Thursday, November 14, 2013

Panic spreads in typhoon-ravaged Philippines

In the northwest Pacific Ocean, Typhoon Haiyan...
Five days after Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the central Philippines, panic was spreading Wednesday and parched, hungry residents were resorting to increasingly desperate measures, including breaking into the homes of the dead.

Eight people were crushed to death when a huge crowd stormed a rice warehouse near Tacloban, one of the worst-hit cities, authorities said. More than 100,000 bags of rice were carted away in the melee, according to news reports Wednesday.

Elsewhere, residents dug up underground pipes and smashed them open to get water.

The official death toll stood at 2,275, but aid workers feared it would continue to grow. The United Nations estimates that more than 11 million people were affected by the storm, one of the most powerful ever to make landfall.

As concerns grew about rampant looting and lawlessness, Philippine security forces sent reinforcements and imposed a nighttime curfew in Tacloban. Armed assailants have been holding up aid convoys headed to the city. On Tuesday, troops killed two suspected communist rebels who attacked one such convoy, the military said.

Local officials said bands of looters, having cleaned out shops in Tacloban, were beginning to break into the homes of people who had died or fled the city. But there were reports that newly arrived troops were restoring order.

Flights delivering aid from around the world are arriving at the airport in Cebu, which has been turned into a logistics hub for the relief effort. The many donations included a field hospital from Belgium and a portable purification plant from Germany, according to European officials. Read more >>

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