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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid