As many as 10,000 killed by typhoon in Philippines

Associated Press

A resident looks at houses damaged by typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Sunday. Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded slammed into central Philippine provinces Friday leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead.

TACLOBAN, Philippines — Rescuers faced blocked roads and damaged airports on Monday as they raced to deliver desperately needed tents, food and medicines to the typhoon-devastated eastern Philippines where thousands are believed dead.

Associated Press

An aerial view of Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines Sunday after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the region. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into several central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and hundreds of people dead.

Three days after the Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the region, the full scale of the disaster — the biggest faced by the Philippines — was only now becoming apparent.

The winds and the sea waves whipped up were so strong that they washed hulking ships inland, which now stood incongruously amid debris of buildings, trees, road signs and people’s belongings.

Authorities estimated that up to 10,000 people may have died. But the government, stunned by the scale of the disaster, has not given an official death toll yet. Still, officials who have surveyed the area say there is little doubt that the death toll will be that high or even higher.

In Tacloban city, the capital of Leyte province, corpses hung from trees and were scattered on sidewalks. Many were buried in flattened buildings. The entire town appeared to have been obliterated. From the air the entire city looked like a giant garbage dump punctuated by a few concrete buildings that still stood.

Survivors wandered through the remains of their flattened wooden homes looking to salvage belongings or to search for loved ones.

Very little assistance had reached the city, residents reported. Some took food, water and consumer goods from abandoned shops, malls and homes.

“This area has been totally ravaged”, said Sebastien Sujobert, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tacloban. “Many lives were lost, a huge number of people are missing, and basic services such as drinking water and electricity have been cut off,” he said.

He said both the Philippine Red Cross and the ICRC offices in Tacloban had been damaged, forcing staff to relocate temporarily.

Haiyan hit the eastern seaboard of the Philippines on Friday and quickly barreled across its central islands, packing winds of 235 kph (147 mph) that gusted to 275 kph (170 mph), and a storm surge of 6 meters (20 feet).

It inflicted serious damage to at least six of the archipelago’s more than 7,000 islands, with Leyte, Samar and the northern part of Cebu appearing to bear the brunt of the storm. About 4 million people were affected by the storm, the national disaster agency said.

Video from Eastern Samar province’s Guiuan township — the first area where the typhoon made landfall — also showed a trail of devastation. Many houses were flattened and roads were strewn with debris and uprooted trees. The ABS-CBN video showed several bodies on the street, covered with blankets.

“I have no house, I have no clothes. I don’t know how I will restart my life, I am so confused,” an unidentified woman said, crying. “I don’t know what happened to us. We are appealing for help. Whoever has a good heart, I appeal to you — please help Guiuan.”

The United Nations said it was sending supplies but access to the worst hit areas was a challenge.

“Reaching the worst affected areas is very difficult, with limited access due to the damage caused by the typhoon to infrastructure and communications,” said UNICEF Philippines Representative Tomoo Hozumi.

Even in a nation regularly beset by earthquakes, volcanoes and tropical storms, Typhoon Haiyan appears to be the deadliest natural disaster on record. Its sustained winds weakened to 120 kph (74 mph) as the typhoon made landfall in northern Vietnam early Monday after crossing the South China Sea, according to the Hong Kong meteorological observatory. Authorities there evacuated hundreds of thousands of people, but there were no reports of significant damage or injuries.

Hardest hit in the Philippines was Leyte Island, but reports also trickled in indicating deaths elsewhere.

On Samar Island, Leo Dacaynos of the provincial disaster office said 300 people were confirmed dead in one town and another 2,000 were missing, with some towns yet to be reached by rescuers. He pleaded for food and water, adding that power was out and there was no cellphone signal, making communication possible only by radio.

Reports from other affected islands indicated dozens, perhaps hundreds more deaths.

With communications still knocked out in many areas, it was unclear how authorities were arriving at their estimates of the number of people killed, and it will be days before the full extent of the storm is known.

With no aid reaching, people were seeing helping themselves to food and supplies from unattended shops and stores.

President Benigno Aquino III said he was considering declaring a state of emergency or martial law in Tacloban. A state of emergency usually includes curfews, price and food supply controls, military or police checkpoints and increased security patrols.

The casualties occurred even though the government had evacuated nearly 800,000 people ahead of the typhoon.

Challenged to respond to a disaster of such magnitude, the Philippine government also accepted help from abroad.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed the Pacific Command to deploy ships and aircraft to support search-and-rescue operations and fly in emergency supplies.

Pope Francis led tens of thousands of people at the Vatican in prayer for the victims. The Philippines has the largest number of Catholics in Asia, and Filipinos are one of Rome’s biggest immigrant communities.

The Philippines is annually buffeted by tropical storms and typhoons, which are called hurricanes and cyclones elsewhere. The nation is in the northwestern Pacific, right in the path of the world’s No. 1 typhoon generator, according to meteorologists. The archipelago’s exposed eastern seaboard often bears the brunt.

Even by the standards of the Philippines, however, Haiyan is a catastrophe of epic proportions and has shocked the impoverished and densely populated nation of 96 million people. 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.

Tacloban, in the east-central Philippines, is near the Red Beach on Leyte Island where U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur waded ashore in 1944 during World War II and fulfilled his famous pledge: “I shall return.”

It was the first city liberated from the Japanese by U.S. and Filipino forces and served as the Philippines’ temporary capital for several months. It is also the hometown of former Filipino first lady Imelda Marcos, whose nephew, Alfred Romualdez, is the city’s mayor.

Associated Press writers Oliver Teves and Teresa Cerojano in Manila, Minh Tran in Hanoi, Vietnam, and Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin contributed to this report.

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JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Super Duper, just another storm?

New Storm Zoraida Approaches Philippines Days After Super Typhoon Haiyan Devastates Country

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/11/zoraida-philippines_n_4255529.html

Noel Foss's picture

What's that you say?

Global warming can trigger more severe storms?
Sounds made up to me.

MARK GRAVE's picture

The key word hear readers is

The key word hear readers is "can". That his necessary, but not sufficient information to claim this storm is a result of anthropogenic climate change.

Making that claim is kind of like saying the gods are angry when it thunders.

Moreover, science is unlikely to provide this as well since one cannot conduct a controlled experiments on climate.

Noel Foss's picture

Shrug.

I didn't claim it was anthropogenic (human caused) climate change; you asserted that on your own.
However, consider the following:

Fact: The levels of greenhouse gasses in Earth's atmosphere have increased significantly over the last hundred years.
Fact: Global sea levels have risen over the last hundred years.
Fact: Storms have become more powerful, more damaging, and more expensive over the last hundred years. (out of a list of 8 of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall, 6 of them have been in the last 20 years)

I'm sure it's all just a big coincidence.

MARK GRAVE's picture

“you asserted that on your

“you asserted that on your own”

Absolutely.

“Fact: The levels of greenhouse gasses in Earth's atmosphere have increased significantly over the last hundred years.”
Question, what it the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere?

“Fact: Storms have become more powerful, more damaging, and more expensive over the last hundred years.”
More Powerful: Opinion or fact?

More Expensive: Could the fact that storms are “more expensive” have anything to do with the fact that population density in vulnerable areas have increased over the last 100 years? Or that this nation has become more affluent, and we build more expensive structures in an dense area?

This fact is nonsensical to the argument in my opinion.

Lastly, 100 years on a geological timescale is equivalent to nanoseconds. Science has also found that there were more violent storms in planet earth’s history before the introduction of carbon based fuels. How do you rationalize that fact?

Noel Foss's picture

Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas.

But guess what the second most common is? Carbon.
That storms have grown more powerful isn't opinion, it's a verifiable fact. It's also easily explained. Hurricanes and Typhoons are driven by energy they pick up from warm ocean water. The warmer the water, the more energy they can gather, and the direct result is a larger, more powerful (and by default, more damaging) storm.
As global temperatures rise, so do sea surface temps.

As for thinking that storms becoming more expensive is nonsensical to the argument, I really don't see why. Given that our tax dollars are a big part of what pays for disaster response and reconstruction, it certainly seems relevant. While part of the increase in cost can certainly be attributed to greater affluence, as well as more dummies building in flood zones, it's tough to deny that a category 5 hurricane does more damage (and therefore rings up more of a bar tab) than a category 4 hurricane does.

And AGAIN, we roll back to my point that I wasn't blaming human contributions; I was targeting global warming and climate change themselves as the culprit. The climate has cycled back and forth many many times in its history, and will likely continue to do so in the future. As for your history of far more violent storms, if you look back through the geologic timescale, the most violent storms took place while the average global temps were at the extreme ends of the spectrum (further reinforcing the concept that if global temps continue to rise, storms will continue to get worse)
However, having said that, anybody with half a brain cannot deny that the planet is warming and the sea levels are rising. While humans may not be the single dominating reason, there's no doubt that what we're doing certainly isn't helping, and is likely a contributing factor.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

The opposite is just as true

Moreover, science is unlikely to provide this!!!!

Moreever, mother nature is unlikely to provide this, too....

Until it is so far out of control it won't matter and life goes on or does it?
But why do I or you care since we only have a few decades left if lucky....

It will be a just welcomed gift to leave those of future bloodlines to suffer the ignorance of denial by others that do not want to act or address it as a real problem.

Of course they will blame the Repubs/Tbaggers for their drawing a line in the sand of stubbornness to just blow it off as a conspiracy by Al Gore. Which will be a good thing going forward. Or will it ?

Bob White's picture

"their drawing a line in the

"their drawing a line in the sand " The Repubs/Tbaggers can always take a line out of Obamas great pass and say " I never said that"

Noel Foss's picture

Off topic;

Veteran's day.
Thanks for your service, Jerry.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Was

My honor and duty to serve as, my dads, brothers and uncles....Thank you

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