In the wake of typhoon Yolanda
MANILA, Philippines - Days before Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, experts warn it was a category 5 - and is the most powerful to hit land ever recorded. Local officials braced for the storm, evacuating about 800,000 people. President Aquino addressed the nation the night before it hit. But despite the preparations, it left behind apocalyptic scenes.
When the monster winds left and the water receded, it became clear what the world’s strongest storm left behind. Typhoon Yolanda -- international name Haiyan -- was 3 and a half times more powerful than Katrina and cut through the Central Philippines on Friday, November 8.
For nearly 24 hours, no news came from the Visayas. The typhoon plunged entire provinces into darkness and cut communication lines, making it difficult to confirm how many died and how many are fighting to survive.
On Saturday, the situation from the ground started filtering in. Photos and video clips paint a picture of massive devastation. Homes along the typhoon’s path are reduced to rubble. Overturned cars and parts of buildings litter the streets next to bodies, some covered with blankets. In Eastern Samar, the towns of Giporlos and Guiuan are in ruins. With an estimated 95 percent of the towns damaged, there are no clear estimates of casualties or survivors.
MARK BIONG, MAYOR OF GIPORLOS, EASTERN SAMAR: I could definitely say 95-98% ng mga household, destroyed, literally destroyed and everything for our LGU to operate is destroyed.
DAVID SANTOS, REPORTER - SOLAR NEWS: Lahat ng daanan, nakakaharang na ‘yung mga puno, mga poste ng kuryente, walang nag-clearing, except for some towns. But Guiuan itself, total chaos. Walang sense of authority, walang gobyerno, sabi ng mga local officials dun sila rin biktima so di na rin nila matulungan mga ibang tao. Ang daming sugatan, patay, ang daming mga structure na gumuho, may mga lugar na hindi pa na-veverify na may patay rin. (All the roads are blocked by fallen trees and electric posts. There was no clearing operation except for some towns. But Guiuan itself, total chaos. There’s no sense of authority, no governments. Local officials say they are also victims so they can’t help other people. Many died and left wounded. Several structures collapsed. Some places have yet to be verified, there’s also some who died there.)
In the province of Leyte alone, provincial officials say they fear up to 10,000 people are killed. Many drowned from the massive storm surges that flooded the city. With no food and little water, survivors are pushed to their limits.
On the streets, it’s every man for himself. Dazed survivors dig under the debris, hunting for food among the bodies of the dead. This once-serene coastal city descends into anarchy. Mobs break into shops and homes, looting and fighting for supplies.
Government officials look just as dazed and confused as the residents. They don’t know where – or how – to begin. With some communication lines restored, survivors ask aid workers to pass on their messages: Tell our relatives we are alive. Tell the government we need help. - Rappler.com