The death toll for the Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan has been upped to 3,600 – a 1,200-person increase from Thursday – and 600,000 people have been displaced by the deadly storm, which struck last Friday, Nov. 8.
It’s believed that total number of deaths could triple. Original estimates feared there could be 10,000.
Relief efforts have been stepped up by various countries and agencies, while the United Nations says several parts of the Philippines are still waiting for aid (The London Evening Standard).
“In a situation like this, nothing is fast enough,” said Philippines’ Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. “The need is massive, the need is immediate, and you can’t reach everyone.”
Here in British Columbia, many people – some former Philippines residents, some of whom have relatives or know people in Tacloban and the rest of the heavily damaged areas – have been touched by the disaster.
“I cannot celebrate,” said Chilliwack resident Monique Baker, who finally reached her younger brother – who has fled the tattered city of Tacloban – two days after the typhoon hit.
“So many of my family are missing… I’m really terrified. I want to help them. I want to find all of them. I don’t know how to help.”
Cranbrook resident Lourdes Roxas-Butalid is from the town of Bogo (on the island of Cebu), which was completely wiped out by Typhoon Haiyan. The island’s northern area sustained damage equal or similar to Leyte and Tacloban, two cities that have been the focal point of international TV coverage.
“I only just talked to my mother Monday morning,” Roxas-Butalid told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman on Wedneaday. “There was no communication for days.
“It was so depressing to see. I was just there recently. I couldn’t sleep, worrying about friends, classmates, my family… I’ve read on Facebook how some of my friends are now homeless. One of my friend’s homes is just a skeleton. Another has had the roof torn off.”
Canada has announced a contribution of $5 million and has also launched the ‘Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund’, which will match donations by Canadians individuals.
On Thursday night, Surrey’s Flilpino-Canadian community hosted a relief benefit concert in the city’s Grand Taj Banquet Hall, jumpstarted by a $20,000 donation from local Indo-Canadian car dealer owner Sukhi Bath. There was also a silent auction and tickets for $30-per-person.
On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, American reporter Harry Smith was in Tacloban and said that while international aid has finally started to flow in, a vast number of resident are still waiting for either aid or a lift from the typhoon’s wake.
“Ordinary people like us, we can’t go to Manila,” said one woman, in the video below. “So we’re just suffering… from hunger.”