The first reports out of the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan said that somewhere over 100 people had died. It was one of those statements that was obviously true but absurd to make with a storm this big. The problem was that the storm had also knocked out communications. Now that news reports are making it out, the picture is very ugly.
Haiyan raced across the eastern and central Philippines, inflicting serious damage to at least six of the archipelago’s more than 7,000 islands, with Leyte, neighboring Samar Island, and the northern part of Cebu appearing to take the hardest hits. It weakened as it crossed the South China Sea before approaching northern Vietnam, where it was forecast to hit land either late Sunday night or early Monday morning.
On Leyte, regional police chief Elmer Soria said the provincial governor had told him there were about 10,000 deaths there, primarily from drowning and collapsed buildings. Most of the deaths were in Tacloban, a city of about 200,000 that is the biggest on Leyte Island.
On Samar, Leo Dacaynos of the provincial disaster office said 300 people were confirmed dead in one town and another 2,000 were missing, while some towns have yet to be reached by rescuers. He pleaded for food and water and said power was out and there was no cellphone signal, making communication possible only by radio.
Reports from the other affected islands indicated dozens, perhaps hundreds more deaths.
The Foundation Beyond Belief has identified a relief organization already in place and with low overhead costs, Citizens Disaster Response Center. While the number of dead is mind-boggling, for every death there are hundreds without clean water, food, or shelter. If you can, donate here. All the money will go straight to Citizens Disaster Response Center.