PHILIPPINES - A super typhoon has wreaked havoc across many southern and central regions of the Philippines leaving around 12,000 people dead and thousands without access to food and clean water, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor,
Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) hit many areas throughout the Philippines on Friday 8 November. Strong winds of up to 275 kph and high waves have caused mass destruction and flooding throughout many of the low lying areas, destroying homes, power lines, infrastructure, agriculture and aquaculture/fisheries operations.
The worst hit area, Eastern Visayas, is the main agricultural heartland, with roughly 31 per cent of its total land area used for food production.
The Disasters Emergency Committee, which is organising aid to the country, estimated that the typhoon has affected around 4.3 million people.
The Philippines President, Benigno Aquino III, has declared the country in a "state of national calamity" and called for the speeding up of rehabilitation efforts and relief package distribution.
President Aquino ordered all departments and other concerned government agencies to implement and execute rescue, recovery, relief, and rehabilitation work in accordance with pertinent operational plans and directives.
Some P1.1 billion has also been added to the quick response funds of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In response to the lack of food, the Philippines National Food Authority (NFA) intensified its rice distribution efforts in the Visayas region which was badly damaged by the typhoon.
NFA administrator Orlan A. Calayag has instructed neighboring Regions to increase rice stocks and to secure remaining stocks in warehouses for immediate release to calamity victims especially in the worst-hit Tacloban.