Rescue workers are struggling to reach towns and villages in the central Philippines following the assault of super typhoon Haiyan on the region. Preliminary reports estimate that at least 10,000 people are dead and more than 600,000 people displaced in the wake of the storm, with those numbers expected to rise as contact is re-established with more remote regions. According to the United Nations, some survivors are without food, water, and medicine, and relief operations are having trouble reaching them due to damaged roads, airports, and bridges.
Photo © NASA
Not only did the typhoon destroy 70-80% of the structures in its path, it also kicked up massive waves along the coast causing damage comparable to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The damage has been so widespread that the US has already begun sending military assistance to aid in relief efforts. Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there. In the city of Tacloban, witnesses have reported looters rampaging through the city, breaking open ATMs, attacking food trucks, and emptying stores.
The weakened storm hit Vietnam earlier today, where it has already been the reported cause of six deaths. Over 600,000 people have been evacuated already. It remains to be seen if the storm will have the same devastating impact on the Vietnamese people that it’s had on the Philippines. The winds are significantly weaker, but the heavy rains could still cause deadly mudslides and flooding as Haiyan sweeps across the Southeast Asian nation.
In the midst of the chaos, there is some hope. Many international relief agencies are already on the ground, working to provide those affected with food, water, and shelter. The Red Cross, AmeriCares, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and Wold Vision Inc. are just a few of the groups responding to the crisis right now. The typhoon is just the latest in a series of devastating natural disasters to hit the Philippines, so local emergency funds are dwindling. It’s now more important than ever that the international community step in to help with the recovery. If you’d like to do your part, you can donate to charities in the region online through this page set up by Global Impact.
Lead Photo © Japan Meteorological Agency and EUMETSAT