Everybody was expecting it to be bad, but it’s just so incredibly bad: of the most powerful storms ever recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines, a senior police official said on Sunday, as huge waves struck down poor villages and a developed city alike, destroying 70-80 percent of all buildings in their path.
But as the typhoon is drifting away, the worst is quite possibly yet to come – hunger and diseases may plague survivors, claiming a huge toll.
The waves, mixed with debris, came down so quickly and ferociously that it was almost like a tsunami, survivors report. Nearly 480,000 people were displaced and 4.5 million “affected” by the typhoon in 36 provinces, the national disaster agency said, as relief agencies try to help out the survivors.
The situation is amplified by the fact that a 7.2 magnitude quake struck central Bohol province last month, displacing many.
“From a helicopter, you can see the extent of devastation. From the shore and moving a kilometer inland, there are no structures standing. It was like a tsunami,” said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, who had been in Tacloban since before the typhoon struck the city.”I don’t know how to describe what I saw. It’s horrific.”
Typhoon Haiyan had speeds of 195 miles per hour (over 300 km/h), hitting the central part of the Philippines the hardest. At the moment, it’s still unclear how many lives were claimed, but sadly, the number will rise, as power, communications and water supplies are down and food is extremely scarce. Hopefully, a joint effort by Filipino authorities and international organizations will limit the casualties to the maximum.
“The rescue operation is ongoing. We expect a very high number of fatalities as well as injured,” Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said after visiting Tacloban on Saturday. “All systems, all vestiges of modern living – communications, power, water – all are down. Media is down, so there is no way to communicate with the people in a mass sort of way.”