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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/14/2013 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Estimates of a low death toll are misinformed.

Forget the optimistic reports suggesting the casualties in the Philippines are only a few thousand. New images suggest that what local authorities are saying is much more accurate. In the city of Tacloban alone, there could be 10,000 dead following Super-Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

Children suffer the most in disasters such as these and are wholly reliant on their parents-- who are themselves reliant on others for survival.

Children suffer the most in disasters such as these and are wholly reliant on their parents-- who are themselves reliant on others for survival.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/14/2013 (5 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Typhoon Haiyan, Yolanda, aftermath, pictures, destruction, bodies, dead, graphic


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Benigno Aquino III raised eyebrows yesterday when he said that the death toll could be lower than the original estimates of 10,000. He suggested the toll would be about 2,000 to 2,500. Images and reports from the ground suggest that he is woefully mistaken.

Leyte Province was the hardest hit, and in the cities of Tacloban, authorities say there could be 10,000 dead. More disconcerting is that two of every five dead are children.

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Typhoon Yolanda struck with sustained winds of 195 MPH and brought 20 foot surges ashore. Locals have compared the coastal devastation to a tsunami. Giant ships washed inland and now rest amongst the ruins of houses.

Although an estimated 800,000 people were evacuated, they were not safe from the ravages of what was categorized as a super-typhoon. The rain was so intense that it collected in rivers on hills and mountains and washed down into lower villages with full flash-flood force. Basements and other enclosed spaces filled with water, forcing people out of shelter for fear of drowning, and into swirling debris.

Aid workers are struggling to reach victims. So many people are displaced, so many homes are destroyed, and so much infrastructure is broken that workers cannot progress very far before they are overwhelmed with the severity of the crisis. Many people in remote locations remain entirely without aid.

The clock is ticking. As bodies pile up on streets, because there are so many dead, a frantic search for survivors continues amongst the rubble. Meanwhile, the people are hungry, sanitation and medicine are lacking, and all food must be delivered from the outside. But it remains difficult to feed literally millions of hungry people.

The world has pledged aid, but delivery is a problem. The U.S. Navy is sending an aircraft carrier and its attendant ships as well as the U.S. Marines with helicopters to aid in search and rescue missions and distribute aid.

Doctors have also been dispatched by various nations.

Amid this, reporters and photojournalists are moving about the ruins, capturing images of the devastation and the human experience amid a crisis that is very much ongoing. For now, the emphasis seems to be on seeking survivors, reuniting the lost, and gathering the dead for burial.

In a week, there will be little more on the minds of millions but simple survival. It cannot be assured that even with the promised aid, there will be enough to provide for the many victims of a devastation never before seen on Earth.

Ships rest where houses stood.

Ships rest where houses stood.


The storm washed ships inland, much like a tsunami.

The storm washed ships inland, much like a tsunami.


Before the storm.

Before the storm.


After.

After.


The devastation is more severe than most imagine.

The devastation is more severe than most imagine.


This destruction is part of what is making it difficult for aid to reach victims.

This destruction is part of what is making it difficult for aid to reach victims.


This isn

This isn't an uncommon sight. The ravages of Typhoon Yolanda extended for 500 miles, in a swathe across the islands.


People must forge their way through swollen streams as they search for food.

People must forge their way through swollen streams as they search for food.


Children take shelter wherever they can find a cozy space.

Children take shelter wherever they can find a cozy space.


A tearful mother transports her sick child. This woman was lucky, and was flown by helicopter to an

A tearful mother transports her sick child. This woman was lucky, and was flown by helicopter to an area where her child could be treated.


This man was not as lucky. He carried the body of his lifeless daughter to a collection point.

This man was not as lucky. He carried the body of his lifeless daughter to a collection point.


The Philippine Air Force is transporting what people it can. Here, a child on an IV is taken to an a

The Philippine Air Force is transporting what people it can. Here, a child on an IV is taken to an aircraft where she will be flown to safety.


Soldiers keep desperate people at bay. The aircraft cannot carry all the people who need to be evacu

Soldiers keep desperate people at bay. The aircraft cannot carry all the people who need to be evacuated. It's a blend of need and luck.


Victims stand for hours, hoping to receive even a little food aid and water.

Victims stand for hours, hoping to receive even a little food aid and water.


Despite being inundated, the water cannot be drunk, it is filled with raw sewage and bacteria--from

Despite being inundated, the water cannot be drunk, it is filled with raw sewage and bacteria--from the bloating, unrecovered corpses.


A child sets off in search of water for his family.

A child sets off in search of water for his family.


Kids still play, even amid the tragedy. But their fun is always short-lived.

Kids still play, even amid the tragedy. But their fun is always short-lived.


Children hold signs for photographers, hopeful the rest of the world will see their message.

Children hold signs for photographers, hopeful the rest of the world will see their message.


As many as 2 of every 5 dead is a child.

As many as 2 of every 5 dead is a child.


The stench of the dead is overpowering. Everyone wears a mask to help, but the smell cannot be avoid

The stench of the dead is overpowering. Everyone wears a mask to help, but the smell cannot be avoided.


Rescue workers recover bodies from the rubble.

Rescue workers recover bodies from the rubble.


A woman weeps next to the body of her son, killed during the storm.

A woman weeps next to the body of her son, killed during the storm.


The body of a man lies where he died. There are so many dead, many laid for days where they fell.

The body of a man lies where he died. There are so many dead, many laid for days where they fell.


In other places, locals set up makeshift collections points for bodies, covering them with what they

In other places, locals set up makeshift collections points for bodies, covering them with what they could find. This was a common sight.


Bodies are being aggregated in collection areas where they will either be returned to families or po

Bodies are being aggregated in collection areas where they will either be returned to families or possibly deposited into mass graves.


Recovery workers continue their grim work.

Recovery workers continue their grim work.


Bodies pile up in collection areas.

Bodies pile up in collection areas.


There are likely many more than 10,000 dead.

There are likely many more than 10,000 dead.



AFTER THE UNSPEAKABLE, WE SPEAK HOPE. Support Catholic Online's response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.  DONATE NOW...


---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



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