Tacloban, Philippines (CNN) -- As the Philippines
faced a long, grim path to recovery in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the storm
plowed into northeastern Vietnam early Monday, packing powerful winds and
forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate.
authorities warned that the typhoon may have killed thousands there,
leaving behind a trail of devastation on a scale they'd never seen before.
No electricity. No food. No
water. Houses and buildings leveled. Bodies scattered on the streets. Hospitals
overrun with patients. Medical supplies running out.
And a death toll that could
The Philippine Red Cross
estimates that at least 1,200 people were killed by the storm, but that number
could grow as officials make their way to remote areas made nearly inaccessible
Others put the toll much higher:
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it's realistic to estimate
that 10,000 people may have died nationally.
The grim task of counting the
bodies was just beginning Monday as authorities sifted through the rubble of
what was left behind in hard-hit cities like Tacloban on the island of
Leyte. The official toll stood at 255 Monday, according to the
country's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
"I have not spoken to anyone who
has not lost someone, a relative close to them. We are looking for as many as we
can," Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez told CNN.
Interactive map of the storm
'This is really, really
Desperately needed aid was
making its way into the storm-ravaged city of Tacloban on
Monday. C-130 planes arrived, carrying food, water and supplies. Other planes
left -- some of them carrying body bags with storm victims.
A steady stream of typhoon
survivors arrived at Tacloban airport, looking for food, water and escape.
Magina Fernandez was among them.
She had lost her home and business. And she was desperate to leave on the next
She made an anguished plea for
Water levels reached the
'worse than hell'
Social media helping in
wake of typhoon
desperate for help
Typhoon Haiyan relief
"Get international help to come
here now -- not tomorrow, now," she said. "This is really, really like bad, bad,
worse than hell, worse than hell."
She directed some of her anger
at Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, who on Sunday toured some of the
areas hit hardest by the typhoon, including Tacloban.
Many of the people in the city,
population 200,000, are angry at the authorities' slow response to the
Aquino said there was a
breakdown, especially at the local government level.
"They are necessary first
responders, and too many of them were also affected and did not report for
work," he explained, saying that contributed to the slow delivery.
Aquino said the government will
coordinate with the local units and put more people to work.
In Tacloban, the search for food
and water led to increasingly desperate efforts.
Video showed people breaking
into grocery stores and cash machines in the city.
National police and the military
sent reinforcements to the city Sunday to prevent such thefts. And authorities
said they were sending several hundred additional security personnel into the
city to keep law and order.
Another dire scene played out in
the city's only functioning hospital. Doctors couldn't admit any more wounded
victims -- there wasn't enough room. Some of the injured lay in the hospital's
cramped hallways seeking treatment.
"We haven't anything left to
help people with," one of the doctors said. "We have to get supplies in
Complicating the search efforts
is the lack of electricity in many parts of the storm's path.
The northern part of Bogo, in
the central Philippines, suffered a blackout Sunday, and authorities said it will take months to restore power.
Crews search for
Romualdez, Tacloban's mayor,
told CNN that reports 10,000 people may have died in Leyte province were
"People here were convinced that
it looked like a tsunami," he said.
The International Committee of
the Red Cross said it is fairly realistic to estimate that 10,000 people may
have died nationally, because many areas are unreachable by organizations.
"In the western islands of
Philippines, for instance, no one can evaluate the casualties," said ICRC
spokesman David Pierre Marquet.
"It could effectively be a
number close to 10,000," Marquet told CNN. "But the notion that 10,000 people
are dead in Tacloban alone is not possible."
Aid groups struggle to
reach those suffering
The UN's World Food Programme is
setting up logistic pipelines to transport food and other relief items.
"The main challenges right now
are related to logistics," said WFP representative Praveen Agrawal, who returned
to Manila from the affected areas on Sunday. "Roads are blocked, airports are
Interactive map of the storm
WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher
said the U.N. group was gearing up its global resources to send enough food to
feed 120,000 people.
"These high-energy biscuits will
keep them alive," she said.
Luescher pleaded for financial
support from the international community and directed those wishing to donate to
"Those are families like you and
me, and they just need our help right now," she said.
Philippines gets more than its share of
Typhoon makes landfall
The massive losses in the
Philippines have put much of Vietnam on edge. Authorities evacuated around
600,000 people from vulnerable areas as the typhoon neared, the Vietnamese
government's official online newspaper VGP News reported.
Haiyan made landfall around 4
a.m. Monday (4 p.m. Sunday ET) with sustained winds of 120 kph (75 mph) and
gusts of 150 kph (93 mph). At least six people were initially reported to have
died as a result of the storm, according to VGP.
The storm had weakened by the
time it hit Vietnam, and it was downgraded to a tropical storm after making
landfall. But it's still expected to cause heavy rain and flooding in northern
Vietnam and southern China.
Tropical cyclones with sustained
surface winds of 74 mph or more are known as typhoons when they form west of the
international date line. East of the line, they're known as hurricanes.
Haiyan may be the strongest
tropical cyclone in recorded history, but meteorologists said it will take
further analysis to confirm whether it set a record.
The typhoon was 3.5 times more
forceful than Hurricane Katrina, which hit the United States 2005.
It wasn't the storm's 250-kph
(155-mph) gusts that caused most of the damage -- it was a mammoth storm surge
that reached up to 5 meters (16 feet) high.
"This disaster on such a scale
will probably have us working for the next year," said Sandra Bulling,
international communications officer for the aid agency CARE. "Fishermen have
lost their boats. Crops are devastated. This is really the basic income of many