EIGHT people have been crushed as thousands of Typhoon Haiyan survivors stormed a rice warehouse in Alangalang, Leyte, an increasingly desperate region of the Philippines. They were killed when a wall in the factory collapsed. Other looters managed to cart away 100,000 bags of rice from the government warehouse. The Philippines has declared a state of “national calamity” in the aftermath of the typhoon. Leyte and Samar, the two worst affected provinces, have suffered massive destruction, with more than 11 million people affected.

How many people were killed in the typhoon?

More than 10,000 people were said to have died. Philippine President Benigno Aquino has said it is more likely to be around 2,500, but a local congressman Martin Romualdez told the BBC that he believed the government was giving “conservative” estimates of the death toll “so as not to cause undue alarm”. He said 10,000 is “more probable”. A further 673,000 people have been left homeless, according to the UN. In Tacloban, the capital of Leyte, witnesses say nearly every building was destroyed or severely damaged when winds of 195mph and waves as high as 15m descended on the city. Survivors have been left without food, shelter and clean drinking water as rescue workers struggle to distribute aid.

What are the challenges?

Little aid is getting through to those who need it because of bad weather and damage to infrastructure. Several airports are out of action, bridges and sections of highways have collapsed, and many roads are clogged with the debris of ruined cars and buildings. Heavy thunderstorms hit Tacloban again on Tuesday adding to the misery of tens of thousands of people living in the wreckage of their homes. Many people are wounded but Philippine soldiers have reported a lack of medicine and anti-tetanus vaccines. Meanwhile, looting is rife in the city. Many ordinary people are scavenging for food and water to survive, but others are using the opportunity to steal televisions and refrigerators from the wreckage of shops.

What is the Philippine government doing?

The Philippine army has deployed armoured vehicles to Tacloban to deter looters. Soldiers are trying to keep areas secure while also distributing water and food. One of the first steps is to remove the dead bodies, which are strewn around the city. Time notes that the authorities will also need to keep sea salt out of the water supply and control any infectious disease outbreaks to make sure the death toll is not magnified.

How has the UK responded?

The UK has pledged £10m to provide assistance such as temporary shelter and access to clean water. It is also donating £600,000 worth of shelter materials and is sending in 12 medical staff. HMS Daring, the Royal Navy destroyer, is heading to the disaster zone from Singapore. It will take five days to arrive but will bring engineering and first aid expertise, as well as a Lynx helicopter. The Disasters Emergency Committee, which includes Save the Children, Oxfam and the British Red Cross, has appealed for donations to help provide food, clean water and shelter for survivors. The UK government said it would match donations to the appeal pound for pound up to £5m.

What are other countries doing to help?

Millions of dollars have been pledged from across the world. Japan is providing $10m and Australia $9m in humanitarian aid, while New Zealand has pledged over $1m. The US has launched a large-scale humanitarian plan, including the deployment of an aircraft carrier and navy ships and $25m in aid. The UN has launched an appeal for a further $301m to help relief efforts.

How long will it take?

British Red Cross was warned that the recovery is going to be a long operation. “We’re setting up for months and years,” said a spokeswoman. Witnesses have compared the disaster to the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, from which several countries are still recovering. ·
Source from http://www.theweek.co.uk

Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/56028/typhoon-haiyan-how-long-will-philippines-take-recover#ixzz2kb3X7QCP

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