With more than 10,000 feared dead in the Philippines after super Typhoon Hiayan devastated entire towns on the archipelago, desperate survivors were looting stores and raiding the dead on Sunday.
Two days after the storm made landfall, bringing with 170 mph wind gusts and tsunami-like waves, corpses hang from trees and scatter sidewalks.
In hard-hit Tacloban, the provincial capital with 220,000 people, gas stations and grocery stores were broken into. Villagers eat food found among debris and corpses.
Edward Gualberto, a father of four and member of the village council apologized to AFP for looking disheveled and for stealing from the dead. Many survivors resorted to aggressive tactics in the fight to survive, after police failed to return to work after the typhoon.
“I am a decent person. But if you have not eaten in three days, you do shameful things to survive,” Gualberto told AFP. “We have no food, we need water and other things to survive.”
He collected packs of spaghetti, detergent, soap, cans of beer, biscuits and candies.
“This typhoon has stripped us of our dignity… but I still have my family and I am thankful for that,” he said.
A pastry shop owner, Emma Bermejo, told AFP that “anarchy” reigns after the storm. There are mobs of looters that aren’t just looking for essentials.
“There is no security personnel, relief goods are too slow to arrive. People are dirty, hungry and thirsty. A few more days and they will begin to kill each other,” she said. “This is shameful. We have been hit by a catastrophe and now our businesses are gone. Looted. I can understand if they take our food and water, they can have it. But TV sets? Washing machines?”
Amid the chaos, men, women, and children wander through streets of overturned cars, broken power lines, and rotting corpses, the AFP reported.
A team of military cadaver collectors was overwhelmed by the work ahead of them.
“There are six trucks going around the city picking up the dead, but it’s not enough,” one driver said. “There are bodies everywhere, we do not have enough people to get to them.”
Haiyan’s storm surge reached 20 feet.
“The huge waves came again and again, flushing us out on the street and washing away our homes,” said 27-year-old Mirasol Saoyi. “My husband tied us together, but still we got separated among the debris. I saw many people drowning, screaming and going under… I haven’t found my husband.”