Thursday, July 31, 2014         

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Homes, lives lost to storm

The devastating Typhoon Haiyan injures and kills scores before heading to Vietnam

By Oliver Teves

Associated Press


MANILA » One of the strongest storms on record has killed more than 100 people and injured another 100 in the central Philippines as it wiped away buildings and leveled seaside homes before sweeping west toward Vietnam today, still packing destructive winds.

Capt. John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said he had received "reliable information" from his staff describing the death and destruction Typhoon Hai­yan wreaked in Tac­lo­ban city on Leyte island, where the storm made landfall Friday.

He said more than 100 bodies were lying in the streets and that another 100 people were injured.

He said civil aviation authorities in Tac­lo­ban, about 360 miles southwest of Manila, reported that the seaside airport terminal was "ruined" by storm surges.

Cabinet Secretary Rene Al­men­dras, a senior aide to President Benigno Aquino III, said Philippine troops were helping recover bodies.

U.S. Marine Col. Mike Wylie, who surveyed the damage in Tac­lo­ban prior to possible American assistance, said the runway was in bad shape, but military planes were still able to land with relief aid.

"The storm surge came in fairly high, and there is significant structural damage and trees blown over," he said. Wylie is a member of the U.S.-Philippines Military Assistance Group based in Manila.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that America stood ready to help.

Joseph de la Cruz, who hitched a ride on a military plane from Tac­lo­ban back to Manila, said he had counted at least 15 bodies.

"A lot of the dead were scattered," he said, adding that he walked for about eight hours to reach the Tac­lo­ban airport.

Nearly 800,000 people were forced to flee their homes, and damage was believed to be extensive. About 4 million people were affected by the typhoon, the national disaster agency said.

Relief workers said they were struggling to find ways to deliver food and other supplies, with roads blocked by landslides and fallen trees.

Weather officials said Hai­yan had sustained winds of 147 mph with gusts of 170 mph when it made landfall. By those measurements Hai­yan would be comparable to a strong Category 4 hurricane in the United States, nearly in the top category, a 5.

The typhoon's sustained winds weakened today as it blew farther away from the Philippines toward Vietnam.

Vietnamese authorities in four central provinces began evacuating more than 500,000 people from high-risk areas to government buildings, schools and other concrete structures.

The typhoon was forecast to make landfall Sunday between Danang and Quang Ngai and move up the northeast coast of Vietnam.

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