With scenes from an epidemic flinted movie manifesting, the Philippines death toll remains unknown as a typhoon hits. Witnesses were shocked as they looked around a ghost town to see lifeless citizens on the hunt for food and the necessities they need in order to survive the effects of the natural disaster.
As one of the most powerful natural disasters to ever hit man, with winds up to 200 mph, gusts of 275 km/p and waves reaching up to 15m, Typhoon Haiyan malformed streets into rivers and debris, stripped bare everything in its path down to the last branch and swept large ships ashore. Damages were similar to that of a Tsunami and even the concrete buildings of Tacloban have not been able to withstand the intensity of this typhoon. It has been reported that 3 meters of water travelled throughout the entire city and reached depths of 10 meters in some parts, with 70-80% of areas that were obstructing its advancement completely destroyed. President Benigno Aquino stated that although the country was not foreign to natural disasters, having suffered from an earthquake a month prior to this which had resulted in hundreds of people dead and placed in temporary homes, they were not prepared or equipped for a disaster on this scale. People had been warned but many stayed put due to their former presence during these occurrences. The government state that they are trying to address the needs of its people as quickly as possible and hope that everyone will pull together as effectively as is achievable at this current time.
The Philippines are now victim to: a frighteningly large risk of landslides, no power and all phone lines down making contact impossible, no clean water, no food and lost or dead family members and friends. Just how many homes have been destroyed and death tolls remain unknown, however hundreds have been buried in mass graves and survivors struggle to cope with their stories of loss. 151 deaths have been confirmed but there are almost 480,000 people displaced and fears soar that the death toll could reach 10,000 from the collapsing of buildings and drowning.
Hundreds lined up outside the airport in an attempt to get the first plane out of the Tacloban area. Bodies were scattered in fields and streets and men were seen dragging dead bodies towards help. People began looting in an attempt to find food and water and worries have surfaced as to whether reasoning will spiral completely out of control as a result of starvation. Doubts have also been expressed as to whether this starvation will result in the killings of fellow survivors as the remaining populance are described as ‘zombies’ walking around their shattered homes pillaging what is left.
The Philippines have been offered aid from the US, the European Commission, the UK and the UN. In spite of this it is a struggle to provide aid due to the magnitude of the destruction and the fact that helicopters are the only way in and out of the state at this time. In 2012 there were 905 natural catastrophes worldwide, 93% of which were weather-related disasters. As we near the end of 2013 and are reminded of the fatalities caused by natural disasters like that of the Philippines as death toll remains unknown and 4 million people are affected by its destruction, it is confirmed that people are never safe from the natural processes of the Earth and help must be provided by those who can.
By Melissa McDonald