Friday, February 21, 2020
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Tacloban, Philippines (CNN) — The Philippines struggled to bury the dead and get food, water and medicine to the living Tuesday, four days after Super Typhoon Haiyan claimed untold lives and flattened countless buildings.

“Right now, we don’t have enough water,” typhoon survivor Roselda Sumapit told CNN in Tacloban, a city of more than 200,000 that was flattened by the storm. What they can get may not be clean, she said — but she added, “We still drink it, because we need to survive.”

The government’s confirmed death toll was 1,774 early Tuesday, said Jose Lampe Cuisa Jr., the Philippine ambassador to the United States. The storm has injured 2,487 more, and displaced 660,000 people from their homes.

Government officials have said they fear the final toll may be as many as 10,000. Corpses — some crudely covered, others left exposed to the burning sun — added another hellish element to survival in Tacloban, the capital of the southern island province of Leyte.

“We have bodies in the water, bodies on the bridges, bodies on the side of the road,” said Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez said authorities there have confirmed 250 deaths and expect that toll to climb.

“A lot of bodies were mixed up with all the rubble and debris, and we’re getting reports also of some houses that were buried. And we see some bodies floating,” Romualdez said.

Another 14 people were reported to have died in Vietnam, where the storm made landfall after hitting the Philippines, the country’s National Search and Rescue Committee reported early Tuesday. Another four were missing and 81 hurt, it said.

And there were at least five storm-related deaths in southern China, where heavy rains caused flooding, destroyed houses and damaged farmland, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

In the Phillipines, troops and aid organizations battled blocked roads to deliver help and search for survivors in the splintered wreckage of homes. Tomoo Hozumi, the Philippines representative of the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, said food, shelter, clean water and basic sanitation were “in a severe shortage” early Tuesday.

“The situation on the ground is very hideous,” he told CNN’s The Situation Room.

The Philippine government reported early Tuesday that 2.5 million people needed food aid, including nearly 300,000 pregnant women or new mothers.

“Our house got demolished. My father died after being hit by falling wooden debris,” one woman told the Philippine television network ANC. “We are calling for your help. If possible, please bring us food. We don’t have anything to eat.”

International aid was beginning to work its way to the stricken islands. But Martin Romualdez, the area’s congressman, said authorities need help clearing roads where power lines, trees and whole houses are “literally strewn across the pavement of the highway.”

Romualdez, the cousin of Tacloban’s mayor, said airdrops may be needed to reach towns beyond Tacloban.

“We can’t wait. People have gone three days without any clean water, food and medication,” he told CNN’s Piers Morgan Live.

“People are getting desperate. There’s an exodus out of the storm-ravaged areas. People are just trying to make their way out, and it’s causing a big, big jam on the main arteries that are used to get to these people.”

Gordon said the threat of landslides and flash flooding further complicated the problem, and said police were needed to guard aid shipments: “Any truck, any helicopter that lands is going to be surrounded by people in need,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.

Compounding the misery, a new tropical depression dumped heavy rain on the area Tuesday morning. The system, dubbed Zoraida by the Philippine meteorological agency, was centered southeast of the southern island of Mindanao, moving northwest with top winds of 55 kilometers per hour (35 mph).

Worse than hell’

Haiyan struck Friday, sending a wall of water crashing into neighborhoods of wooden houses along the Gulf of Leyte and flinging large ships ashore like toys. Its top winds were estimated at 315 kph (195 mph) — a figure that could set a new record for tropical cyclones if confirmed.

Magina Fernandez, who was trying to get out of Tacloban at the city’s crippled airport, described the situation there as “worse than hell.”

“Get international help to come here now — not tomorrow, now,” she said, directing some of her anger at Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, who toured some of the hardest-hit areas Sunday.

Aid pledges began to pour in on Monday — $25 million from the United Nations, 3 million euros ($4 million) from the European Union, 10 million pounds ($16 million) from Britain and $10 million from the United Arab Emirates, home to a large population of expatriate Filipino workers.

U.N. and U.S. civilian disaster assessment teams were on the scene. U.S. Marines based in Japan worked to outfit Tacloban’s shattered airport with lights, radar and other gear to allow it to operate 24 hours a day.

The United States also announced that the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and three escort ships have been dispatched to the Philippines to assist in recovery efforts. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the carrier to head for the islands at “best speed” from Hong Kong, where it was on a port visit, the Pentagon said. Two other American vessels, including a supply ship, are already headed for the Phillippines, the Pentagon said.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is sending emergency shelter materials and basic hygiene supplies to aid 10,000 families as well as 55 metric tons of emergency rations sufficient to feed 20,000 children and 15,000 adults for up to five days. Both shipments were expected to arrive this week, the agency said.

And British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Monday night that his government was also sending a cargo plane and the destroyer HMS Daring to assist, he said.

Typhoon Haiyan: Reports from the field

Difficult to assess death toll

But Tacloban is far from the only devastated area. Authorities are trying to establish the level of destruction elsewhere along Haiyan’s path, and other settlements along the coast are likely to have suffered a similar fate to Tacloban’s.

Interactive map of the storm

Aid workers said the recovery from Haiyan will take many months.

“This disaster on such a scale will probably have us working for the next year,” said Sandra Bulling, international communications officer for the aid agency CARE. “Fishermen have lost their boats. Crops are devastated. This is really the basic income of many people.”

Across the Gulf of Leyte lies Samar, where Haiyan made its first of six deadly landfalls on the Philippines on Friday. Government and aid officials say they are still trying to reach many affected communities on that island.

A similar challenge exists farther west, on the islands of Cebu and Panay, which also suffered direct hits from the typhoon.

Aquino declared a “state of national calamity,” which allows more latitude in rescue and recovery operations and gives the government power to set the prices of basic goods. Authorities are funneling aid on military planes to Tacloban’s airport, which resumed limited commercial flights Monday. As aid workers, government officials and journalists came in, hundreds of residents waited in long lines hoping to get out.

Tacloban stadium before and after

‘They’ve lost everything’

The problems are the same in other stricken regions.

“The main challenges right now are related to logistics,” said Praveen Agrawal of the U.N.’s World Food Programme, who returned to Manila from the affected areas Sunday. “Roads are blocked, airports are destroyed.”

The need for food and water has led to increasingly desperate efforts. People have broken into grocery and department stores in Tacloban, and local businessman Richard Young said he and others had formed a group to protect their businesses.

“We have our firearms. We will shoot within our property,” he said.

Authorities have sent police and military reinforcements to try to bring the situation under control.

Another dire scene played out in the city’s only functioning hospital over the weekend. Doctors couldn’t admit any more wounded victims because there wasn’t enough room. Some injured lay in the hospital’s cramped hallways seeking treatment.

“We haven’t anything left to help people with,” one doctor said. “We have to get supplies in immediately.”

Complicating the search efforts is the lack of electricity in many parts of the storm’s path.

The northern part of Bogo, in the central Philippines, suffered a blackout Sunday, and authorities said it will take months to restore power.

Storm moves onto Vietnam

Meteorologists said it will take further analysis to confirm whether Haiyan — with gusts reported at first landfall to be up to 235 mph (375 kph) — set a record.

After leaving the Philippines, the storm lost power as it moved across the South China Sea over the weekend. It hit the coast of northern Vietnam early Monday and weakened as it moved inland. Vietnamese authorities had evacuated 800,000 people ahead of the typhoon, according to the United Nations.

Aid workers said Vietnam was likely to avoid damage on the scale suffered by the Philippines but warned that heavy rain brought could cause flooding and landslides in northern Vietnam and southern China.

‘Worse than hell’ in typhoon-ravaged Philippines

Posted by Rattana_S On November - 11 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Tacloban, Philippines (CNN) — As the Philippines faced a grim recovery in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the storm plowed into northeastern Vietnam early Monday, packing powerful winds and forcing thousands to evacuate.

Five people were killed in Vietnam ahead of the storm, state media reported.

In the Philippines, authorities warned that the typhoon may have killed thousands there, leaving behind a trail of devastation on a scale they’d never seen before.

No electricity. No food. No water. Houses and buildings leveled. Bodies scattered on the streets. Hospitals overrun with patients. Medical supplies running out.

And a death toll that could soar.

The Philippine Red Cross estimates that at least 1,200 people were killed by the storm, but that number could grow as officials make their way to remote areas made nearly inaccessible by Haiyan.

Others put the toll much higher: The International Committee of the Red Cross said it’s realistic to estimate that 10,000 people may have died nationally.

The grim task of counting the bodies was just beginning Monday as authorities sifted through the rubble of what was left behind. The official toll stood at 255 Monday, according to the country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

“I have not spoken to anyone who has not lost someone, a relative close to them. We are looking for as many as we can,” Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez told CNN.

‘This is really, really like bad

Desperately needed aid was making its way into the storm-ravaged city of Tacloban on Monday. C-130 planes arrived, carrying food, water and supplies. Other planes left — some of them carrying body bags with storm victims.

A steady stream of typhoon survivors arrived at Tacloban airport, looking for food, water and escape.

Magina Fernandez was among them. She had lost her home and business. And she was desperate to leave on the next military plane.

She made an anguished plea for help.

“Get international help to come here now — not tomorrow, now,” she said. “This is really, really like bad, bad, worse than hell, worse than hell.”

She directed some of her anger at Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, who on Sunday toured some of the areas hit hardest by the typhoon, including Tacloban.

Many of the people in the city, population 200,000, are angry at the authorities’ slow response to the disaster.

Aquino said there was a breakdown, especially at the local government level.

“They are necessary first responders, and too many of them were also affected and did not report for work,” he explained, saying that contributed to the slow delivery.

Aquino said the government will coordinate with the local units and put more people to work.

Looting reported as supplies become scarce

In Tacloban, the increasingly desperate search for food and water has led to looting.

National police and the military sent reinforcements to the city Sunday to prevent such thefts.

Video showed people breaking into grocery stores and cash machines in the city.

Authorities said they were sending several hundred additional security personnel into the city to keep law and order.

Another dire scene played out in the city’s only functioning hospital. Doctors couldn’t admit any more wounded victims — there wasn’t enough room. Some of the injured lay in the hospital’s cramped hallways seeking treatment.

“We haven’t anything left to help people with,” one of the doctors said. “We have to get supplies in immediately.”

Complicating the search efforts is the lack of electricity in many parts of the storm’s path.

The northern part of Bogo, in the central Philippines, suffered a blackout Sunday, and authorities said it will take months to restore power.

Crews search for victims, survivors

Romualdez, Tacloban’s mayor, told CNN that reports 10,000 people may have died in Leyte province were “entirely possible.”

“People here were convinced that it looked like a tsunami,” he said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it is fairly realistic to estimate that 10,000 people may have died nationally, because many areas are unreachable by organizations.

“In the western islands of Philippines, for instance, no one can evaluate the casualties,” said ICRC spokesman David Pierre Marquet.

“It could effectively be a number close to 10,000,” Marquet told CNN. “But the notion that 10,000 people are dead in Tacloban alone is not possible.”

Aid groups struggle to reach those suffering

The UN’s World Food Programme is setting up logistic pipelines to transport food and other relief items.

“The main challenges right now are related to logistics,” said WFP representative Praveen Agrawal, who returned to Manila from the affected areas on Sunday. “Roads are blocked, airports are destroyed.”

Interactive map of the storm

WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher said the U.N. group was gearing up its global resources to send enough food to feed 120,000 people.

“These high-energy biscuits will keep them alive,” she said.

Luescher pleaded for financial support from the international community and directed those wishing to donate to

“Those are families like you and me, and they just need our help right now,” she said.

Typhoon makes landfall in Vietnam

The massive losses in the Philippines have put much of Vietnam on edge. The Vietnam Red Cross said it had helped authorities evacuate 100,000 people, including elderly residents and orphans, as the typhoon neared.

Haiyan made landfall around 4 a.m. Monday (4 p.m. Sunday ET) with sustained winds of 120 kph (75 mph) and gusts of 150 kph (93 mph).

The storm had weakened by the time it hit Vietnam. But it’s still expected to cause heavy rain and flooding in Hanoi, the Red Cross said. Forecasters predicted 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches) of rain for parts of northern Vietnam near the border with China by Monday night.

Tropical cyclones with sustained surface winds of 74 mph or more are known as typhoons when they form west of the international date line. East of the line, they’re known as hurricanes.

An enormous blow

Haiyan may be the strongest tropical cyclone in recorded history, but meteorologists said it will take further analysis to confirm whether it set a record.

The typhoon was 3.5 times more forceful than Hurricane Katrina, which hit the United States 2005.

It wasn’t the storm’s 250-kph (155-mph) gusts that caused most of the damage — it was a mammoth storm surge that reached up to 5 meters (16 feet) high.

“This disaster on such a scale will probably have us working for the next year,” said Sandra Bulling, international communications officer for the aid agency CARE. “Fishermen have lost their boats. Crops are devastated. This is really the basic income of many people.”

Pilot of Lao plane was ‘told to change course’

Posted by Rattana_S On October - 19 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

A Lao Airlines pilot was told to change course shortly before his turboprop plane slammed into the murky Mekong River in southern Laos, killing all 49 people on board, including five Thai nationals.

The Phnom Penh Post reported yesterday that the control tower at the Pakse airport had issued the instruction to Cambodian-born pilot Young San, 56, as the plane was on a landing approach in extreme weather.

“During strong winds, the air controller told [Young San] to change course,” said the Cambodian State Secretariat of Civil Aviation’s safety and security director, Mak Sam Ol, who has been briefed on the cause of the crash by Laotian authorities.

“He followed instructions but the plane faced strong winds and it couldn’t get through,” Mak Sam Ol told The Phnom Penh Post. Young San, who had more than 30 years’ flying experience, had worked for the airline for almost three years.

“He had a contract with Laos’ aviation [authority] for three years and had been there almost all that time,” Mak Sam Ol said.

He was a former pilot with Cambodia’s defunct state carrier Royal Air Cambodge after having trained in Russia and later France, the Post said. Laotian officials and airline engineers are investigating the cause of the crash of the French-made ATR-72 twin-propeller aircraft that left deep skid marks before careering into the river on Wednesday and disappearing.

Death toll climbs to 161 in Philippines earthquake

Posted by Nuttapon_S On October - 17 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

(CNN) — The death toll from the magnitude-7.1 earthquake in the central Philippines rose Thursday to 161, authorities said.

The quake, which struck Tuesday, also injured 375 people, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, in Quezon City.

The bulk of the casualties were in Bohol province.

In an update issued Thursday evening, the council said 21 people were missing — all of them in Bohol.

The quake was centered about 620 kilometers (385 miles) south-southeast of Manila, near Catigbian, and its depth was 20 kilometers (12 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Philippines disaster council gave the quake a slightly higher rating: 7.2 magnitude.

Measuring the magnitude of earthquakes

Landslides were reported in some areas. Nearly 3,000 houses were destroyed and another 16,000 were damaged in Bohol and Cebu, officials reported.

As of 6 p.m. Thursday, 12 of Bohol’s 47 municipalities were without power, and authorities were predicting that it would be restored within a day or two.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, more than 1,300 aftershocks had been recorded, 28 of which were felt. In all, 158,466 people were displaced, the government said. Nearly 100,000 of them were housed in 85 evacuation centers, it said.

iReport: ‘Our building is not safe’

Tuesday was a national holiday, the beginning of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Tourist Robert Michael Poole said he was riding a bike in Bohol,where 149 of the deaths occurred, when the earthquake struck and cracked the road in front of him.

“I live in Tokyo; I am used to earthquakes,” Poole said. “But this one was very strong. It shocked a lot of people here.”

He said he was able to move around and document some of the destruction, including a giant church that was destroyed.

“Lucky thing is that it is a holiday here today and it happened at a time when nobody was in the church,” Poole said.

New earthquake strikes hard-hit Pakistan