Philippines - United Nations team arrive in Tacloban City and report scenes of absolute devastation in path of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

09 Nov 2013

(Manila) - A United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination Team (UNDAC) arrived this morning to Tacloban and found scenes of total devastation in the city where Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) first struck. The roads are impassable from the airport to the town and the only means of travelling is by helicopter.

Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, head of the UNDAC team reported this morning that there is an unprecedented level of destruction. "The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami," according to Rhodes Stampa. "This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumble weed and the streets are strewn with debris."

The UNDAC team arrived to prepare the ground work for an inter-agency humanitarian assessment. "There roads between the airport and the town are completely blocked and relief operations will be extremely difficult" he added.

The acting Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, Dr Julie Hall said "We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the Government and the people of the Philippines who have been affected by this devastating typhoon which appears to have caused significant damage across a large tract of the Visayas." She continued, "We are working very closely with the Government and are ready to respond in any way we can to this tragedy."

For further information:

Please call Orla Fagan, Public Information Officer, Philippines, +63 9166 364248, fagano@un.org

For more information about OCHA please see: http://ochaonline.un.org