ST On The Ground

Typhoon Haiyan: Cebu airbase, a staging area for relief efforts

CEBU, Philippines - The Mactan Air Base in Cebu has emerged as a staging ground for emergency and relief operations for Typhoon Haiyan. Five days ago, the typhoon - one of the strongest tropical storms on record - devastated areas in the central Philippines.

The Straits Times’ journalist Raul Dancel and photographer Kevin Lim arrived at the airbase on Wednesday, where some survivors of the storm have gathered. Among them is Mr Walter Valdez, 33, from Tacloban city, who lost his wife and three children in the typhoon.The airbase is now a holding area of safety for those evacuated from their homes and is the main gateway for relief aid to the main disaster area of Tacloban. At least 580,000 people have been reported to have been displaced by this disaster.President Benigno Aquino told CNN on Wednesday that the toll was between 2,000 and 2,500, and not 10,000 as earlier reported.