Typhoon Haiyan tore across the central Philippine islands on Friday, in what The New York Times described as "play[ing] a deadly form of hopscotch." That metaphor might feel oddly lighthearted given that the governor of the Tacloban estimates 10,000 deaths in his city alone.
"We had a meeting last night with the governor and the other officials," Elmer Soria, a police chief superintendent, told Reuters. "The governor said, based on their estimate, 10,000 died. The devastation is so big."
Local and international aid is mobilizing quickly, but the situation for many survivors is being described as perilous. Support and rescue are difficult not only because of lack of access to the areas hardest hit, but also because of mob rule. Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon described "mobsters" attacking trucks attempting to deliver food and tents on Tanauan bridge in Leyte.
“The city [Tacloban] is outlaw now—this is why we had to run,” Danish visitor Danny Larsen told the Los Angeles Times after escaping to Manila on a military plane. “Everything is being looted. Rotten apples can do now what they want. There is no law enforcement; [it’s] a free-for-all. Nobody feels safe, even the Filipinos. .... Hotels, everything—cash registers, even McDonalds—everything is looted. Anything that has any value. It’s like a movie.”