Philippines Typhoon Haiyan: `It was like a tsunami`
Zee Media Bureau
Tacloban: The fierce storm that ravaged Philippines on Friday inflicted massive destruction and wreaked havoc in the country with many likening it to tsunami as most of the deaths were caused by the towering sea waves.
A top UN disaster management official recalled Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 while describing the situation.
“The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami", Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, the head of United Nations disaster assessment team which visited the area on Saturday, said in his report as cited by the New York Times.
“This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed,” he added.Philippines Interior Secretary Mar Roxas described the situation as "horrific" adn said that the level of destruction called for an overwhelming level of relief and rescue operations.
International aid agencies said relief efforts in the Philippines are stretched thin after a 7.2 magnitude quake in central Bohol province last month and displacement caused by a conflict with Muslim rebels in southern Zamboanga province.
The World Food Programme said it was airlifting 40 tonnes of high-energy biscuits, enough to feed 120,000 people for a day, as well as emergency supplies and telecommunications equipment.
"From a helicopter, you can see the extent of devastation. From the shore and moving a kilometre inland, there are no structures standing. It was like a tsunami," he told Reuters.
The news agency quoted another medical student as saying that the situation was like a movie.
"People are walking like zombies looking for food," said Jenny Chu, a medical student in Leyte.
The typhoon that is a category 5 typhoon brought along violent gusts of 275 Km/h and waves reaching 15 metres in height, invoking memories of 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean that claimed over 2 lakh lives in 14 countries.
Typhoon Haiyan is said to have affected over 4.3 million people and displaced over 3 lakhs according to a UN agency as the relief
The city of Tacloban was the worst hit and the entire city was in ruins after the savage storm ripped through it sweeping homes, and flooding nearby villages.
The airport was also destroyed as the mighty waves shattered the airport tower glass and levelled the terminal.
According to Tecson John Lim, the Tacloban city administrator, over 10, 000 were feared dead in the city alone.
The situation was described as tsunmai-like by the Airport manager Efren Nagrama, who said, "It was like a tsunami. We escaped through the windows and I held on to a pole for about an hour as rain, seawater and wind swept through the airport… Some of my staff survived by clinging to trees. I prayed hard all throughout until the water subsided."
Six people were killed and dozens wounded during heavy winds and storms in central Vietnam as Haiyan approached the coast, state media reported, even though it had weakened substantially since hitting the Philippines.
Vietnam authorities have moved 883,000 people in 11 central provinces to safe zones, according to the government`s website. Despite weakening, the storm is likely to cause heavy rains, flooding, strong winds and mudslides as it makes its way north in the South China Sea.
Looters rampaged through several stores in Tacloban, witnesses said, taking whatever they could find as rescuers` efforts to deliver food and water were hampered by severed roads and communications.
"They are taking everything, even appliances like TV sets. These will be traded later on for food," said Tecson John Lim, the Tacloban city administrator.
"We don`t have enough manpower. We have 2,000 employees but only about 100 are reporting for work. Everyone is attending to their families."
With Agency Inputs
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