Philippines Typhoon Haiyan: As it happened on Wednesday
Zee Media Bureau/Biplob Ghosal and Supriya Jha
7:40 pm: “It’s no one’s fault’, UNICEF blames it on typhoon
As relief agencies are facing a hard time delivering supplies to the remote areas, UNICEF spokesperson Christopher De Bono blamed it on the typhoon and its unprecedented might.
"I don`t think that`s anyone`s fault. I think it`s the geography and the devastation," he said.
6:50 pm: Lack of body bags an obstacle in cadaver collection: Mayor
With corpses strewn everywhere, the collection of dead bodies is increasingly becoming a tough task. Adding to the trouble is a dearth of body bags, said the Mayor of Tacloban City, the worst hit area by the typhoon.
"There`s a rise in casualties…We also lack body bags. Some of them just arrived today. We`re having some problems in the collection of cadavers," Tacloban city Mayor Albert Romualdez was quoted as saying by a Philippine news website GMA news.
5: 15 pm: Philippines women must be protected against threat of rape, trafficking, says UK official
Other than the common repercussions like dearth of food, water, medicines etc, in the aftermath of typhoon disaster, there is one formidable risk that the desperate times like these are said to bring along – the safety of women.
According to UK’s international development secretary Justine Greening, who is managing UK’s response to the disaster in Philippines, not enough is being done to protect the women and girls from the looming threat of violence, rape, forced marriages and human trafficking, reported the Telegraph.
“We are failing thousand of girls at risk of rape and trafficking,” the Telegraph quoted Justine Greening.
4:50 pm: Philippine govt says death toll rises to 2,275
The typhoon toll in Philippines has risen to 2,275, Eduardo del Rosario, the executive director of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Wednesday.
On being asked about the possibility of increase in the death toll, del Rosario said: "We do not like to speculate. It`s better if it will not increase... Let us not speculate."
4:20 pm: Global warming, rising sea levels add to typhoon impact: WMO
Calling the year 2013 “on course to be among the top ten warmest years” recorded ever, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that the rising sea levels aggravated the impact of the typhoons on the coastal areas, like hat of Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines.
“Although individual tropical cyclones cannot be directly attributed to climate change, higher sea levels are already making coastal populations more vulnerable to storm surges. We saw this with tragic consequences in the Philippines,” said WMO secretary general Michel Jarraud at Warsaw Climate Change Conference.
4:00 pm: `We need food, we need to eat`
The task of delivering aid and relief materials is facing huge obstacles due to the blocked roads and destoyed communication lines. However, the World Food Program has delivered at least 2,700 tons of rice to the country.
As a supply plane arived in the town of Guinan, a hungry crowd hollered, "we need food, we need to eat", reported the CNN.
3:20 pm: Philippine forces fight armed men amid loot, chaos
As desperation hit a high among Filipinos in want of basic necessities, looting from the warehouses and shops became rampant. To curb the chaos, Philippine govt forces were engaged in a firefight with armed men in the village of Abucay, in Tacloban of Leyte province, the Reuters said citing a report by ANC Television.
2:25 pm: ‘Looting is not criminality. It is self-preservation’
With no food, water or shelter, the desperate survivors resorted to looting and theft. Eight people were crushed to death when a wall collapses as looters raided a government rice warehouse in the town of Alangalang, and took away over 1 lakh sacks of rice.
Talking about the situation, Tacloban city administrator Tecson John Lim said 90 percent of the coastal city of 220,000 people had been destroyed, with only 20 percent of its residents getting aid. Houses were now being looted because warehouses were empty, he said.
"The looting is not criminality. It is self-preservation," Reuters quoted him as saying.
13:10 pm: Roads `strewn with dead bodies` in want of burial
As the aid operations started picking momentum, the destructed areas drew a tragic picture with dead bodies lying almost everywhere. On the roads, on the bridges, hanging from the trees. SWurvivors were seen walking with their hands covering their nose as the strong stench from the corpses filled the air.
In words of UN humanitarian official John Ging, "Many places are strewn with dead bodies".
"The first priority of response teams, once they were able to navigate their way into these areas, is to mobilise the burial of dead bodies because of the public health issues," he said.
12:35 pm: Philippine govt pegs initial cost of damages at $17.4 million
According to Philippines` National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), over 580,000 people had been displaced and 41,000 houses had been damaged. The agency estimated that the cost of damages from typhoon Haiyan was approximately $17.4 million.
9:10 am: Aid operations pick up pace
Relief operations in this typhoon-devastated region of the Philippines picked up pace Wednesday, but the minimal amounts of water, food and medical supplies reaching the hardest-hit areas were causing increasingly desperate survivors to take matters into their own hands.
In the first reported deaths as a result of looting, eight people were crushed to death when a wall collapsed as they and thousands of others stormed a rice warehouse on Leyte Island, the worst-hit region by Friday`s storm, said National Food Authority spokesman Rex Estoperez.
The looters in Alangalang municipality Tuesday carted away up to 100,000 sacks of rice, he said.
8:50 am: Death toll may be 2500, says Philippines Prez
Philippines President Benigno Aquino in an interview to CNN said that the death toll would be significantly lower and estimated the figure to 2500.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council put the death toll at 1,833.
However, a Red Cross official said, thousands are feared to have been killed in the Philippines by the super typhoon `Haiyan`. According to an estimate, as many as 10,000 are feared to have been perished in the devastation caused by it.
8:40 am: Devastation everywhere
President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of national calamity to speed up relief efforts for the victims. The two worst affected provinces are Leyte and Samar, which have suffered massive destruction and loss of life.
The city of Tacloban has been hugely hit. Tacloban`s government was wiped out by the storm, said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas.
The central Philippine province of Leyte bore the maximum impact of the super typhoon that hit the Philippines Friday morning, with wind speeds up to 275 kph triggering major landslides and forcing 800,000 people to flee their homes.
A total of 1.387 million families or 6.937 million people were affected by Haiyan and out of them, 127,733 families or 582,303 persons were displaced and being served inside and outside evacuation centres, a NDRRMC official said.
Nearly 150,000 houses were either partially or totally damaged.
The Manila Standard newspaper, under the headline "Mass Escape from Hell," said thousands of people frightened by post-storm anarchy in the city and sickened by the stench of decaying corpses, were awaiting flights to Manila Wednesday.
The super typhoon hit the Philippines Friday and exited the country Saturday afternoon. Haiyan was the second category 5 typhoon to hit the Philippines this year after Typhoon Usagi in September. An average of 20 typhoons strike every year, and Haiyan was the 24th so far this year.
8:15 am: US Navy ships to arrive in Philippines today
A US aircraft carrier set sail for the Philippines on Tuesday to accelerate relief efforts. The nuclear-powered USS George Washington and four other ships will arrive in the Leyte Gulf Wednesday, with the combined capacity to produce millions of liters of drinking water daily.
Britain is also sending a navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater and a military transport aircraft. The HMS Daring left Singapore and expects to arrive in two or three days.
Two Philippine Air Force C 130 cargo planes landed at Tacloban airport early on Tuesday, but unloaded more soldiers than relief supplies. Among dozens of troops was a unit of Special Forces, underscoring concerns about civil disorder.
The Special Forces immediately deployed at the airport to hold back angry and desperate families waiting in heavy rain in the hope of boarding the planes returning to Manila.
8:00 am: India sending 15 tonnes of relief supplies
India is sending 15 tonnes of relief material to the Philippines, where nearly 10,000 people have died after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the country.
India is also proposing to send a ship equipped with water treatment facilities to the areas hit by the typhoon.
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