Deadly clashes rage in typhoon-ravaged Philippines as survivors fight for food
November 13, 2013
Driven to despair, survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines turned to looting in search for food, water and medicine amid reports of warehouses and shops attacked in the aftermath of one of the strongest storms ever recorded.
As essential supplies dwindled, tensions rose. Since the storm hit the islands five days ago, residents have broken into homes, shops and warehouses, where they have drained shelves of food, water and other vital goods.
In the latest incident, Philippines security forces exchanged fire with armed looters in the village of Abucay, part of the worst-hit Tacloban in Leyte province, local ANC television reported on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, eight people were crushed to death after thousands of typhoon survivors stormed a government rice warehouse. Police and soldiers were helpless when the looting took place, National Food Authority spokesman said. The looters in Alangalang municipality carted away over 100,000 sacks of rice.
Warehouses owned by food and drinks company Universal Robina Corp and drug company United Laboratories in the storm-hit town of Palo, along with a rice mill in Jaro, were also ransacked.
“We have restored order,” director of the Philippine National Police special action force, Carmelo Espina Valmoria, told AP. “There has been looting for the last three days, [but] the situation has stabilized.”
“The looting is not criminality. It is self-preservation,” Tacloban city administrator John Lim told Reuters. Tacloban, the principal city in Leyte province which has also become the main relief hub, currently lies in ruins, with communications and transport cut off in many areas.