TACLOBAN, Philippines – The UN launched an appeal for $301m Tuesday (November 12th) as US and British warships steamed toward typhoon-ravaged Philippines, where well over 10,000 people are feared dead, AFP reported.
Four days after Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed entire coastal communities with record winds and tsunami-like waves, the magnitude of the disaster continued to build with almost unimaginable horror with festering bodies littering streets, and fear of disease in the tropical heat.
"We are certainly expecting the worst. As we get more and more access we find the tragedy of more and more people killed in this typhoon," UN humanitarian operations director John Ging said.
The UN warned 10,000 people were feared dead in Tacloban, where 5m waves swept hundreds of metres inland, flattening nearly everything in their path. The UN also estimated nearly 10 million people were affected, while 660,000 lost their homes.
Security concerns grew as gangs taking advantage of a security vacuum looted homes and businesses. The government announced a night-time curfew for Tacloban and deployed special forces to prevent pillaging.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told reporters in Manila money was needed for "food, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and also for protection of the most vulnerable".
The US and Britain announced they were sending warships carrying thousands of sailors, with American carriers expected to arrive within two to three days. An advance team of dozens of US Marines arrived in Tacloban on Monday.
A UNICEF cargo plane carrying 60 tonnes of aid including shelters and medicine was expected to arrive Tuesday.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino declared a state of calamity late Monday, allowing the government to impose price controls and quickly release emergency funds.
"My appeal to you all is: remaining calm, praying, co-operating with and assisting one another, are the things that will help us to rise from this calamity," he said in a televised address.
Haiyan's sustained winds reached 315kph at Samar, making it the world's strongest typhoon this year and one of the most powerful ever recorded.
If the estimated death toll of more than 10,000 is correct, Haiyan would be the deadliest natural disaster ever recorded in the country. The official government death toll stands at 1,774, although authorities admit they have not accurately assessed bodies lying amid the rubble or swept out to sea.