– Corpses rot everywhere as Philippine typhoon survivors beg for help (CBS News, Nov 12, 2013):
Bloated bodies lie in the streets, in front of houses, on bridges, in the water, wherever the giant wall of water happened to dump them when Typhoon Haiyan hit.
The desperate survivors scrounging for food amid the mountains of debris use cloth to shield their noses from the overpowering stench of rotting corpses. Some relatives have been trying to bury their dead, but in too many cases, there is no one to cart away the corpses littering the city of Tacloban, which was all but decimated by on one of the most powerful storms to ever make landfall.
“Those are dead people in front of our house and the smell is awful,” a woman told a reporter from
The typhoon struck Friday with 147-mph winds and a 20-foot fall of seawater. Authorities estimate the storm killed 10,000 or more people, but so far no one has been able to count all the bodies.And with shattered communications and transportation links, the final count was likely days away. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said “we pray” it does not surpass 10,000.
“I don’t believe there is a single structure that is not destroyed or severely damaged in some way – every single building, every single house,” U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy said after taking a helicopter flight over Tacloban, the largest city in Leyte province. He spoke on the tarmac at the airport, where two Marine C-130 cargo planes were parked, engines running, unloading supplies.
Authorities said at least 9.7 million people in 41 provinces were affected by the typhoon, known as Haiyan elsewhere in Asia but called Yolanda in the Philippines. It was likely the deadliest natural disaster to beset this poor Southeast Asian nation.
“Help. SOS. We need food,” read a message painted by a survivor in large letters on Tacloban’s port.
In the ravaged city, residents stripped malls, shops and homes of food, water and consumer goods. Officials said some of the looting smacked of desperation but in other cases people hauled away TVs, refrigerators, Christmas trees and even a treadmill. An Associated Press reporter said he saw about 400 special forces and soldiers patrolling downtown to guard against further chaos.
Kennedy said Philippine forces were handling security well and U.S. troops were “looking at how to open up roads and land planes and helicopters” in order to bring in shelter, water and other supplies.
Still, collapsed roads and bridges, and streets clogged with debris, have made it hard for relief workers to reach the survivors lining up for food, water and medicine,