Struggling to Cope — Haiyan’s Aftermath: Live Blog

Five days after the world’s strongest typhoon to date wreaked havoc across the Philippine archipelago, the extent of the damage wrought by Haiyan (known in the Philippines as Yolanda) is just starting to become known. TIME will continue to update this page with the latest information about ongoing relief efforts and stories from affected areas. Times given are U.S. Eastern time.

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NOEL CELIS / AFP / Getty Images

A young survivor rests on a pedicab surrounded by debris caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban in the eastern Philippine island of Leyte on Nov. 11, 2013

Nov. 12, 10:30 a.m.: Typhoon Haiyan, by the numbers:
Revised numbers are coming out of the Philippines, as officials receive reports from some of the more remote areas ravaged by the storm. On Tuesday, Philippines President Benigno Aquino told CNN that the oft-repeated estimate of 10,000 deaths is too high, and he expects the final death toll to be closer to 2,500. At this point, 1,774 people are confirmed dead, but estimates for those affected are enormous: 11.3 million people were affected by the storm; 2.5 million people need food aid; 800,000 people have been displaced, and the government said nearly 300,000 pregnant women or new mothers need food assistance.

So far, the U.N. has released $25 million in emergency funds, and launched an appeal for $300 million, according to the BBC. A U.S. Marine headquarters element has been on the ground helping coordinate relief efforts, and 100 more Marines arrived by aircraft from Okinawa, Japan this afternoon. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered the USS George Washington strike group and its 5,000 sailors to pull up anchor from a port call in Hong Kong and steam towards the Philippines. The ships are expected to arrive in about two days, according to Stars and Stripes.

Nov. 12, 8:00 a.m.: As night falls in the Philippines, here’s a summary of the latest developments from the aftermath of Supertyphoon Haiyan:

-According to UN estimates, some 11.3 million have been affected by the typhoon, including 673,000 who have been forced from their homes.
–The Philippine’s government has published an official list of casualties, which currently includes 1,744 deceased. The final death toll is expected to be over 10,000.
–President Benigno Aquino has declared a State of National Calamity in the Philippines. The two worst affected provinces are Leyte and Samar, where thousands of survivors are still waiting for aid efforts to reach them. With communications down in these areas, many Filipino’s are choosing to physically return home to look for loved ones, reports Per Liljas for TIME.
 –The UN has launched a $301million appeal to fund emergency relief efforts for the Philippines. The situation has been a logistical nightmare, with many of the survivors scattered across the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines, reports the BBC.
–The head of the Philippine’s delegation to the UN climate talks, Yeb Sano, said in Poland that he will stop eating until “meaningful” progress is made. “What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness, the climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness right here in Warsaw,” Sano told delegates. The Guardian has published an abridged version of his statement.

Nov. 12, 6:00 a.m.: Social-media users are being asked to help the U.N. find out more about the extent of damage by sorting through tweets and images for content that could be relevant to the typhoon. The website Tweet Clicker is calling on people to identify tweets that report requests for help, infrastructure damage or population displacement. Image Clicker, on the other hand, seeks people to tag pictures that show “mild” and “severe” damage. These snippets of information are then added to a disaster map, created by a task force associated with the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The map gives U.N. partners the situational awareness they need to coordinate important relief efforts on the ground. So, if you have a few seconds to spare, start clicking!

Nov. 12, 5:45 a.m.: A monument commemorating the arrival of Allied forces in 1944 has not been spared by Haiyan. The iconic Leyte Landing Memorial is located in Palo town, eastern Leyte province, and marks the spot where General Douglas MacArthur’s troops landed and launched an offensive that led to the expulsion of Japanese forces from the Philippine archipelago. Tacloban served as the interim seat of government for the Commonwealth administration during the early stages of the battle.

The Allied victory was seen as particularly sweet, since MacArthur and his forces had fled from Japanese forces in the archipelago in 1942.

Nov. 12, 4:35 a.m.: Filipinos with family and loved ones living in Burauen in typhoon-hit Leyte province are calling on the authorities for help and for the commencement of rescue operations in the town that many fear was devastated by the storm. The community was in the direct path of Supertyphoon Haiyan, and no word has reportedly come from the town’s residents in the five days since the storm made landfall.

People have taken to Twitter to voice their concerns for those Burauen residents, as social media continues to play an important role in coordinating relief missions in the wake of the natural disaster.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Burauen has approximately 50,000 inhabitants and is around 45 minutes from Tacloban.

Nov. 12, 4:00 a.m.: Five days after Supertyphoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, telecommunications companies are struggling restore their damaged networks.

Philippine social news network Rappler has commenced a crowdsourced campaign calling on readers to post the status of their cell-phone signals to a Google map in order to help assist telecommunications firms as they toil to reboot damaged networks.

Nov. 12, 3:20 a.m.: A number of inmates have escaped from a prison in storm-hit Tacloban city on Tuesday, according to a military official.

Army Brigadier General Virgilio Espineli told the Associated Press that guards fired rounds at the prisoners to try and prevent them from fleeing, but without success. It is not known how many of the estimated 600 prisoners escaped. Espineli questioned if the prisoners’ new freedom will actually improve their chance of survival in the devastated area.

“Where will they go? What will they eat?” asked Espineli.

The inmates appear to be the same prisoners who had earlier threatened to break out of the facility if they did not receive food or water, according to a CNN report.

Nov. 12, 2:35 a.m.: TIME’s Per Liljas files this poignant dispatch from Cebu, describing the anxieties of Filipinos traveling to storm-ravaged Leyte in search of loved ones.

Nov. 12, 2:20 a.m.: The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting that a 4.8-magnitude earthquake has hit the Philippine town of San Isidro, southeast of storm-struck Cebu.

Nov. 12, 1:45 a.m.: As supplies of food and water grow thin and desperation grows, reports of looting in areas cut down by Haiyan continue to surface. In Tacloban, looting continues despite the presence of police and military in the area and assurances from the government that the situation is under control.

“The local police officers, we have to understand, were also victims themselves. Some of them also have families who were affected. We don’t even know the casualty situation of our police force in the area,” Philippine National Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Reuben Sindac told a reporter with broadcaster ABS-CBN.

Police units were being deployed late on Monday to storm-struck areas, but some believe that order will not be restored until martial law is declared.

“That will be a call that our political leaders will have to make,” Sindac said. “As of now, we are performing our duties. It is a law-enforcement situation. Martial law will definitely change the environment.”

Nov. 12, 1:10 a.m.: The level of losses inflicted upon Filipino families around the world in Haiyan’s earth-shattering wake is grim. In a short news report posted by Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN, survivors in the disaster-struck towns in Leyte province share their somber accounts of death and survival along with pleas for aid.

In one heart-wrenching scene, a man calls out to a loved one living in the U.S. to let her know the tragic fate of their family: “Until today I haven’t found my father. There are six of them I still haven’t found. My child is now buried on that island over there. To the mother of my children in Virginia, I know you’ll see this. They’re gone. They’re dead.”

Watch the full video here.

Nov. 12, 12:10 a.m.: Inmates at a typhoon-damaged prison in Tacloban are threatening to escape if they don’t receive food and water soon. The warden has sent out for more supplies but is struggling to transport them back to the facility.

Nov. 12, 12:05 a.m.: The U.S. Navy will be sending more muscle to the Philippines after Marines landed in some of the worst-hit areas to deliver much needed supplies yesterday.

The aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington, which is currently docked in Hong Kong for a port visit, has been ordered to end its shore visit early and is sailing to the Philippines.

Two cruisers, one destroyer and a supply ship will rendezvous with the carrier to assist with the ongoing aid mission. According to a press release published by the Department of Defense, the ships and accompanying aircraft will provide “humanitarian assistance, supplies, and medical care in support of the ongoing efforts led by the government and military of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Nov. 12, 12:00 a.m.: The Philippine government’s official list of casualties is now online.

Nov. 11, 11:30 p.m.: Here are the latest facts and figures on the damage wrought by the typhoon compiled by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

Ocha Factoid

Nov. 11, 11:25 p.m.: Are you in Davao City? Your help is needed packing relief supplies via @govph

And if you’re looking to contribute to ongoing relief efforts, check out this NGO that is setting up a drive to send stuffed toys to traumatized kids post-Yolanda. Learn more @1000Bearhugs on Twitter

Nov. 11, 11:00 p.m.: As relief agencies work to assess how much physical damage has been caused by Haiyan, financial analysts have also begun crunching numbers to gauge the economic destruction left in the supertyphoon’s wake.

According to Bloomberg, experts estimate that the damage may amount to somewhere between $12 billion and $15 billion, or approximately 5% of the Philippine gross domestic product. To put these figures into context, Hurricane Sandy, which battered the U.S.’s northeastern coastline last year and brought much of New York City and New Jersey to a standstill, caused about $50 billion worth of damage, or less than 1% of the U.S.’s GDP.

Bloomberg spoke to Charles Watson, director of research and development at Kinetic Analysis Corp., who said that only 10% to 15% of the total losses in the Philippines are likely to be insured (compared with about half of the losses suffered during Hurricane Sandy). Such figures serve as a reminder of how better developed countries are able to absorb the losses caused by natural disasters, while losses in economic output and damage to infrastructure can set poorer countries back years.

Nov. 11, 12:00 pm: Some good news came Monday out of Tacloban, a city that was devastated by the Typhoon. A 21-year-old woman named Emily Ortega gave birth to a baby girl, named Bea Joy Sagales. The AP has Emily’s remarkable story. She was in an evacuation center when the storm surge hit and flooded the area. She swam and clung to a post through during the worst of the storm, but eventually made he way to the airport.

Military medics reportedly helped with the delivery, and the baby appears to be in good health. Ortega’s husband, who is in Manila, reportedly had not heard of the birth when the AP published the story.

Emily Ortega, 21, gives birth to baby girl Bea Joy, after being in labor for five hours at an improvised clinic at Tacloban Airport in Tacloban city, central Philippines.

Bullit Marquez / AP

Emily Ortega, 21, gives birth to baby girl Bea Joy, after being in labor for five hours at an improvised clinic at Tacloban Airport in Tacloban city, central Philippines.

Nov. 11, 9:30 a.m.: MaryAnn Zamora, an aid worker with the international non-profit World Vision, arrived in Tacloban Sunday night after traveling two hours by van and eight hours on foot. Survivors everywhere approach them, asking to send an SMS to their relatives outside of the Philippines to let them know they are alive.

“It’s normal to see people tired and hungry here,” Zamora reports, “but what struck me is when I saw one man sobbing, making use of his bag as his pillow and falling debris as his blanket. He sobs of out misery. ‘I’ve been everywhere to look for my two children, my wife and my  mother, but I can’t find them,’ he told me. He lives near the seawall and his house was washed out by the strong winds and heavy downpour of the typhoon.”

Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan

MaryAnn Zamora / World Vision

Filipino-Americans from Boston to L.A. have been holding mass, organizing charity walks and reaching deep into their pockets to help victims of the storm. In New York, the Philippine Consulate will play host to a comedy fundraiser to raise money for relief efforts on November 22.

But for some in the community there’s a worry about where fundraising money is going, reports the New York-based magazine for Filipino-Americans, FilAm. The FilAm has published a list of trusted organizations where people can send money to, including the Red Cross.

TIME also has a list, here, of international organizations assisting with the relief efforts.

Nov. 11, 6:45 a.m.: The Standby Task Force (SBTF), an online global volunteer community for live crisis mapping, has put out a call for more volunteers to sift through information to help responders on the ground dealing with the destruction from Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Typhoon Yolanda).

It’s open to “anyone with an internet connection” says the SBTF.  Details of how you can get involved are here.

Nov. 11, 6:20 a.m.: TIME’s Emily Rauhala spoke with UNICEF’s regional communication adviser Christopher de Bono about Haiyan’s destructive path across the archipelago, how people in disaster-struck areas are responding to the unfolding crisis, and what people can do to help aid ongoing relief missions. Here are edited excerpts from the interview:

On where the storm hit and how that’s affecting relief missions:

“If you look at the map of the Philippines you will see two big land masses, north and south. This storm hit [the] archipelago of small islands in between. It hit places that are less accessible than the rest of the country. Pretty much everything was wiped out in terms of airports, roads and telecommunication. This affects our ability, from major cities, to support people there.”

On how people on the ground are reacting:

According to de Bono’s colleague: “A whole lot of people [are] walking up and down the roads. They seemed to be going in different directions. They were walking because [there] was nothing else. They had the vacant stares that come from having your home ripped out from under you, and not having answers.”

On places outside of Tacloban devastated by the storm:

“We are hearing little bits that suggest Ormoc is every bit as bad as [Tacloban]. There is also Roxas City, Tanay Island. Northern part of the Palawan islands province.

One of the islands that was struck — Bohol [which was the] site of the earthquake [in mid-October]. People in tents now being thrashed again. The fact that Bohol was such a big disaster months ago is a problem. A lot of supplies were used on Bohol. We have not had a chance to restock.”

On the relief effort:

“They don’t need second-hand clothes, they don’t need people to flock in to help them. The skills are there, what’s needed is money. Of course we believe UNICEF is doing important work, but any major, reputable aid organization is fine.”

Nov. 11, 4:30 a.m.: Relief agencies are calling on Filipinos to utilize their Twitter accounts and assist with ongoing search-and-rescue efforts. Hashtags are vital to making the scheme work. Here’s a brief primer on how they work:


Nov. 11, 3:55 a.m.: According to ABS-CBN News reporter Nina Corpuz, the Department of Health has said that only one hospital is operational in Tacloban and Palo. Patients at Tacloban hospitals were reportedly sent home due to lack of power and supplies.

Nov. 11, 3:45 a.m.: As TIME’s Emily Rauhala points out, this Filipino climate negotiator warned us last year about rising global temperatures and violent typhoons and the world ignored him. Anyone willing to listen now?

Nov. 11, 3:30 a.m.: Authorities have declared a state of emergency in Tacloban and placed the city under a curfew to prevent looting after the area was devastated by Supertyphoon Haiyan over the weekend.

The curfew will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The declarations come as reports surfaced over the weekend that survivors had begun looting in a desperate attempt to secure supplies in the hard-hit province of Leyte.

According to a report in the Philippine Star, the state of emergency will allow for the release of calamity funds and allows officials to institute a freeze in order to prevent skyrocketing prices, which commonly commences as goods dry up in the wake of major natural disasters.

Nov. 11, 3:15 a.m.: While the people of Leyte province appear to have borne the brunt of Haiyan, food and water remain in very short supply in the neighboring province of Cebu as this report from news channel ANC shows. Watch, here.

Nov. 11, 2:40 a.m.: U.S. Marines arrive in Tacloban to assist in ongoing relief operations reports @IvanCNN

Airport in Tacloban now open for limited commercial operations, according to @ANCALERTS

Nov. 11, 2:15 a.m.: Amid the death and destruction in Haiyan’s wake, there is also new life. In hard-hit Tacloban city, a woman reportedly managed to give birth to a child this morning after being washed away by a wave generated by the storm’s powerful surges, according to a report in Inquirer News.

Emily Sagalis gave birth to her daughter Bea Joy after walking several kilometers and hitchhiking to the nearest shelter early on Monday. The whole ordeal came after her entire family, along with most of her community, was swept away by a storm surge.  The baby was named after Sagalis’ mother Beatriz, who has not been seen since the devastating storm.

“We are supposed to be celebrating today, but we are also mourning our dead,” said the child’s father Jobert.

According the doctor who helped deliver the child, Sagalis is still physically vulnerable after suffering from a bout of bleeding that might lead to infection due to the unsterile conditions at the ramshackle shelter where they are housed.

Nov. 11, 1:45 a.m.: Why is the Philippines the most storm-exposed country on earth? A brief explainer on just how bad the problem is.

Nov. 11, 1:20 a.m.: WATCH: Footage of the aftermath of Supertyphoon Haiyan in Tacloban


Nov. 11, 12:50 a.m.: Here’s a quick list of websites that provide useful tools to help track or report missing persons along with lists of the survivors, missing or injured victims who have been reported.

The Philippine government people locator

The Philippine Red Cross tracing form

Official list of casualties

List of survivors in Tacloban

Nov. 10, 11:50 p.m.: According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Philippine government estimates that approximately 9.5 million people have been affected by the supertyphoon, while about 620,000 have been displaced.

Nov. 10, 11:20 p.m.: With relief operations scrambling to address the needs of the tens of thousands of people affected by Haiyan, meteorologists say more bad news is on the horizon. State weather agency PAGASA has announced that tropical depression Zoraida is heading toward the Philippines and is expected to reach Tagbilaran City, in south central Philippines, by Wednesday morning local time and by Thursday will be 170 km west of Coron, Palawan, bringing more rain to areas already deluged by the supertyphoon. For up to date meteorological information go here.

Nov. 10, 10:41 p.m.: As many as 10,000 may have died in the Philippines and many of the hardest hit communities are without food, water, medicine, communications or power.  Those interested in donating directly to ongoing relief efforts should check out the site set up by the country’s Red Cross organization here.

The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has also set up a donation site here.

Those looking for relatives and loved ones, or those who have information about people caught up in Haiyan, should visit Google’s People Finder, where names can be posted.