TACLOBAN, Philippines (CBSNewYork/AP) — Dramatic rescues were under way Saturday in the Philippines, after the historic super Typhoon Haiyan left behind massive destruction.
And as CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, the danger was not over Saturday as the storm headed for Vietnam. And in the Philippines, the devastation was staggering.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that America “stands ready to help.”
The ferocious storm also triggered landslides and floods.
Filipino television showed the devastating aftermath of the islands hardest hit by Haiyan.
Between 300 and 400 bodies had been recovered in the aftermath of the typhoon, CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported. That number could increase dramatically.
Regional police chief Elmer Soria said he was briefed by Leyte provincial Gov. Dominic Petilla late Saturday and told there were about 10,000 deaths on the island, mostly by drowning and from collapsed buildings. The governor’s figure was based on reports from village officials in areas where Typhoon Haiyan slammed Friday.
Earlier, Capt. John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority, said he had received “reliable information” by radio from his staff that more than 100 bodies were lying in the streets of the city of Tacloban on hardest-hit Leyte Island. It was one of six islands that Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Friday.
Regional military commander Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda said that the casualty figure “probably will increase,” after viewing aerial photographs of the widespread devastation caused by the typhoon.
Mar Roxas, Philippines Interior Secretary struggled to find the words to describe the devastation.
“The devastation is, I don’t have the words for it. It’s really horrific. It’s a great human tragedy,’ Roxas said.
In the aftermath, people were seen weeping while retrieving bodies of loved ones inside buildings and on a street that was littered with fallen trees, roofing material and other building parts torn off in the typhoon’s fury. All that was left of one large building whose walls were smashed in were the skeletal remains of its rafters.
Joseph de la Cruz, who was attending a meeting in Tacloban when the typhoon struck and hitched a ride on a military plane back to Manila, said he had counted at least 15 bodies.
“A lot of the dead were scattered,” he said, adding that he walked for about eight hours to reach the Tacloban airport.
The Philippine television station GMA reported that its news team saw 11 bodies, including that of a child, washed ashore Friday and 20 more bodies at a pier in Tacloban hours after the typhoon ripped through the coastal city.
At least 20 more bodies were taken to a church in nearby Palo town that was used as an evacuation center but had to be abandoned when its roofs were blown away, the TV network reported. TV images showed howling winds peeling off tin roof sheets during heavy rain.
Ferocious winds felled large branches and snapped coconut trees. A man was shown carrying the body of his 6-year-old daughter who drowned, and another image showed vehicles piled up in debris.
And ABS-CBN television anchor Ted Failon, who was able to report only briefly Friday from Tacloban, said the storm surge was “like the tsunami in Japan.”
“This is the worst typhoon we’ve had. This is signal number 4,” added Celia Mangao. “It never happened to our country, this signal number 4.”
Mangao was among many Filipinos awaiting word from relatives, clinging to hope that they survived what meteorologists said could be one of the strongest storms in history with sustained winds near 150 mph.
“I Facebooked my brother, but I haven’t gotten a reply,” said Christine Villamayor.
Villamayo’s mother and brother live in the central region of the country. She was hoping they were among the 800,000 who fled their homes before the typhoon hit.
“I’ve been checking all day through my phone, at work, I haven’t heard anything,” she said.
Throughout the Little Manila neighborhood of Woodside, Queens, residents are keeping a close eye on the storm and are anxiously awaiting updates through social media from friends and relatives.
“We cannot reach [family] right now, I’m hoping that everybody is fine,” resident Gina Rekumba said. “What can we do? Just pray. Pray that everyone is going to be fine.”
Another woman who has relatives in the Philippines said she hasn’t been able to get in touch with her grandmother or aunt.
“It’s like Sandy here, the one that’s over there, so it’s really bad.” she told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “I’m concerned they’re not safe there. Hopefully, they are safe but right now, there is a whole bunch of people dying.”
In Bergenfield, N.J. residents feared what nature’s wrath could be doing to their Kababayans, or countrymen, in their homeland.
“I really don’t know what’s going on over there. Anything can happen right? The wrath of nature is something very powerful that nobody can expect,” Ray Grabato told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez
Grabato had gathered with friends and family on Saturday to figure out some way to raise money for those left suffering on the other side of the world.
“Locally we’re just trying to do what we can to help out. But, we still have no idea what’s really, how big is the devastation,” Rene Palma said.
For many in the Tri-State Area, the typhoon was a repeat of anxious nerves for their relatives far away. Just three weeks ago, more than 200 people died when an earthquake rocked the Philippine islands and families were just starting to rebuild.
“Those homes that they were trying to construct from the earthquake got destroyed again,” said Billy Francisco of Jersey City. “It’s really horrifying.”
CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez has family in the Philippines and confirmed that many people have been relying on social media for updates on the condition of friends and loved ones.
Workers said one of the biggest challenges this weekend would be getting help to those in the hardest-hit areas. So many of the roads have been blocked because of the landslides, downed trees and debris.
On Saturday morning, people in the Tri-State Area were already jumping into action to help typhoon victims. On Long Island, the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management was set to ship 40 pallets of ready-to-eat meals, and local Filipino agencies were collecting supplies.
One of those agencies was a shipping store in Queens, where care packages bound for the Philippines were piled high.
Also working to help with funds and relief supplies was St. Sebastian Parish in Woodside’s Little Manila, where JoAnn Dolan is principal.
“We will come together with the pastor, Monsignor Hartiman, to see what kind of outreach the parish is going to do,” she told WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs.
And in Stamford, Conn., Americares is also headed to the Philippines for relief efforts. Garret Angolia, who heads up emergency response for the organization, told WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau the aftermath of Hayian will be like no other.
“The government has prepared for this,” he said. “They said they took war-time preparations, so they have stockpiled food and other relief items.”
Angolia said a huge concern is medical supplies, which Americares is sending and will be able to fly into Manila. He said any contributions to Americares.org are very welcome and very much needed.
Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are the same thing. They are just called different names in different parts of the world.
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