The storm surge of Typhoon Haiyan reached as high as houses’ roofs; few buildings could withstand the wind. Euronews managed to contact the mayor of the town of Coron in the Philippines, on the island of Busuanga. This was the last island the typhoon hit before it crashed ahead westwards. People there described the noise as terrifying.
The mayor said the counting of the dead and injured had only just begun, but that what was left of the airport was already back in use.
Clara Reyes, Mayor of Coron, population some 45,000, said: “We have no electricity, no water and our food supply can only last for six days. The problem is the municipality has no money to pay for the cargoes of relief goods, these are all commercial flights. Therefore, when we talk about relief goods of course they [the commercial flights? the companies?] don’t have any humanitarian consideration.”
The tourist town lay directly in Typhoon Haiyan’s path – a top destination for scuba divers, both for its coral and WWII shipwrecks. Around 900 kilometres west lies Vietnam.
“When the typhoon came, it was like you [were] behind a commercial jet that is ready to take off. That’s how it felt, what it sounded like. It lasted for three hours, and there was a lull of maybe two hours. I think that was the tail of the storm, and after two hours it started again,” Reyes said.
She conveyed the desperation of her distress call: “We are in urgent need of food, basically rice, drinking water; we need medicines like antibiotics, medicines for cough, fever; mosquito nets, blankets, clothes – because 85 percent of our people have lost their homes, including their belongings, so that they can rebuild their lives and they can have at least clothes [on] their backs.”
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