The final death toll count following the devastating Philippines Typhoon accounted to around 4000 people till now. However, rescue efforts are still highly unregulated and trying to recover from the shock of seeing mangled bodies lying uncollected everywhere. The primary priority at present is to evacuate the survivors from Central Philippines to safe locations. Eventually coming to action after a long delay, the international rescue teams finally set up makeshift medical facilities and arranged for the availability of supplies. The helicopters from an US aircraft carrier also ferried water and medicine to remote affected areas rummaged by the typhoon Haiyan.
Marixie Mercado, the spokesman for the UN Children’s fund described the agency’s deep concerns about the safety of the millions of children affected by the crisis while talking to journalists in Geneva. Another UN official complimented the various countries that came with voluntary aids in combating the aftereffect of the devastating typhoon. However, the spokesperson also clarified that the international response is not ‘overwhelming’ when the magnitude of the disaster comes into consideration. Jens Laerke from the UN department on coordinating humanitarian affairs also answered to reporters about the various steps taken by the international agency in combating the crisis.
Meanwhile, the fight for survival on the field continues far from the press conference room in Geneva. Military doctor Captain Victoriano Sambale has been attending to patients since the typhoon passed over Philippines. Working in a dingy makeshift medical center in Tacloban, he confirms that the help is stepping up. “We are beginning to receive international aid here,” he confirmed. “The first day we treated more than 600 patients. The second day surpassed 700. From the third day, we are not keeping count.”
President of Philippines Benigno Aquino has been at the receiving end of criticisms because of the slow pace of the relief efforts. In fact, the total extent of casualty is yet to uncover. Tacloban, the capital city of the hardest hit province of Leyte, is serving as the main center for distributing the relief aid. However, many remote areas still remain inaccessible. A notice board set up in the City Hall put the current figures at 4000, up from 2000 of the last day. These figures describe the casualties in the whole central Philippines. The toll is dependent on the calculations of government officials entrusted with burying bodies in mass graves. The Mayor of Tacloban said that many people may have been taken into the sea by a wall of seawater like a tsunami hit the coastal areas. A neighborhood with a population of around 12,000 does not show any signs of life anymore, he said.
Initial estimates had put the total toll to around 10,000 people. Elmer Soria, the regional police chief was quick to explain that the initial count was an ‘overstatement’ due to ‘emotional trauma.’ The Government soon relieved the chief from his responsibilities. Survivors are still reeling from the shock of the disaster, finding it hard to believe that they live to tell the tale. 27-years old Aiza Umpacan of San Jose said a lot of bodies are still lying everywhere on the streets and alleys. “The disaster relief operations were mainly on the highways, and were yet to enter the alleys,” he noted. The Red Cross puts in the estimated number of missing people to around 25,000.