Typhoon Survivors Desperate to Flee Destroyed City

US sends aircraft carrier to Philippines
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2013 2:12 AM CST
Updated Nov 12, 2013 8:01 AM CST
Typhoon Survivors Desperate to Flee Destroyed City
A survivor walks beside a ship that was washed ashore hitting makeshift houses near an oil depot in Tacloban city.   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

In Tacloban, the Philippine city at the center of Typhoon Haiyan's devastation, scenes of desperation and misery are everywhere, the AP reports. When two Philippine Air Force planes landed at the city's airport earlier today, they were swarmed by a crowd of thousands of people—some holding babies over their heads—who surged past a fence in an attempt to escape. Only a few hundred made it on board.

  • "People are just scavenging in the streets," says a man who managed to get his wife and two children on a flight out but stayed to guard what remains of his home. "The grocery stories have all been looted. They're empty. People are hungry. And they (the authorities) cannot control the people."
  • By now the looting has died down, however, ABS-CBN reports, in part thanks to a heavy police and military presence, and in part because, in the words of one government aid worker, "There is nothing left to loot."

  • But as people try to escape the city, which is still littered with corpses, others are flooding in, searching for lost relatives or hoping for aid, which largely has yet to arrive, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The government believes the death toll—now at 1,774—will rise sharply. Tacloban's city administrator says that in the city alone it "could go up to 10,000." Thousands have been reported missing and hundreds are being buried in mass graves. President Benigno Aquino thinks the 10,000 figure is too high, however, predicting it'll settle between 2,000 and 2,500, according to CNN.
  • The BBC has more harrowing numbers: 9.8 million people have now been affected, 2.5 million are short on food, and 659,268 have been displaced.
  • While international aid is pouring in, there still doesn't seem to be an effective operation in place to help survivors in Tacloban, according to a BBC reporter at the scene. Many other areas hit by Haiyan remain inaccessible save by boat or helicopter, the Washington Post adds. Hospitals and pharmacies have been devastated, and looters have made off with medical supplies,
  • But it's not for lack of trying. The UN has released $25 million in emergency funds, and called on the world to donate $300 million more. Tens of millions of dollars have been donated by countries including the US, Japan, and Australia, and the US has sent the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, which is expected to arrive in two days.
  • The Red Cross has ordered 10,000 body bags and relief agencies fear a second round of deaths could happen amid shortages of food and water and the potential for an outbreak of disease, reports CNN. The chief of Medecins Sans Frontieres says its workers are fighting to keep infection rates down and are chartering boats and helicopters to reach remote areas.
  • Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest storms ever recorded and officials in the Philippines say the tsunami-like storm surge it produced is the first in the country's history, the New York Times reports. In Tacloban, large numbers of people drowned when evacuation centers—including the city's domed sports arena—were flooded by the unprecedented surge.
(Read more Philippines stories.)

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