- Volunteers in Tacloban in the Philippines arranged the bodies in bags
- A huge trench had been dug through a cemetery to contain them
- The vast majority of those buried had not been identified
- Corpses still lie decaying in the streets while workers rush to remove them before disease begins to spread
- Meanwhile aid efforts to more remote areas of the country intensified
Piled unceremoniously in an ugly trench, almost 400 bodies decay in the heat as they are arranged hastily in a mass grave.
The 393 corpses, most of which have not been identified, were piled four wide in tunnel excavated in a local cemetery in the storm-hit city.
Contained in little more than bin bags, the bodies show the scale of death visited upon the city by the unprecedented power of Typhoon Haiyan.
Stark: Almost 400 bodies lie in a hastily-constructed mass grave
Gruelling: Volunteers drag the corpses into place in storm-hit Tacloban
Anonymous: The vast majority of the bodies have not been identified
Fewer than 60 of those buried have been identified.
Officials in the city tallied deaths on a whiteboard, which stands at more than 4,000 in the country so far, topping a previous estimate that as few as 2,500 may have died.
Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez said many bodies would also have been swept out to sea and their bodies lost after a tsunami-like wall of seawater slammed into coastal areas.
One neighbourhood with a population of between 10,000 and 12,000 was now deserted, he added.
Elsewhere in the city corpses lay decaying in the streets. Quick burial is necessary to avoid the spread of disease, as cold storage areas and morgues in have been damaged.
Meanwhile, international aid is beginning to reach the most devastated areas of the country. Earlier in the day US Navy Seahawks swooped in to drop of food to desperate survivors.
The images below show one drop near the devastated town of Salcedo on the east coast of Samar island, part of increased efforts to reach far-flung regions.
Samar and neighbouring island Leyte took the brunt of the typhoon and suffered many of the more than 3,600 casualties announced so far.
Filipino typhoon victims rush to get relief goods from a U.S. Navy Sea Hawk helicopter in the super typhoon devastated town of Salcedo, Samar island province, Philippines
Anguish: A young Philippino child is in pain at Bogo General Hospital, The Philippines
Earlier an RAF plane carrying heavy duty vehicles and emergency medical supplies arrived in the Philippines as part of the UK’s emergency response to the disaster.
The huge C-17 transport plane touched down in Cebu province to deliver two JCB diggers, two Land Rovers and a forklift truck shortly after 8am GMT after leaving RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire yesterday morning.
The logistical equipment will help with the distribution of aid, clear debris left by the storm and with reconstruction work to help the millions of people who have been displaced.
The news of the huge response to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) appeal comes after the BBC announced its annual Children in Need fundraiser has raised a record £31 million for disadvantaged children and young adults in the UK.
Speaking on behalf of the 14 UK charities which make up the DEC, its chief executive Saleh Saeed said: ‘The generosity of the public is yet again surpassing all expectations.’
David Cameron also announced the Government is to give an extra £30 million in aid, bringing the total amount to £50 million.
Survivors gather at Tacloban to await transport to neighboring Cebu island province
Typhoon Haiyan which ripped through Philippines last weekend has been described as one of the most powerful typhoons ever to hit land, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless
Countries all over the world have pledged relief aid to help support those affected by the typhoon
Speaking at a press conference in Sri Lanka ahead of the Commonwealth summit, the Prime Minister said the scale of the disaster is ‘becoming clearer every day’.
A C-130 Hercules aircraft, described as the ‘work horse’ of the RAF fleet, will also be sent over to help carry aid workers to areas that have so far been difficult to reach.
And British Airways said it was offering aid agencies including Oxfam, Save the Children and Unicef an aircraft to fly emergency aid and supplies to the disaster zone.
The Boeing 747 freighter, which has a capacity for up to 120 tonnes of cargo, is scheduled to leave from Stansted Airport in Essex on Monday.
Typhoon Haiyan – said to be the strongest ever to make landfall – has made roads impassable and left airports out of action, severely hampering relief efforts.
Asif Ahmad, British ambassador to the Philippines, was at the airport to meet this morning’s delivery.
Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening, looks at emergency supplies
RAF ground crew load emergency supplies including JCB diggers and Land Rovers to an RAF C-17 transport plane at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire
A Royal Air Force 99 Sqn C-17 transport plane as it departs RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire
He said: ‘The significance of this load is that it is heavy machinery: bulldozers, Land Rovers, machines that can actually push through the debris that is blocking aid now.
‘This is vital equipment because the Philippine military and others have not been able to bring this material here.’
Five UK Government flights have now delivered aid packages and at least seven more are planned to leave. These have so far delivered 14,988 shelter kits, 17,369 tarpaulins, 11,230 hygiene kits, 5,925 jerry cans and nine 4x4s.
Mr Cameron said: ‘Today, I can announce we are providing another £30 million to support the UN and the Red Cross emergency appeals and we are also supplying an RAF C-130 Hercules aircraft to help ensure aid workers can move between the worst affected areas and get aid to those who need it.
‘A week after Typhoon Haiyan hit, the scale of the disaster is becoming clearer every day – over 3,600 dead, nearly 12 million affected.
The funding will be used to deliver vital supplies to more than 500,000 victims of the disaster and support UN and Red Cross teams working on the ground as they co-ordinate the international relief effort.
A 12-strong team of British doctors, surgeons and paramedics are already in the devastated Asian country helping to treat survivors of the typhoon.
Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious is also being sent to replace HMS Daring, which has already been deployed to the Philippines.
The latest death toll given by Mr Cameron is an increase of more than 1,000 on estimates made by the country’s civil defence agency earlier this week.
But some officials estimate that the final toll, when the missing are declared dead and remote regions are reached, will be more than 10,000.
Jane Cocking, of Oxfam, said: ‘Oxfam’s teams are already on the ground and delivering aid to some of the worst affected areas. But we urgently need to bring more supplies in and this British Airways flight will enable us to do just that, helping us to provide emergency supplies and shelter to thousands of people who are in desperate need.’
Robbie McIntyre, humanitarian officer at Save the Children, said: ‘This flight provides us with an invaluable opportunity to get vital water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to those in the most desperate need. We are sending equipment that will be able to provide over 310,000 litres of safe drinking water as well as equipment to support sanitary toilet facilities.
‘During disasters such as this it’s always a challenge to get equipment of this type into the areas of most need, so we are hugely grateful to British Airways for giving us space on this flight.’
HUNT GOES ON FOR BRIT FROM GRIMSBY CAUGHT UP IN TRAGEDY
A British man, his Filipino partner and their three-year-old daughter are missing in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Colin Bembridge, 61, from Grimsby, Maybelle Go, 35, and daughter Victoria were last seen on Tuesday. They had been visiting family in Tacloban.
A number of British nationals remain unaccounted for, Foreign Secretary William Hague said yesterday.
CRUISE PASSENGERS DONATE THOUSANDS TO APPEAL
Generous holidaymakers on British cruise ships have raised thousands of pounds for Filipino crew members who fear for their families, writes Walter Harris.
Collections were organised by the captains of Saga’s three ships during Remembrance Sunday services last weekend, and the money has been distributed among the 1,000 Filipino crew.
During one service on Saga’s ship Sapphire, Captain Alistair McLundie and chaplain Ken Newell included the Lord’s Prayer in Tagalog – a language spoken in the Philippines – and members of the Filipino choir held hands.
One passenger said : ‘Most of the crew came from the Philippines. Several were concerned at the lack of news about their families and one feared her brother was among the dead.
‘I found the Sapphire service remarkably moving.’
Captains on Cunard and P&O ships also held collections and the companies have made a joint donation of £62,000 to the Red Cross, while their American parent company, Carnival Corporation, has given $1 million (£620,000) to the relief effort.
All three companies have sent representatives to the Philippines to find the families of crew members.