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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Eight killed in stampede at rice warehouse as despair grips typhoon survivors

EIGHT people were crushed to death when thousands stormed a rice warehouse on an island devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

The victims were killed when a wall collapsed as looters carted away 100,000 sacks of rice from the warehouse on Leyte Island,

Since the storm, people have broken into homes, malls and garages, where they have stripped the shelves of food, water and other goods.

Authorities have struggled to stop the looting and there have been unconfirmed reports of armed gangs being involved.

 

DEVASTATED

Five days after one of the strongest tropical storms on record levelled tens of thousands of houses in the Philippines, relief operations were only starting to pick up pace, with two more airports reopening, allowing aid flights in.

But minimal food and water was reaching people in the devastated city of Tacloban, on Leyte island, which bore the brunt of the storm, and outlying regions due to a lack of trucks and blocked roads.

"There's a bit of a logjam to be absolutely honest getting stuff in here," said Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"You've had quite a lot of security coming in over the last couple of days, less so other things. So then it gets here and then we're going to have a real challenge with logistics in terms of getting things out of here, into town, out of town, into the other areas.

"The reason for that essentially is that there are no trucks, the roads are all closed."

Police were working to keep order across the ravaged wasteland as an 8pm to 5am curfew was imposed.

US Brig Gen Paul Kennedy said his troops would install equipment at Tacloban airport to allow planes to land at night.

"You are not just going to see Marines and a few planes and some helicopters," Kennedy added. "You will see the entire Pacific Command respond to this crisis." A Norwegian ship carrying supplies left from Manila, while an Australian air force transport plane took off from Canberra carrying a medical team. British and American navy vessels are also en route.

At least 580,000 people have been displaced by the disaster.

 

TSUNAMI

In some places, tsunami-like storm surges swept up 1km inland, causing more destruction and loss of life. Most of the death and destruction appears concentrated on the islands of Samar and Leyte.

Charity UNICEF said their main priority is getting essential medicines, nutrition supplies and safe water to survivors.

"Typhoon Haiyan has devastated the lives of children and families in the Philippines who now need urgent support," appealed Peter Power of UNICEF Ireland.

"We have a team ready to access children who have been affected, and a large delivery of humanitarian aid supplies for families affected by typhoon is due to arrive in the coming days."

Further information about how to donate is available at www.unicef.ie

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