News / Asia

Emergency Work 'Overwhelming' in Typhoon-Ravaged Central Philippines

A ship lies on top of damaged homes after it was washed ashore in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, Nov. 10, 2013.
A ship lies on top of damaged homes after it was washed ashore in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, Nov. 10, 2013.
Simone OrendainVOA News
In the typhoon-ravaged central Philippines, emergency workers are trying to push their way through piles of debris to recover bodies and get aid to people who have been stranded without food and water. Officials expect the number of dead to be in the thousands.

Most of those deaths are in Tacloban, a coastal city of Leyte Province.  That is where Super Typhoon Haiyan first bore down on the country, leaving a trail of devastation across dozens of islands. 

​Thousands of houses have been reduced to rubble, while crumpled cars lie smashed into each other and splintered trees and power lines clog muddy ground.

Haiyan created a five-meter high storm surge that pounded Tacloban and left bodies tossed about in its wake.  The Philippine Red Cross said its people on the ground estimated more than 1,000 people have died there.

Related video

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.


Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang said body bags have been ordered, but right now the priority was getting 45,000 food packs to the families most in need.

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

The Civil Defense office said about 450,000 people were currently displaced.  Video footage from local news programs showed some residents looting grocery and other stores.

  • 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 some hard-hit areas Sunday.  In contrast to the looting scenes shown on television, the president’s social media account posted photographs of residents in Tacloban waiting in line for relief goods with a caption saying they were “orderly lined up…”  Vice President Jejomar Binay also visited one island calling the typhoon a “national tragedy.”

The Red Cross's Pang said managing the crisis was an overwhelming challenge, even with some roads partially cleared.  Aid workers trying to bring in food and water supplies are struggling to communicate with each other.

The storm-battered provinces are contending with fallen cell towers and multiple power outages.  And some places like Leyte are completely in the dark.

A National Police chief superintendent, Vic Loot, flew from Manila to Cebu Province Saturday to check on his home in Daan Bantayan town in the north.  He and some emergency responders spent five hours cutting through fallen trees and electric poles with chainsaws just to get inside the town.

Daan Bantayan is Leyte’s main connection to the national power grid.

“Yeah, that is a very crucial point.  And we need the roads there for the technicians to come, for the repairmen… the area should be cleared,” he said. 

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

He said his house and nearly every single home in the town of 75,000 were severely damaged.

A number of countries have pledged monetary and humanitarian support to the Philippines. 

U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said a U.N. disaster and assessment team has been deployed to Tacloban.

The United States is assisting with relief efforts.  In a Saturday statement, the Defense Department said the U.S. Pacific Command had been directed to assist in search and rescue operations, and aircraft support.

Also, a U.S. relief team has been deployed to the region.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) says the team will conduct damage assessments, track conditions and "advise on additional needs."

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

Vietnamese authorities have evacuated several hundred thousand people from coastal areas where the storm's outer bands are causing high winds and rough seas.

Courtesy Taiwan Central Weather Bureau

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Thuy Bui from: va beach
November 10, 2013 2:01 PM
I think It's karma for Its government row in South China Sea.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid