10 November 2013, 23:16

Russia's Emergencies Ministry opens Philippines typhoon hotline

Russia's Emergencies Ministry opens Philippines typhoon hotline

The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations has opened a hotline, for citizens to learn details about the recent typhoon in the Philippines or share information about Russians who may have been in the area of the calamity.

The hotline number is 8-800-775-17-17.

Ministry of Emergency Situations representative, Irina Rossius, says that, according to data from her ministry and the Rosturism tourist agency, there may be from 110 to 150 Russians in the area, but no information is yet available about whether or not any of them have suffered harm.

Massive looting in worst-hit Philippine regions after typhoon; 10,000 feared killed

The first instances of looting were reported in the typhoon-ravaged archipelago country of Philippines in South Asia early on Sunday, with the majority of reports coming from Leyte province, where homes have been flattened by the record storm surge that accompanied Super Typhoon Haiyan.

In the province’s capital city of Tacloban, which has been hit the worst, residents could be seen scrambling through the debris in search of what little food remained in ruined shops.

On Sunday, a group of unknown looters overran a truck that had brought provisions to the storm-devastated area. The vehicle was reportedly shipped to the Philippines by sea and contained enough food to feed 5,000 families.

Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippines Red Cross, told reporters the police were impossible to reach and called on authorities to put an end to massive pillage.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Reuben Sindac vowed that police presence would be boosted in the Leyte province. They will both carry out search and rescue operations and reinstate order, he said.

About 500 police forces, including over 200 emergency response troops, were sent to the region on Sunday, with 300 more personnel on stand-by.

The PNP admitted however that local police and military forces in Leyte were unable to cope with the situation on their own.

As many as 10,000 people are feared to have died and many more have been made homeless in Tacloban, which lay in the path of the storm.

Dozens of Russians could be in typhoon-hit areas in Philippines – Russian Emergency Ministry

Up to 150 Russians could possibly have been staying in the Philippines when super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) devastated central parts of the country, Irina Rossius, official spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Emergencies, said on Sunday.

"Between 110 and 150 Russians might have been in the disaster area, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry and Federal Agency for Tourism. So far, it’s unclear whether any of them were injured," she said.

Earlier, the Reuters news agency reported, with reference to the Philippines' police, that the super typhoon had claimed at least 10,000 lives in the Leyte province.

Philippines super typhoon 'Haiyan' death toll at least 10,000

A minimum of 10,000 people have died in the central Philippine province of Leyte after Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, lashed the province, swallowing coastal towns, a senior police official said on Sunday.

About 70 to 80 percent of the area in the path of Haiyan in Leyte province was destroyed, said Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria.

"We had a meeting last night with the governor and the other officials. The governor said based on their estimate, 10,000 died," Soria told Reuters.

'Massive destruction' as typhoon kills at least 1,200 in Philippines - Red Cross

One of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall devastated the central Philippines, killing more than 1,000 people in one city alone and 200 in another province, the Red Cross estimated on Saturday, as reports of high casualties began to emerge.

A day after Typhoon Haiyan churned through the Philippine archipelago in a straight line from east to west, rescue teams struggled to reach far-flung regions, hampered by washed out roads, many choked with debris and fallen trees.

The death toll is expected to rise sharply from the fast-moving storm, whose circumference eclipsed the whole country and which late on Saturday was heading for Vietnam.

Among the hardest hit was coastal Tacloban in central Leyte province, where preliminary estimates suggest more than 1,000 people were killed, said Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross, as water surges rushed through the city.

"An estimated more than 1,000 bodies were seen floating in Tacloban as reported by our Red Cross teams," she told Reuters. "In Samar, about 200 deaths. Validation is ongoing."

She expected a more exact number to emerge after a more precise body count on the ground in those regions.

Witnesses said corpses covered in plastic were lying on the streets. Television footage shows cars piled atop each other.

"The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami," said Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, head of the U.N. Disaster Assessment Coordination Team sent to Tacloban, referring to the 2004 earthquake and tsunami.

"This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed and the streets are strewn with debris."

The category 5 "super typhoon" weakened to a category 4 on Saturday, though forecasters said it could strengthen again over the South China Sea en route to Vietnam.

Authorities in 15 provinces in Vietnam have started to call back boats and prepare for possible landslides. Nearly 300,000 people were moved to safer areas in two provinces alone, Da Nang and Quang Nam, according to the government's website.

The Philippines has yet to restore communications with officials in Tacloban, a city of about 220,000. A government official estimated at least 100 were killed and more than 100 wounded, but conceded the toll would likely rise sharply.

The national disaster agency has yet to confirm the toll as broken power poles, trees, bent tin roofs and splintered houses littered the streets of the city about 360 miles southeast of Manila.

-Strongest tropical typhoon Haiyan hits Philippines (PHOTO)

Voice of Russia, RIA, Reuters, AFP, RIA

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