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A ship lies on top of damaged homes after it was washed ashore in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Residents cover their nose from the smell of dead bodies in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortage of food, water and no electricity since the Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine provinces Friday leaving a wide swath of destruction and hundreds of people dead.  (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) A resident looks at houses damaged by typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. 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.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) A resident looks at houses damaged by typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. 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.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) Residents walk past damaged structures caused by typhoon Haiyan,  in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. 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.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) Residents walk by debris after powerful Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on 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 A resident walks inside a damaged home in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) Residents sit amidst the rubble  Saturday Nov. 9, 2013, following  a powerful typhoon that hit Tacloban city, in Leyte province in central Philippines. Rescuers in the central Philippines counted at least 100 people dead and many more injured, a day after one of the most powerful typhoons on record ripped through the region, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes with massive storm surges. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) Survivors walk by a large ship after it was washed ashore by strong waves caused by powerful Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) Survivors walk by a large ship after it was washed ashore by strong waves caused by powerful Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) A woman looks out from the remains of her damaged house in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) A woman stands amidst the devastation brought about by powerful Typhoon Haiyan at Tacloban city, in Leyte province, central Philippines Saturday Nov. 9, 2013. Rescuers in the central Philippines counted at least 100 people dead and many more injured Saturday, a day after one of the most powerful typhoons on record ripped through the region, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes with massive storm surges. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) A Philippine flag stands amongst the damage caused after powerful Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Rescuers in the central Philippines counted at least 100 people dead and many more injured Saturday, a day after one of the most powerful typhoons on record ripped through the region, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes with massive storm surges. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) Residents carry relief goods along the bay in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) A resident walks by remains of houses after powerful Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Rescuers in the central Philippines counted at least 100 people dead and many more injured Saturday, a day after one of the most powerful typhoons on record ripped through the region, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes with massive storm surges. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) People stay outside the remains of a damaged airport terminal after powerful Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Rescuers in the central Philippines counted at least 100 people dead and many more injured Saturday, a day after one of the most powerful typhoons on record ripped through the region, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes with massive storm surges. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) A store owner aims his gun to prevent a mob of people who tried to storm his grocery in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.  The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) A resident walks by toppled trees and electric posts after powerful Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on 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 Faithful pray for the typhoon's victims during the Pope Francis' Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The Pontiff has led tens of thousands of people at the Vatican in silent prayer for the victims of the typhoon that has ravaged the Philippines. The Pope told a crowd of pilgrims, tourists and Romans that he wanted to assure the people of the Philippines and surrounding region that he feels close to them. He lamented the high toll of dead and the enormous damage, then requested silent prayer for FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug 7, 2013 file photo, activists of India's Congress party's youth wing shout slogans during a protest against the death of five Indian army soldiers in cross-border exchanges, New Delhi, India. India has long accused Pakistan of arming and training militants who fight in Kashmir, a charge Pakistan vehemently denies. Pakistan has consistently said it gives the rebels only moral and diplomatic support (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File) A resident sits her roofless house, after typhoon Haiyan hit the town, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Daanbantayan town, north Cebu, central Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Chester Baldicantos) This photo released by the Malacanang Photo Bureau shows an aerial view of Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the region in the Philippines. 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. (AP Photo/Malacanang Photo Bureau, Ryan Lim) Residents walk past the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Daanbantayan town, north Cebu, central Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Chester Baldicantos) This photo released by the Malacanang Photo Bureau, shows an aerial view of Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines, after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the region on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in the Philippines. 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. (AP Photo/Malacanang Photo Bureau, Ryan Lim) The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, are seen Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Toti Navales)

Philippines typhoon survivors in struggle for aid


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.

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 city appeared to have been obliterated. From the air the landscape resembled 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 147 mph that gusted to 170 mph, and a storm surge of 20 feet.

Even though authorities had evacuated some 800,000 people ahead of the typhoon, the death toll was so high because many evacuation centers — brick-and-mortar schools, churches and government buildings — could not withstand the winds and water surges. Officials said people who had huddled in these buildings drowned or were swept away.

It inflicted serious damage to at least six islands in the middle of the eastern seaboard, 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 similar to Tacloban. 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 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.

Later Monday, the storm was expected to enter southern China and further weaken while dropping torrential rains on the provinces of Guangxi and Hunan. Guangxi officials advised fishermen to stay onshore.

Reports were trickling in, indicating deaths elsewhere besides Leyte Island.

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.

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, an archipelago nation of more than 7,000 islands, 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.



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