HUNGRY survivors of a deadly typhoon in the Philippines have raided shops and warehouses after aid deliveries were delayed.
Officials monitored the desperate scenes in the aftermath of typhoon Bopha's onslaught in the isolated southern town of Cateel, a provincial official, Cedric Daep, said.
''The food aid took so long to arrive that the locals broke into whatever building was left standing in search of something to eat,'' said Daep, who was sent to the devastated south by the government to help rescue and relief operations.
The typhoon killed more than 500 people and left hundreds missing across the south. About 393,000 people are said to be living in evacuation centres or receiving some other form of government assistance.
Warehouses and grocery stores were broken into in Cateel, a coastal town near where the eye of the typhoon made landfall on Tuesday.
Officials said damage to roads and bridges by floods and landslides trapped 150,000 people for three days in Cateel and nearby towns Baganga and Boston. They said almost all buildings were flattened or unroofed.
A Philippine Navy vessel with 31 tonnes of emergency relief and 132 volunteer aid workers reached Baganga on Thursday, navy spokesman Omar Tonsay said .
There are claims climate change, deforestation, poor planning and other factors had worsened the catastrophe. Government officials said this week that storm patterns related to climate change had put communities unaccustomed to strong typhoons in Bopha's path. But they also said the destruction had been exacerbated by deforestation from illegal logging and small-scale mining, as well as poor planning and confusion created by unclear maps of vulnerable areas.
The Environment Secretary, Ramon Paje, said this week about 80 per cent of the illegal logging ''hot spots'' in the Philippines are in Compostela Valley, the province that sustained the worst flooding. The denuding of mountains was seen as a factor in the landslides and flooding.
Last December, more than 1200 people in the Philippines were killed by typhoon Washi, a powerful out-of-season storm that took an unusual southern track and surprised local officials, exposing thousands to flash floods. The government vowed to crack down on risks - such as illegal settlements in flood-prone areas - to avoid a repeat of the disaster.
A year later, Bopha took a similar southern track and sent landslides and flash floods barrelling through small, vulnerable communities where thousands of people remained at the height of the storm. The government, including the President, Benigno Aquino III, had issued repeated strong warnings urging residents to prepare, but some apparently had few options. Officials in New Bataan, in the hardest-hit area, reported some evacuation centres that were supposed to provide refuge had flooded during the storm.
AFP, The New York Times