8:11 pm | Friday, November 8th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines—The European Union on Friday expressed solidarity with the Filipino people as it vowed to provide humanitarian assistance to families affected by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan).
“The Philippines has been severely tested by nature on several occasions this year. As it confronts yet another natural calamity I express my solidarity with the Filipino people and my deep sympathy with those who have lost their loved ones or their livelihoods,” said EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux.
“An EU humanitarian aid team is already in the Philippines to assess the impact of the typhoon and find out how the EU can be most helpful to those most urgent need,” he said.
Yolanda smashed into coastal communities on the central island of Samar, about 600 kilometers southeast of Manila, before dawn on Friday with maximum sustained winds of about 315 kilometers an hour.
The government said three people had been confirmed killed and another man was missing after he fell off a gangplank in the central port of Cebu.
But the death toll was expected to rise, with authorities unable to immediately contact the worst affected areas and Yolanda only expected to leave the Philippines in the evening.
Communication lines with Guiuan remained cut off in the afternoon, and the civil defense office said it was unable to give an assessment of the damage there.
In Tacloban, a nearby city of more than 200,000 people, corrugated iron sheets were ripped off roofs and floated with the wind before crashing into buildings, according to video footage taken by a resident.
Flash floods also turned Tacloban’s streets into rivers.
More than 125,000 people in the most vulnerable areas had been moved to evacuation centres before Yolanda hit, according to the national disaster management council, and millions of others huddled in their homes.
Authorities said schools in the storm’s path were closed, ferry services suspended and flights cancelled. With Agence France-Presse
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