Children wait hoping for a safe departure, the dead are counted, and appeals for aid echo around the globe. Tacloban has been flattened. So too has the will of many caught in the eye of this storm.
Hundreds of thousands have been left homeless. The personal stories emerging from the Philippines disaster are harrowing. Getting help and escaping the carnage it seems is a lottery. Anger is simmering.
“Look at my children, we have nothing to eat, no fresh clothes. Others who just arrived got into the plane. We did not die in the typhoon but we will die here of hunger,” said one father waiting at the airport. A mother explained, “We waited in line because there were a lot of dead bodies where we were staying. My children were starting to get sick because of the smell.”
For those not on the planes which are managing to leave Tacloban the future is uncertain with forecasters predicting no respite from the weather as a new system of heavy rain and winds head for the island nation.
Among the wreckage bodies are constantly being uncovered and the daily total of those who have died revised. One aid worker said two out of every five bodies she saw in Tacloban was that of a child.
The Philippines government has raised the official death toll from the typhoon to 1,744 people but the number is expected to be much higher with authorities estimating 10,000 or more across a vast region of the country. Officials say just under 2,500 have been injured.
One eye witness of the monster storm said: “It sounded like a pig being slaughtered.”
Creating order and bringing assistance to the ravaged archipelago is an urgent priority.