest of Leyte. It said Cebu airport will become a key hub for airlifts to Tacloban, whose airport was badly damaged and closed to all but military aircraft.

Aid group Doctors Without Borders said it is sending dozens of medical personnel and logisticians to Cebu in the coming days, along with 200 tons of medical and relief items. But, the group said it has not been able to fully assess the needs of typhoon survivors because access to affected areas is "extremely difficult."

The United States helped with the relief effort. In a Saturday statement, the Defense Department said the U.S. Pacific Command will assist in search and rescue operations and aircraft support.

A relief team from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also was deployed to conduct damage assessments, track conditions and "advise on additional needs."

Electricity challenge highlighted

The storm-battered central Philippine provinces were facing more problems with fallen cell towers and multiple power outages. And some places like Leyte were completely in the dark.

Residents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines Nov. 10, 2013.Residents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines Nov. 10, 2013.
x
Residents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines Nov. 10, 2013.
Residents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines Nov. 10, 2013.
Philippine National Police chief superintendent Vic Loot flew from Manila to Cebu on Saturday to check on his home in Daan Bantayan.  He said he spent five hours working with emergency responders to cut through fallen trees and electric poles with chainsaws just to get inside the town.

Loot said Daan Bantayan is Leyte's main connection to the national power grid.

"That is a very crucial point," he said, "And we need the roads there for the technicians to come, for the repairmen ... the area should be cleared."

Loot said that part of the grid should be prioritized so that power can be restored within 30 days, otherwise it could take about three months.

He said nearly every home in the town of 75,000 was severely damaged, including his own.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis used his weekly Angelus prayer to urge the faithful to pray in silence for the typhoon's victims. He said he feels close to the Philippine people and urged his listeners to send "concrete" assistance to them.  The Philippines has the biggest Roman Catholic population in Asia.

Weather agencies said Typhoon Haiyan was expected to hit northern Vietnam early Monday after moving northwest through the Gulf of Tonkin.  On Sunday, the storm dumped heavy rain on southern China's Hainan island to the east, forcing authorities to cancel flights.

Courtesy Taiwan Central Weather Bureau


(Orendain reported from Manila and Lipin contributed from Washington.)

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 10, 2013 11:46 PM
I am saddened to hear this news and mourn a lot of victimes. It is a bit relief for me that Japanese gevernment has decided to send relief aids the same as other countries.I hope philipinos to be patient and stand up again. I am sure goog luck is wating for you without fail.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid