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Over four million hit by Philippines typhoon

By:  Tupaki Desk   |   10 Nov 2013 10:22 AM GMT
The Philippines government's disaster relief agency Sunday said at least 4.4 million people have become homeless in areas hit by super typhoon Haiyan.

Around 86,513 families or 403,503 people were housed in 1,425 evacuation centres, Xinhua cited the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as saying.

Haiyan, the most powerful typhoon in the country's history, engulfed many areas in Leyte, Samar, Visayas, Bicol and Mindanao regions.

"The sea water rose as high as 20 feet, causing hundreds of people to drown," said Leo Dacaynos of the Eastern Samar provincial disaster risk reduction council.

As of Sunday, many parts of eastern Visayas are still without electricity. Downed communication facilities caused problems in gathering information from Tacloban city and other affected areas in Leyte province, the official said.

Officials are relying on satellite phones and military radios to gather and convey information about the disaster.

The number of deaths from the wrath of the super typhoon continue to pile up as authorities exert to retrieve bodies in Tacloban city and other worse-hit areas. According to media reports, over 10,000 people were feared dead.

Earlier, Leo Dacaynos, chief of the Samar Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council, said they have already accounted for 300 people dead in Basey town alone, where 2,000 are missing.

Rey Balido, operations officer and spokesman of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said Tacloban city airport remains closed to commercial flights after the facility sustained damages.

"The only aircraft landing there, particularly in Tacloban, are military efforts. We are bringing relief goods (to Leyte) through other means like vessels of the Philippines Navy and Philippines Coast Guard," he said.

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas said authorities are clearing the roads in Tacloban to facilitate retrieval of bodies.

Manuel Roxas said homes made of light materials along the coast were destroyed "by the giant surge from the seashore, which came with high winds".

Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III flew to Tacloban city Sunday morning and was set to visit Roxas city in Capiz province later in the day to inspect the places hard hit by the super typhoon and to distribute relief goods to the affected residents.

The military has sent 100 soldiers to join police efforts in restoring peace and order in Tacloban as residents looted the Gaisano mall and stole cash from automated teller machines in the city, said Ramon Zagala, who heads the Philippines armed forces public affairs office.

Britain Sunday announced the provision of at least 414 million pesos ($9.58 million) to help the relief and rescue operations for the victims in disaster-hit Philippines areas.