Philippines Devastated by Typhoon Haiyan; State of National Calamity Declared

The official death toll in the Philippines as a result of the landfall of Super Typhoon Haiyan is currently at 1,774 people but is expected in increase significantly.

In Vietnam, 14 people have died; and five more people were reported dead in China as a result of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Thousands of survivors in all three countries have been injured by the typhoon, which swept through the area over this past weekend with sustained winds reported as high as 195 miles per hour and wind gusts as high as 235 miles per hour — both potential records for tropical cyclones. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, according to a report by CNN.

This Airbus A340-600 aircraft was sent to Manila by Lufthansa which contained 25 tons of supplies such as medical supplies, fleece blankets, plastic tarpaulins and tents. Photograph courtesy of Lufthansa. Click on the photograph to view the official statement pertaining to this specific relief mission by Lufthansa.

A state of national calamity has been declared by Benigno Aquino III, who is the president of the Philippines. 22 countries have pledged to assist in efforts to help approximately 2.5 million Filipinos affected by the typhoon.

Lufthansa has sent an Airbus A340-600 aircraft to Manila which contained 25 tons of supplies such as medical supplies, fleece blankets, plastic tarpaulins and tents.

Tacloban was one of the cities directly affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan, where dead bodies were either floating in water or laying under the sun amidst the rubble of buildings demolished by a storm surge described as “a wall of water.”

Tropical Depression Zoraida has worsened this situation, as it caused heavy rain to pour on areas already affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Greater than 2,400 passengers were stranded in major sea ports in Cebu alone due to Zoraida, according to the Sun.Star.

Some FlyerTalk members who have had plans to travel to the Philippines are asking about travel conditions. For example, FlyerTalk member Football Fan wants to know if the Radisson Blu Cebu hotel property has been affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan; while FlyerTalk member tillyholly was seeking an alternative to the Philippines for a scuba diving vacation.

FlyerTalk member Ericka was concerned about Amanpulo and Bopha, where the orphanage of her son is located. Fortunately, both areas appeared to have been spared the brunt of the storm for the most part.

“Manila really was unaffected”, posted FlyerTalk member RobertS975 in a discussion pertaining to the Manila Marriott hotel property. “The airport never had to close to international flights.”

In a completely different discussion, RobertS975 offers suggestions to Delta Air Lines on how to handle the disaster caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan — including waiving change and cancellation fees; offering discounted airfares to bereaved individuals and relief workers for last-minute flights; and to give priority to relief cargo shipments similar to the aforementioned relief effort by Lufthansa.

FlyerTalk member Musken posted the following: “Oh, I really want to cry when I see the pictures.”

I personally liked the suggestion posted by FlyerTalk member quitecontrary on how to help: “In addition to obviously donating cash to help those who have lost everything recover I suggest that those who are going to the Philippines in the next few months bring an extra suitcase or 2 packed with good used clothing and bedding etc. as these will be needed. I’m sure you never use up the maximum luggage allowance that your airline allows – I know BA allow up to 96kgs across 3 items when travelling long haul in Club or First – the only time I get near that amount is if I’m bringing charity donations somewhere.”

There are reports that the death toll could climb to as high as 10,000 fatalities — but I am hoping that it does not reach anywhere near that number; and I also hope that the Filipino people return to their normal routines as quickly as possible. When I first reported about Super Typhoon Haiyan heading towards the Philippines here at The Gate to caution fellow FlyerTalk members who planned on traveling to the Philippines during this past week, I was hoping that the expected forecasts of devastation and destruction would have been exaggerated.

If you have any further thoughts or suggestions about the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan and how to best assist them, please post them in the Comments section below. Thank you.

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