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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/11/2013 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

At least 10,000 people feared dead in Tacloban

After Typhoon Haiyan slammed with great force into the Philippines, survivors in the coastal city of Tacloban - near where U.S. General Douglas MacArthur's force landed on October 20, 1944, in one of the biggest allied victories of World War II - are pulling themselves out of the wreckage to take account of what remains of their lives. It's feared that 10,000 people have been killed as a result of the super storm - in Tacloban alone.

Many survivors in Tacloban merely sit and stare, covering their faces with rags to keep out the smell of rotting corpses.

Many survivors in Tacloban merely sit and stare, covering their faces with rags to keep out the smell of rotting corpses.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/11/2013 (5 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Tacloban, Philippines, Typoon Haiyan, dead, survivors


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The destruction in Tacloban, home to 220,000 people and the coastal capital of Leyte province, about 360 miles southeast of Manila, appears complete. Not one building appears to have survived the calamity. 

Men, women and children are reportedly picking their way through the rubble. Many search for missing loved ones and belongings. Television footage of the area shows trees pulled up by their roots; countless ships have been washed ashore.

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A cross hangs loose from a church spire. Destroyed homes , wrecked cars, toppled power lines and snapped trees are everywhere.

Survivors here have lined up for handouts of rice and water. Many others merely sit and stare, covering their faces with rags to keep out the smell of rotting corpses.

"I can't think right now," one woman, eight months pregnant says. Eleven of her family members, which included two of her daughters, vanished in the storm. "I am overwhelmed."

People wait in mud and water at the airport after traveling three hours by foot from Tacloban City, hoping to be evacuated by military aircraft. Roads to and from the city are impassable, littered with debris and fallen trees. "We are trying to get to Cebu or Manila," one tourist says. "I must go out."

Only 110 people are allowed on each flight. The elderly, sick and children are given priority.

One medical student and local resident can't recognize her village. "Everything is gone. Our house is like a skeleton and we are running out of food and water. We are looking for food everywhere.

"Even the delivery vans were looted," she adds. "People are walking like zombies looking for food."

Lieutenant Colonel Fermin Carangan of the Philippine Air Force recalls how he and 41 officers struggled to survive huddled in their airport office as winds that approached 195 miles per hour with gusts of up to 235 miles per hour.

"Suddenly the sea water and the waves destroyed the walls and I saw my men being swept by waters one by one." Two drowned and five are missing.

He himself was swept away from the building and clung to a coconut tree with a seven-year-old boy.

"In the next five hours we were in the sea buffeted by wind and strong rain. It was so dark you couldn't see anything. I kept on talking to the boy and giving him a pep talk because the boy was telling me he was tired and he wanted to sleep."

He finally saw land and swam with the boy to a beach strewn with dead bodies. "I think the boy saved my life because I found strength so that he can survive."

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