Typhoon Haiyan victim delivers baby girl amid destruction

Typhoon Haiyan victim delivers baby girl amid destruction

Typhoon Haiyan victim delivers baby girl amid destruction




Posted on November 11, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 11:51 AM

(ABC NEWS) -- Amid the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan has heaped on the Philippines, there was a brief moment of elation after a woman gave birth today to a baby girl in Tacloban, a city in Leyte province that was crippled by the storm.

Cheers broke out as Emily Ortega, 21, delivered a healthy daughter named Bea Joy Sagales, according to The Associated Press. The birth gave residents and military medics who assisted in the airport delivery a much needed smile in a city where officials estimate thousands are dead.

Ortega was in an evacuation center Friday when Typhoon Haiyan roared ashore with sustained winds close to 200 mph, making it the most powerful storm in recorded history. The mother, according to the AP, had to swim and cling to a post to survive before she found safety at the airport and eventually gave birth in the control tower. Her husband in Manila was unaware of what has happened.

Bea Joy Sagales was named after Ortega's mother, who went missing in the storm Friday, the baby's aunt told ABC News.

Three days after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the region, survivors are wandering through the remains of their flattened home searching for loved ones, food, water and medicine.

The storm has affected 4.5 million people and displaced 478,000, The United Nations World Food Programme said, citing initial estimates.

With reports of increased looting in Tacloban, a state of emergency has now been declared and a curfew has been put in place.

A total of 1,563 bodies have been counted in 10 of 40 towns of Leyte province, including the city of Tacloban, The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said today, as search and retrieval for the missing and other victims continued.

In the Samar province, Gov. Stephen James Tan said the death toll is more than 400, with 2,000 missing.

Authorities estimated that the death toll could reach 10,000 as rescuers survey areas hardest hit by the storm. With power and communication out for millions, it could take days, if not weeks, before officials in the Philippines learn the full extent of the damage and causalities.

"In some cases the devastation has been total," Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras told the AP.

The devastation and twisted piles of debris hampered rescue efforts and the ability to get aid to people for most of the weekend.

Richard Gordon, head of the Red Cross in the Philippines, said resources are now reaching people.

"Slowly but surely we're getting in and we're also clearing the area of debris so that our people can go in. We're doing everything we can to get to the victims very, very fast," he told ABC News Radio.
Gordon said he's concerned about a tropical depression that could hit the Philippines some time this week.

A tropical depression east of Southern Mindanao has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility and was named Zoraida. While the winds are around 30 mph, this new storm could bring substantial rainfall to the region later this week.

"I just hope that the rains don't linger because if the ground is saturated then we'll have a problem with landslides," Gordon said. "We may have another problem with floods. And it's going to be hitting the same area."

Agencies from the United States and other governments are racing to help the victims of the devastating typhoon. A U.S. military plane carrying relief supplies and a contingent of Marines has left the Philippine capital Manila en route to Tacloban.

Two C-130 planes left Manila's Vilamor air base today loaded with bottled water, generators wrapped in plastic, a forklift and two trucks. It was the first U.S. relief flights to areas ravaged by the storm, where thousands are feared dead and tens of thousands more homeless as a result of Friday's typhoon.

Team Rubicon, a volunteer group of military veterans and first responders, is sending a 15-member team from California to the Philippines to help victims. Incident commander for Team Rubicon Vince Moffitt says they're focusing on the hard hit city of Tacloban.

"I think it's going to be one of the biggest, most tragic events we've witnesses so far," Moffitt told ABC News Radio. "Initial reports we received this is going to be a massive, massive destruction. Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of loss of lives. Complete catastrophic events."

Annette Lynn of Save the Children told the BBC they're working as quickly as possible to help the homeless.

"Quite a dire situation at the moment. ...They have no home, they have no assets and they have nothing on them at all. They need food, they need clean water, they need electricity," she said.

Meanwhile, the typhoon made landfall in northern Vietnam today after crossing the South China Sea. Authorities there evacuated hundreds of thousands of people, but there were no reports of significant damage or injuries.

It was downgraded to a tropical storm as it entered southern China later today, but weather officials forecast torrential rain in the coming 24 hours across southern China.

ABC News Radio and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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