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Dire circumstances in Philippines escalate with need for relief

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 2:26 p.m. MDT

A woman cuddles her child at a makeshift shelter following the massive destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, central Philippines, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday leaving a wide swath of destruction and hundreds of people dead.  (Wally Santana, Associated Press) A woman cuddles her child at a makeshift shelter following the massive destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, central Philippines, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday leaving a wide swath of destruction and hundreds of people dead. (Wally Santana, Associated Press)

With an unknown death toll rising and accounts of terror from typhoon survivors pouring in, the world is putting the picture of Typhoon Haiyan together and rising to the pleas for relief.

“We are seeing a lot of dead throughout the province,” Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr., a spokesman for the Philippines armed forces, told the New York Times. “I have been in the service for 32 years, and I have been involved with a lot of calamities. I don’t have words to describe what our ground commanders are seeing in the field.”

Many survivors have described the tsunami-like characteristics of the storm, speculated to be the worst in Philippines' history, the New York Times reported.

According to the article, top relief official Valerie Amos was headed to the scene in the Philippines on Monday, and had already released $25 million from an emergency response fund with plans to call for more money upon arriving.

An aerial image taken from a Philippine Air Force helicopter shows the devastation of the first landfall by typhoon Haiyan, Monday Nov. 11, 2013  in Guiuan, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines. Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces had been affected by the Friday's disaster and at least 23,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed.   (Bullit Marquez, Associated Press) An aerial image taken from a Philippine Air Force helicopter shows the devastation of the first landfall by typhoon Haiyan, Monday Nov. 11, 2013 in Guiuan, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines. Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces had been affected by the Friday's disaster and at least 23,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed. (Bullit Marquez, Associated Press)

USA Today reported efforts from the United States in an article Monday.

"A contingent of 230 American service members, most of them Marines and sailors based in Japan, were on the ground to aid in rescue and recovery operations following Typhoon Haiyan, also called Yolanda," the article reported.

And the account of the country from all parties is devastating.

The Washington Post reported on an article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, indicating the psychological toll hunger and grief are taking on the victims of the storm.

"Some people are losing their minds. ... People are becoming violent. They are looting business establishments, the malls, just to find food. I'm afraid that in one week, people will be killing from hunger," a local schoolteacher, Andrew Pomeda, said.

Survivors look at a military C-130 plane which arrives at typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Stunned survivors of one of the most powerful typhoons ever to make landfall picked through the remains of their homes Monday and pleaded for food and medicine as the Philippines struggled to deal with what is likely its deadliest natural disaster.  (Aaron Favila, Associated Press) Survivors look at a military C-130 plane which arrives at typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Stunned survivors of one of the most powerful typhoons ever to make landfall picked through the remains of their homes Monday and pleaded for food and medicine as the Philippines struggled to deal with what is likely its deadliest natural disaster. (Aaron Favila, Associated Press)

The article reports that entire regions do not have food or water, and dead bodies are scattered in the streets.

"The latest Philippine government estimates suggest that 9.5 million people — about 10 percent of the country — have been affected, with more than 600,000 displaced from their homes," the Washington Post reports.

A full assessment of the damage is forthcoming, as many areas of the island are still cut off from relief.

Email: ebuchanan@deseretnews.com, Twitter: emmiliewhitlock

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