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Typhoon Haiyan: Hunger, Looting And Grief

Benjamin Li |
November 13, 2013 | 12:10 p.m. PST

Executive Producer


The post-typhoon Phillippine islands are being ravaged by hunger, lack of aid, and mounting desperation.

Survivors salvage for food, water, and medicine amidst wrecked homes and flooded roads, gathering at backed-up airports desperate for aid supplies or a flight out of the Phillipines.

The international aid pouring in from countries around the world is being hampered by logistical obstacles - debris and human remains littered on flooded streets pose huge difficulties for aid delivery in the aftermath of the typhoon.

"We have not been able to get into the remote areas," said Valerie Amos, chief of the United Nations' humanitarian efforts, "Because of the debris and the difficulties with logistics and so on, we have not been able to get in the level of supply that we would want to."


READ ALSO: Typhoon Haiyan: Countries Providing Aid For The Phillipines


In the areas where the typhoon caused the most damage, riots and widespread looting have broken out among refugees faced with a lack of aid.

Desperate typhoon refugees raided a government warehouse in Alangalang, causing a wall to collapse and crushing eight people to death in the process.

Orlan Calayag, the head of the state-run National Food Authority, reported 33,000 bags of rice have been looted from government stockpiles.

In Palo, Leyte, private warehouses owned by food and beverage companies have been broken into by hungry refugees as well.

Police are guarding warehouses and retail stores to prevent further looting.

In Tacloban, a city of 220,000 people, 90% of the coastal city's structures had been destroyed, but only 20% of residents are receiving aid, said city administrator Tecson John Lim.

After the warehouses had been cleaned out, refugees are now turning to houses to loot.

Some Tacloban have even taken to breaking open underground pipes, desperate for access to any source of water.

"The looting is not criminality. It is self-preservation," Lim reminded Reuters reporters.


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