FEW OF THOUSANDS AT RUINED TACLOBAN AIRPORT MADE IT TO 2 AIR FORCE PLANES FOR EVACUATION
ALSO: UN LAUNCHES $500-M APPEAL AS WARSHIPS HEAD TO PHL
Locals and foreigners board a U.S. military C-130 evacuation flight following the massive Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban. AP/Wally Santana
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TACLOBAN CITY, NOVEMBER 13, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Jim Gomez and Todd Pitman - When two Philippine Air Force C-130s arrived at the typhoon-wrecked airport here just after dawn Tuesday, more than 3,000 people who had camped out hoping to escape the devastation surged onto the tarmac past a broken iron fence. Only a few hundred made it aboard; the rest were left in a shattered, rain-lashed city short of food and water and littered with uncounted bodies.
Just a dozen soldiers and several police held the crowd back. Mothers raised their babies high above their heads in the rain, in hopes of being prioritized. One woman in her 30s lay on a stretcher, shaking uncontrollably.
"I was pleading with the soldiers. I was kneeling and begging because I have diabetes," said Helen Cordial, whose house was destroyed in the storm. "Do they want me to die in this airport? They are stone-hearted."
A husband and wife protect their baby from the rain as they wait for an evacuation flight November 12 in Tacloban.PHOTO COURTESY OF CNN
"We need help. Nothing is happening," said Aristone Balute, an 81-year-old who also didn't get a flight. "We haven't eaten since yesterday afternoon." Her clothes were soaked from the rain, and tears streamed down her face.
The struggle at Tacloban's airport is one of countless scenes of misery in the eastern Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan struck Friday. Only a tiny amount of assistance has arrived and the needs of the nearly 10 million people affected by the disaster are growing ever more urgent.
The official death toll from the disaster stood at 1,774 on Tuesday, though authorities have said they expect that to rise markedly. They fear estimates of 10,000 dead are accurate and might be low.
As local authorities struggled to deal with the enormity of the disaster, the United Nations said it had had released $25 million in emergency funds and was launching an emergency appeal for money.
Tacloban, a city of about 220,000 people on Leyte island, bore the full force of the winds and the tsunami-like storm surges. Most of the city is in ruins, a tangled mess of destroyed houses, cars and trees. Malls, garages and shops have all been stripped of food and water by hungry residents.
Most residents spent the night under pouring rain wherever they could — in the ruins of destroyed houses, in the open along roadsides and shredded trees. Some slept under tents brought in by the government or relief groups.
Local doctors said they were desperate for medicine. Beside the ruined airport tower, at a small makeshift clinic with shattered windows, army and air force medics said they had treated around 1,000 people since the typhoon for cuts, bruises, lacerations and deep wounds.
PRAYING FOR ‘YOLANDA’ VICTIMS — A teacher leads her class in praying for the victims of super-typhoon ‘Yolanda’ at the Rafael Palma Elementary School in Pasay City yesterday. FROM MANILA BULLETIN(Ali Vicoy)
"It's overwhelming," said Air Force Capt. Antonio Tamayo. "We need more medicine. We cannot give anti-tetanus vaccine shots because we have none."
International aid groups and militaries are rushing assistance to the region, but little has arrived. Government officials and police and army officers have been caught up in the disaster themselves, hampering coordination.
The USS George Washington aircraft carrier was expected to arrive off the coast in about two days, according to the Pentagon. A similar sized U.S. ship, and its fleet of helicopters capable of dropping tons of water daily and evacuating wounded, was credited with saving scores of lives after the 2004 Asian tsunami. The U.S. said it is providing $20 million in immediate aid.
Several other countries, including Japan, Britain and Australia, together have donated tens of millions of dollars. The United Nations said in a statement that its $25 million would be used to pay for emergency shelter materials and household items, and for assistance with the provision of emergency health services, safe water supplies and sanitation facilities.
"We have deployed specialist teams, vital logistics support and dispatched critical supplies — but we have to do more and faster," said U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who was flying to the country.
Joselito Caimoy, a 42-year-old truck driver, was one of the lucky ones at Tacloban airport. He was able to get his wife, son and 3-year-old daughter on a flight out. They embraced in a tearful goodbye, but Caimoy stayed behind to guard what's left of his home and property.
INSIDE A PACKED PLANE A man sits crying on a packed aircraft November 12 in Tacloban. PHOTO COURTESY OF CNN
"People are just scavenging in the streets. People are asking food from relatives, friends. The devastation is too much ... the malls, the grocery stories have all been looted, "he said. "They're empty. People are hungry. And they (the authorities) cannot control the people."
The dead, decomposing and stinking, litter the streets or remain trapped in the debris.
As many as 41 provinces were affected by the typhoon, known as Haiyan elsewhere in Asia but called Yolanda in the Philippines. It was likely the deadliest natural disaster to beset this poor Southeast Asian nation.
Authorities said they had evacuated 800,000 people head of the typhoon, but many evacuation centers proved to be no protection against the wind and rising water. The Philippine National Red Cross, responsible for warning the region and giving advice, said people were not prepared for a storm surge.
"Imagine America, which was prepared and very rich, still had a lot of challenges at the time of Hurricane Katrina, but what we had was three times more than what they received," said Gwendolyn Pang, the group's executive director.
A Philippines air force officer hands out orange slices to typhoon survivors as they line up to board a military transport plane November 12 in Tacloban. PHOTO COURTESY OF CNN
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III declared a "state of national calamity," allowing the central government to release emergency funds quicker and impose price controls on staple goods. He said the two worst-hit provinces, Leyte and Samar, had witnessed "massive destruction and loss of life" but that elsewhere casualties were low.
The Philippines, an archipelago nation of more than 7,000 islands, is annually buffeted by tropical storms and typhoons, but Haiyan was an especially large catastrophe. Its winds were among the strongest ever recorded, and it appears to have killed more people than the previous deadliest Philippine storm, Thelma, in which about 5,100 people died in the central Philippines in 1991.
The country's deadliest disaster on record was the 1976 magnitude-7.9 earthquake that triggered a tsunami in the Moro Gulf in the southern Philippines, killing 5,791 people.
Amos of the U.N. and Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario will launch an emergency appeal Tuesday in Manila for aid to help the almost 9.8 million people affected, the director of U.N. humanitarian operations said.
The storm also killed eight people in southern China and inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to farming and fishing industries, Chinese state media reported Tuesday. Associated Press writers Oliver Teves and Teresa Cerojano in Manila contributed to this report.
FROM THE INQUIRER
UN launches $300-M appeal as warships head to PH Agence France-Presse 9:11 pm | Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
Tacloban city, devastated by powerful Typhoon Haiyan, is seen in Leyte province, central Philippines Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. The central Philippine city of Tacloban was in ruins Saturday, a day after being ravaged by one of the strongest typhoons on record, as horrified residents spoke of storm surges as high as trees and authorities said they were expecting a “very high number of fatalities.” AP
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—The UN launched an appeal for a third of a billion dollars on Tuesday as US and British warships steamed towards the typhoon-ravaged Philippines where well more than 10,000 people are feared dead.
Four days after Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) destroyed entire coastal communities with record winds and tsunami-like waves, the magnitude of the disaster continued to build with almost unimaginable horror.
Festering bodies still littered the streets in many areas, with the smell of rotting flesh hanging in the air and ramping up the fear of disease in the tropical heat.
Increasingly desperate survivors begged for help that was having difficulty reaching them — many still without access to food and water after nights spent in the open.
“We are certainly expecting the worst. As we get more and more access we find the tragedy of more and more people killed in this typhoon,” UN humanitarian operations director John Ging said, after Philippine President Benigno Aquino declared a “state of national calamity”.
The United Nations warned 10,000 people were feared dead in just one city, Tacloban, the provincial capital of Leyte province where five-metre (16-foot) waves flattened nearly everything in their path as they swept hundreds of metres inland.
Nearly 10 million people, or 10 percent of the Philippines’ population, have been affected, while 660,000 have lost their homes, the UN estimated as it launched a flash appeal for $301 million.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told reporters in Manila the money was needed for “food, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and also protection of the most vulnerable”.
“I very much hope our donors will be generous.”
LIONS CLUB JOINS ‘YOLANDA’ RELIEF EFFORTS — Lions Club International president Barry J. Palmer announces that the global service network will donate $530,000 to help relief efforts for victims of typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in the Philippines during a press conference held at the historic landmark Manila Hotel yesterday. FROM MANILA BULLETIN (Tony Pionilla)
Amos praised the international community’s reaction since Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on Friday, but said much more needed to be done in a disaster of almost biblical proportions.
“We have already seen an international and generous response given the horrific pictures that people have seen, particularly on their television screens,” she said.
Overwhelmed and under-resourced rescue workers have been unable to provide desperately needed food, water, medicines, shelter and other relief supplies to many survivors, and desperation has been building across the disaster zones.
“There is nothing here left for us. Our house is gone, we don’t have any money, we don’t have our documents, passports, school records,” Carol Mampas, 48, told AFP at Tacloban’s destroyed airport as she cradled her feverish baby son in a blanket.
“Please, please, tell authorities to help us. Where is the food, where is the water? Where are the military collecting the dead?”
Bodies still litter the wreckage, while security concerns are growing as gangs take advantage of a security vacuum to loot homes and businesses.
The government announced a night-time curfew for Tacloban and deployed special forces across the ruined city to try to prevent pillaging.
Downpours worsen desperation
A girl sits inside a bus as she waits for a ferry in Matnog, Philippines, on November 12.PHOTO COURTESY OF CNN
Heavy rain overnight in Tacloban compounded survivors’ desperation, while a tropical storm to the south threatened other typhoon-hit islands where hundreds of other people were also killed.
An international relief effort has begun to build momentum, with the United States and Britain announcing they were sending warships carrying thousands of sailors to the Philippines.
The aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which has 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft aboard, headed from Hong Kong to the United States’ close Asian ally on Tuesday.
Five other US warships are also being deployed, and the carrier group is expected to reach the Philippines within two to three days, the Pentagon said. Dozens of US marines arrived in Tacloban on Monday as an advance team.
Survivors walk in typhoon-ravaged Tacloban on November 12.PHOTO COURTESY OF CNN
A British warship, currently in Singapore, would head “at full speed” to the Philippines, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Monday.
Many other countries have pledged help with even China, which has been embroiled in a bitter territorial dispute with the Philippines, offering aid and sympathy.
The UN children’s fund UNICEF said a cargo plane carrying 60 tonnes of aid including shelters and medicine would arrive in the Philippines Tuesday, to be followed by deliveries of water purification and sanitation equipment.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR was also organising an airlift carrying aid including hygiene kits.
Aquino’s declaration late Monday of a state of calamity allowed the government to impose price controls and quickly release emergency funds.
“In the coming days, be assured: help will reach you faster and faster,” he said in a televised address.
“My appeal to you all is: remaining calm, praying, cooperating with, and assisting one another are the things that will help us to rise from this calamity.”
Coastal towns reduced to piles of wood
Haiyan’s sustained winds when it hit Samar island, where it first made landfall, reached 315 kilometres (195 miles) an hour, making it the strongest typhoon in the world this year and one of the most powerful ever recorded.
Aerial photos of Samar showed whole districts of coastal towns reduced to piles of splintered wood.
The official government death toll stands at 1,774, although authorities have admitted they have not come close to accurately assessing the number of bodies lying amid the rubble or swept out to sea.
The Philippines is hit with an average of 20 tropical storms or typhoons a year, as they emerge from the Pacific Ocean and sweep west.
However Haiyan’s record intensity has fuelled concerns that climate change is increasing the ferocity of storms.
Blaming global warming for Haiyan’s mega-strength, Philippines negotiator Naderev Sano pledged at UN climate talks in Warsaw on Monday to fast until progress was made on tackling the environmental crisis.
If the death toll of more than 10,000 is correct, Haiyan would be the deadliest natural disaster ever recorded in the country.
A weakened Haiyan hit Vietnam and China on Monday. At least seven people were reportedly killed in China.
PRAYERS – Residents pray at the Santo Domingo Church in Tacloban, Leyte on yesterday, Nov. 12, after super-typhoon ‘Yolanda,’ the most powerful storm in the world this year, hit the Philippines on Nov. 8. The government has deployed armored vehicles, set up checkpoints and imposed a curfew to help end looting in a city devastated by the super- typhoon. FROM MANILA BULLETIN (AFP photo)
Food companies ramping up production for typhoon-hit areas (philstar.com) | Updated November 12, 2013 - 9:00pm 0 0 googleplus0 0
Residents carry bags of rice from a Tacloban warehouse that they stormed November 11 because of a food shortage.PHOTO COURTESY OF CNN
MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - Food manufacturing companies are ramping up production of basic food items to ensure stable supply in the Philippines, particularly in typhoon-stricken areas, the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers, Inc. (Food Chamber) announced today.
"This was the topic of a recent meeting wherein our members have all agreed to increase production. We just saw it fit to raise production as a safety measure," Chamber President Edith de Leon said in briefing today.
The 52-member group has already coordinated with the Philippine government wherein a nationwide price freeze on all basic food commodities was imposed Monday under the status of national calamity.
Members of the Food Chamber also agreed to step up efforts to bring food to affected areas as soon as possible, de Leon said.
Prior to the arrival of Typhoon Haiyan last week, food manufacturers have already positioned stocks at warehouses at critical sites for easier transport to affected provinces and towns.
Officials of the Philippines' Trade Department said while the supply of food in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and even Southern Philippine island of Mindanao was sufficient, there are difficulties in the delivery of food to affected areas due to damaged road networks.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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