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Shortage of daily necessities worsens chaos in Philippines

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Survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan at the coastal village of Capiz in the central Philippines carry sacks containing relief goods delivered via helicopter by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Nov. 11, 2013. GETTY IMAGES/ AFP PHOTO /Tara Yap.

Some Philippine cities like Cebu and Tacloban have been lacking daily necessities and thus seen looters in groceries or department stores, as Typhoon Haiyan made its landfall on Friday and brought tremendous damages there.

In the aftermath of the super storm, Tacloban had been completely cut off. Only a handful of survivors had been able to fly out, most have been left homeless and with no way to communicate with their family members.

A family reunion was seen at the airport terminal in the Cebu City, but the particular siblings didn’t come together to celebrate. They’ve chartered a helicopter to Tacloban City, which had been ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan, to search for their elderly parents.

Canadians who want to donate through the Red Cross can do so via redcross.ca and designate typhoon Haiyan. They can also donate $5 by texting redcross at 30333.

With food and water in scarce supply and aid only trickling in, many have turned to looting. Malls, groceries, and even appliance stores were stormed by hungry survivors just a day after the storm’s landfall.

“I heard looters have even killed seven of Robinson’s Malls’ security guards,” said Carmelita Cabigon, a survivor of typhoon Haiyan and a grocery owner in Cebu.

Carmelita says their family’s grocery store had also been ransacked, and that looters had held them at gunpoint.

“Later on, if they finish eating using all those things, because (there is) no more, they will kill us,” said Carmelita.

She said she feared the looters more than the typhoon, so she and her family decided it was time to leave town and never come back.

Volunteers in Cebu City have been packing relief goods around the clock, but the problem is how to pass all the aid to the hard-hit areas.

Many roads remain impassable days after the storm passed, but international aid has been pouring. The United States has just airlifted a planeload of aid to Tacloban.

Canadians needing urgent consular help following Typhoon Haiyan can email sos@international.gc.ca or call collect 613-996-8885.

The federal government has set up phone numbers for Canadians looking for information on relatives and friends who may have been caught in the affected areas. They are 1-800-387-3124 or 613-996-8885.