Monday, November 11, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan: Philippines declares state of calamity

Typhoon Haiyan: Philippines declares state of calamity

"One shirt. That's all I'm asking for": The BBC hears survivors' stories

The Philippine President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of national calamity to speed relief efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
In a statement, he said the two worst affected provinces, Leyte and Samar, had suffered massive destruction and loss of life.
Thousands of survivors are still desperately waiting for the aid effort to reach them.
Up to 10,000 people are feared to have been killed.
Tacloban is one of the worst affected cities. The BBC's Jon Donnison, who is there, says there does not yet seem to be an effective operation to get help to those in need.
This is expected to change over the next few days, he says.
The BBC's Alistair Leithead reports from Cebu province, where some towns have suffered "80-90% damage"
The BBC's George Alagiah reports from a makeshift distribution centre at Manila airport
Hundreds of thousands more people have been displaced after the high winds and floodwaters destroyed their homes. Damage to roads and airports has delayed the delivery of aid.
One of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall, Haiyan - named "Yolanda" by Filipino authorities - struck the coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar on Friday.
It then headed west, sweeping through six central Philippine islands.

At the scene

The northern most tip of the island was hit by the storm. At the moment, it is dark. The only light is coming from a half moon and the glow of fires that people have lit outside their homes amid the rubble of wood and metal that they have taken from their houses and piled up by the side of this dirt track road.
We've seen, coming up this road, houses that have been flattened, debris strewn everywhere, trees down. Everyone we have spoken to has said that further on up that road, it gets steadily worse and worse.
All the power has gone from here on up to the north of the island. We've seen huge numbers leaving this area - bus after bus full of people. Many of them are standing, with their possessions, heading for Cebu - a functioning city just two and a half hours down the road.
More than nine million people have been affected in the Philippines. Many are now struggling to survive without food, shelter or clean drinking water.
A picture is slowly emerging of the full damage wrought by the storm:
  • The exposed easterly town of Guiuan, Samarprovince - population 40,000 - is said to be largely destroyed
  • Tacloban, Leyte province, was largely flattened by a massive storm surge and scores of corpses are piled by the roadside, leaving a stench in the air as they rot, say correspondents. Hundreds of people have gathered at the airport desperate for food and water, others trying to get a flight out
  • Disaster worker Dennis Chong told the BBC that assessments in the far north of Cebuprovince had shown some towns had suffered "80-90% damage"
  • Baco, a city of 35,000 in Oriental Mindoroprovince, was 80% under water, the UN said.
A huge international relief effort is under way, but rescue workers have struggled to reach some towns and villages cut off since the storm.
However, reports from Tacloban say that soldiers have been on the streets distributing food and water to some residents and the US military has sent marines to the city.

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People are not receiving food or water... I'm worried it may become a mob situation - we need the military to get there as soon as possible”
Kevin VaccaUS missionary, Maya, northern Cebu
The head of the Philippine Red Cross, Richard Gordon, described the situation as "absolute bedlam".
"It's only now that they were able to get in and we're beginning just to bring in the necessary food items... as well as water and other things that they need," he told the BBC.
Aerial footage shows devastation in Tanauan, Tacloban and Cebu
Jane Cocking, the humanitarian director for Oxfam, said her colleagues witnessed "complete devastation... entire parts of the coastline just disappeared".
A Philippine military spokesman was quoted as saying on Monday that 942 people had died in the typhoon's aftermath, though it is clear the official death toll will rise significantly.
Almost 630,000 people have been reported displaced.
Destroyed houses hit by Typhoon Haiyan in the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar province, central Philippines on 11 November 2013 Three days after Typhoon Haiyan hit, aerial photos are revealing a scene of apocalyptic devastation along a swathe of the central Philippines.
Cargo ships washed ashore are seen four days after super typhoon Haiyan hit Anibong town, Tacloban city, central Philippines November 11, 2013.Among the hardest hit places was the city of Tacloban, where the ferocity of the storm waves swept this ship ashore.
A 21-year-old woman  lies exhausted on the debris-covered floor at a makeshift medical facility in Tacloban after giving birth to a baby girlA 21-year-old woman lies exhausted on the debris-covered floor at a makeshift medical facility in Tacloban after giving birth to a baby girl. The storm surge swept away her mother.
Philippine and US military personnel load relief goods for Tacloban on board a US C-130 plane for victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan that hit the central Philippines, at a military base in Manila on 11 November 2013 In Manila, Philippine and US military personnel load relief goods for Tacloban. International rescue teams are heading for the area.
A tourist boat is seen sinking in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam on 11 November 2013The typhoon - now downgraded to a tropical storm - has reached Vietnam, where hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated.
'Unprecedented' storm
Some are questioning what more authorities could have done to prepare for this, just the latest in a string of disasters to hit the nation of more than 7,000 islands.

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Auntie, we need help! Please! We are okay but the house is destroyed”
Authorities had evacuated hundreds of thousands of people before the typhoon arrived, but many evacuation centres - schools, churches and government buildings - proved unable to withstand the winds and storm surges.
Haiyan brought sustained winds of 235km/h (147mph), with gusts of 275 km/h (170 mph) and waves as high as 15m (45ft). In some places, as much as 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain fell.

International aid

  • Australia: Aus$10m ($9.4m; £5.8m), including medical personnel
  • China: $200,000 (£125,000)
  • European Commission: 3m euros (£2.5m; $4m)
  • Indonesia: Aircraft, personnel, drinking water, food, generators, medicine
  • Japan: 25 emergency medical personnel
  • New Zealand: NZ$2.15m (£1.1m)
  • Taiwan: $200,000
  • UK: £6m ($9.6m) non-food aid package
  • UN World Food Programme: an initial $2m
  • US: 90 marines and sailors; emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene materials
  • Vietnam: $100,000
This list is not comprehensive
Officials said looting was widespread and order was proving difficult to enforce. Correspondents say many ordinary people are simply scavenging for the food and water needed to survive.
In some areas, the dead are being buried in mass graves.
American military aircraft and ships are being deployed to provide help. Aid is being flown into the only regional international airport at Cebu, with relief efforts focusing on Tacloban.
US President Barack Obama has issued a message saying he was "deeply saddened by the loss of life and extensive damage".
Other countries have also pledged millions of dollars in assistance. Australia has approved $9m in humanitarian aid to the Philippines, while New Zealand has pledged over $1m.
Typhoon Haiyan has now made landfall in Vietnam, near the tourist destination of Ha Long Bay, with sustained winds of up to 140 km/h (85mph).
Some 600,000 people were evacuated in northern provinces of the country.
Map showing predicated path of typhoon