Survivors' panic results in more deaths in Typhoon Haiyan's wake



Messages are painted on a demolished street in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan on November 13, 2013 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines.


Kevin Frayer

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UPDATE: 11/13/13 2:45 PM ET

Survivors trying to flee

The Associated Press released raw footage of survivors from Tacloban, the city whose mayor appealed for residents to seek shelter elsewhere:

UPDATE: 11/13/13 12:40 PM ET

Tacloban mayor appeals for trucks and drivers

The mayor of the city nearly completely leveled by Typhoon Haiyan called for residents to flee to other cities.

The New York Times reported Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez's appeal followed a failed attempt to bury the dead: "A police convoy of trucks carrying more than 200 rotting corpses turned back after the officers heard gunshots as they approached the city limits."

Romualdez "said the city desperately needed trucks and drivers to distribute relief shipments of food that are piling up at the airport, as well as more trucks, heavy equipment and personnel to pull decaying corpses out of the unending mounds of debris and collapsed houses that stretch across this city."

UPDATE: 11/13/13 11:00 AM ET

Death toll exceeds 2,000

The death toll from deadly Typhoon Haiyan rose up to 2,344 on Wednesday, with another 3,804 suffering from injuries and 79 still missing.

The latest figures were released by the Philippines' National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Government spokesman Rick Carandang explained the difficulty with identifying victims, as quoted in the Guardian:

"It’s going to be very difficult at the end of the day to come up with the exact number of fatalities here given that some bodies have already been lost, some have been buried already, some have decomposed. So the number of missing and the number of dead will remain sort of uncertain for quite some time."

UPDATE: 11/13/13 10:15 AM ET

Food panic adds to typhoon tragedy and death toll

Agence France-Presse reported:

Thousands of people jostled and begged for seats Wednesday on scarce flights out of a Philippine city demolished by a super typhoon, as anger at the slow pace of aid reaching the disaster zone turned deadly.

News emerged that eight people were crushed to death Tuesday when a huge crowd of survivors from Haiyan rushed a government rice store, adding to a grim body count after one of the strongest storms on record left thousands dead.

"One wall of our warehouses collapsed and eight people were crushed and killed instantly," the National Food Authority's Rex Estoperez said of the incident in Alangalang town, 17 kilometres (10 miles) from the devastated city of Tacloban.

Five days after Haiyan ripped apart entire coastal communities, the situation in Leyte's provincial capital Tacloban was becoming ever more dire with essential supplies low and increasingly desperate survivors clamoring to leave.

"Everyone is panicking," Captain Emily Chang, a navy doctor, told AFP.

"They say there is no food, no water. They want to get of here," she added, saying doctors at the airport had run out of medicine, including antibiotics.

"We are examining everyone but there's little we can do until more medical supplies arrive."

If you're looking for ways to help, check NBC, Reuters and New York Times' lists of aid organizations.

UPDATE: 11/12/13 4:40 PM ET

Death toll inches upward

The official death toll after the typhoon has been updated to 1,798, according to the Guardian. The wounded number 2,582, while 82 are still missing, according to numbers released by the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

PBS has suggestions for those attempting to reach their loved ones, through Google's People Finder and the Red Cross.

Time magazine's photos show the grim task of processing the bodies of victims with temporary morgues:

UPDATE: 11/12/13 3:50 PM ET

Warships on their way as UN appeals for $300 million in aid

Agence France-Presse reports:

The UN launched an appeal for more than $300 million in aid as US and British warships on Wednesday steamed towards the typhoon-ravaged Philippines.

Increasingly desperate survivors begged for help that was having difficulty reaching them -- many still without access to food and water after nights spent in the open.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told reporters in Manila the money was needed for "food, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and also protection of the most vulnerable".

Amos praised the international community's reaction since Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on Friday, but said much more needed to be done in a disaster of almost biblical proportions.

"We have already seen an international and generous response given the horrific pictures that people have seen, particularly on their television screens," she said.

The BBC has a list of aid donations, by country:

United States - $20 million

United Kingdom - $16 million

UAE - $10 million

Japan - $10 million

Australia - $9.3 million

UPDATE: 11/12/13 2:30 PM ET

Why did Typhoon Haiyan cause so much damage?

NPR talked to a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology about why this particular typhoon wreaked such havoc on the Philippines.

"The Pacific at this time of year is very ripe and juicy for big typhoons," Kerry Emanuel told NPR. "Once or twice a year we get a Category 5 typhoon out there."

"But it's a great rarity, fortunately, that a storm just happens to reach peak intensity when it's making landfall. And that's what happened in this case."

Read the full piece at NPR.

Emanuel told The New York Times, "Whether we’re seeing some result of climate change, we find that impossible to find out."

However, Emanuel helped author a 2010 study that the intensity of hurricanes and typhoons would increase by the end of the century.

He told The Times, "As you warm the climate, you basically raise the speed limit on hurricanes."

Mexico, which has suffered its own slew of powerful storms this year, is also suffering the long-term erosion of its beaches, attributed to climate change.

UPDATE: 11/12/13 2:00 PM ET

"I struggle to find the words..."

The Philippines delegate at United Nations climate talks made an emotional plea for action, as his countrymen struggled with the devastation left by the typhoon.

"The devastation is staggering. I struggle to find the words to describe the images we see on the news coverage," Naderev Sano said, choking up. "I struggle to find the words to describe how I feel about the losses."

"I will voluntarily refrain from eating food (during the conference) until a meaningful outcome is in sight," Sano announced at the talks on Monday, noting that many Filipinos still remained hungry.

"We can take drastic action now to ensure that we prevent a future where super typhoons become a way of life," he added.

Watch part of Sano's speech [h/t NYTimes' @ShreeyaSinha]

A report released at the UN climate talks on Tuesday showed that Haiti and the Philippines were the hardest hit by extreme weather in 2012.

Super Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest storms ever recorded, and last year the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Bopha.

Reuters reported:

"Sano said he hoped his fast would put pressure on delegates to agree a new loss and damage mechanism to compensate poor countries for damage from global warming. He also urged more action by developed nations to curb their emissions and raise climate aid towards a promised $100 billion a year from 2020, from about $10 billion a year in 2010-12."

UPDATE: 11/12/13 1:30 PM ET

President Obama calls President Aquino to offer condolences, aid

White House press secretary Jay Carney said US President Obama spoke with Philippines President Aquino Tuesday morning "to express our deep condolences for lives lost and damage caused" by the typhoon.

"Over the weekend, the president directed a swift, coordinated response," Carney said.

As we mentioned earlier, the United States has pledged $20 million in humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter materials and hygiene kits.

US marines were among the first to help distribute supplies, and the USS George Washington, along with other ships, is en route to aid with search-and-rescue missions, the Guardian noted.

UPDATE: 11/12/13 1:00 PM ET

How Filipinos are helping each other (and how you can help)

Alma Anonas-Carpio wrote from Manila on Monday:

Amid a national catastrophe of unimaginable scope, with at least 10,000 feared dead and entire communities leveled by the winds, Filipinos in areas spared the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan are mounting fund-raising and donation drives to aid their storm-battered kin and friends.

While international aid is embraced, this is not a nation that stands by and waits for assistance. Filipinos have converted their social media accounts into newsfeeds carrying pleas to send aid to areas besides Guiuan town in Eastern Samar, where Haiyan first made landfall, and to the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc, flattened by the storm and its tidal surge.

As the world tunes into Tacloban, Filipinos have been searching elsewhere, to ensure that no distressed community goes unnoticed. Rather than waiting idly for the officials to respond, citizens-turned-journalists are calling attention to areas equally battered across the sprawling archipelago — like Palompon town, which sits between Tacloban and Ormoc; the diver's haven of Coron island; Iloilo in Negros Oriental; the province of Antique; and Bantayan island in Cebu.

If you're thinking of sending aid to the Philippines, experts advise, "Write a check, don't send a box."

NBC has a list of organizations to donate to.

As does The New York Times.

And Reuters.

UPDATE: 11/12/13 12:45 PM ET

Anger grows as aid is delayed

The Associated Press released this raw video showing the chaos at Tacloban airport as residents waited to be evacuated:

The New York Times provided some context:

"The people of Tacloban, on Leyte Island in the east-central Philippines, have been struggling largely on their own for almost five days to deal with the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, as the civilian and military authorities of the Philippines struggle to cope with a natural disaster of a scope far beyond expectations. The pace of relief flights by the Philippines and United States Air Forces has finally accelerated, but only after a long series of delays and hiccups."

Maria Adelfa Jomerez, 58, is one of the survivors at Tacloban's airport hoping to be evacuated.

She told Agence France-Presse, "I asked the mortuary to give my son and his wife proper coffins, but they told me their staff had not reported for work and that some of them were probably dead as well."

There are no vehicles to transport them to the cemetery anyway... I would prefer that they not be buried in a mass grave, but I cannot do anything about that," she said.

UPDATE: 11/12/13 12:30 PM ET

How Typhoon Haiyan looked from space, and how the damage looks up close

American astronaut Karen L. Nyberg, who is currently aboard the International Space Station, tweeted this image of the typhoon from space on November 9:

The New York Times now has a detailed map of the destruction Typhoon Haiyan left in its wake.

This Al Jazeera report describes the scene in the hardest hit city of Tacloban:

There’s no easing into this situation when you arrive at what’s left of Tacloban Airport. You’re immediately faced with evidence of the destructive power of the storm.

The terminal building is standing, but only just. The control tower has no windows, but inside the staff manage to carefully maneuver the many military and civilian planes still landing and taking off.

Just off to the side of the carpark, you are hit with the first smell of death. A rotting corpse lies unclaimed, yet already placed inside a body bag.

There are scenes of utter desperation each day at the airport as thousands of people come to try to catch a plane out, eager to escape the misery of what Typhoon Haiyan inflicted upon them.

UPDATE: 11/12/13 11:30 AM ET

Death toll lower than feared 10,000, says president

Filipino President Benigno Aquino told CNN's Christiane Amanpour Tuesday that the feared death toll of 10,000 appeared to be "too much."

Aquino said the final toll was more likely to be around 2,000 to 2,500. The official death toll currently stands at 1,774, with 2,487 others wounded.

The lower death toll projection will be grim consolation for the thousands who have lost everything. BBC News has the typhoon's impact, by the numbers:

UPDATE: 11/12/13 8:00 AM ET

Relief efforts continue in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan

US aircraft carrier the USS George Washington was ordered to sail for the Philippines on Monday, as the international response to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan intensified. 

As many as 10,000 people are feared dead and 150,000 more have likely been made homeless after the typhoon swept across the central Philippines last weekend.

By Tuesday, officials had found 1,774 of bodies and there are expected to be many more. Another 2,487 are injured with that number likely to climb in the coming weeks and days.

So far at least 22 other countries have pledged assistance. The US aircraft carrier is expected to arrive within two days, according to the Associated Press, while the United States has offered $20 million in aid.

The United Nations put out a call Tuesday for $300 million in donations to the storm-ravaged country.

“I very much hope our donors will be generous," the UN's humanitarian chief told reporters in Manila.

UN cargo planes full of shelters, water purifiers and hygiene kits are expected to arrive Tuesday.

More from GlobalPost: The damage Typhoon Haiyan left in its wake 

The United Kingdom also contributed to the effort, sending a navy warship equipped with military transport aircraft. The Disasters Emergency Committee is working on a public appeal for aid to be televised on Tuesday, according to the BBC.

The Red Cross ordered 10,000 body bags in preparation for recovery efforts, according to CNN. The American Red Cross activated family tracing services for those afraid that a family member may have been caught in the storm. 

"We don't have the full picture yet, but there is a lot of destruction, which means that next to a high number of deaths the possibility of wounds will be high," said Meinie Nicolai, president of Doctors Without Borders in Belgium, to CNN. "We worry about more deaths because of infection."

Doctors Without Borders called the disaster "unprecedented" in a statement by the group's emergency coordinator in the Philippines, Natasha Reyes.

Reyes said the organization would focus on the province of Leyte, the first to be hit by the storm, and would also prepare for the "huge" anticipated mental health needs of storm victims in the near future. 

Philippines President Benigno Aquino on Monday declared a nationwide state of calamity. His government has allocated $429 million to fund reconstruction in the aftermath of the storm, according to Bloomberg.

Authorities said that almost 9.7 million people have been affected by a storm that was three and a half times more powerful than Hurricane Katrina, according to some calculations. 

Here is a CNN video offering a look inside Typhoon Haiyan: 

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