Typhoon Haiyan: Philippine govt imposes curfew to curb looting

The Philippine government said on Tuesday it had deployed armoured vehicles, set up checkpoints and imposed a curfew to help end looting in a city devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Tacloban – on the central island of Leyte – bore the brunt of Friday's category-five storm with at least 10 000 people feared to have died there, according to the United Nations.

The devastated provincial capital – a city of 220 000 residents – has also seen some of the worst pillaging. Famished survivors desperate for food and medical supplies have also ransacked aid convoys, hampering relief efforts.

Survivors have reported gangs stealing consumer goods including televisions and washing machines from small businesses.

Interior secretary Mar Roxas said four Simba armoured personnel carriers had been deployed to contain looting and help restore law and order, a day after hundreds of Philippine soldiers and police were sent to the city.


"We are circulating them [the Simbas] in the city to show the people, especially those with bad intentions, that the authorities have returned," Roxas told DZMM radio.

Checkpoints have been set up to stop people from mobbing relief trucks, he said.

Super Typhoon Haiyan – one of the strongest storms on record – flattened buildings and knocked out electricity and water supplies as tsunami-like waves and brutal winds tore across large swathes of the of the archipelago, leaving survivors with virtually nothing.

'Homes were washed away'
Many resorted to looting, with a charity saying that a man with a machete had tried to rob aid workers who were receiving a delivery of medicine.

"The presence of policemen, military and government forces will definitely improve things [but] it will not be overnight," Roxas said, confirming reports that the Tacloban city government had imposed a curfew on residents of 10pm (1400 GMT) to 6am.

"It is a tool that we are using to minimise the looting and break-ins. We know some people cannot return home [during the curfew] because their homes were washed away but it is more effective against roving gangs who are looking for targets of opportunity," he said.

It is not clear where newly homeless residents are meant to go during the curfew.

Roxas added that the public works department had cleared at least one lane of a highway entering the city, which would speed up entry of supplies. It is hoped that incidences of looting will decrease as food relief flows in to the isolated area.

Roxas said the government's three main priorities were to restore peace and order, bring in relief goods and start retrieving dead bodies.

"Now that we have achieved number one and two, the priority is the recovery of the cadavers," he said. – AFP

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Related stories

‘Fake news’ fears as Covid-19 highlights the dangers of misinformation

Reliable news coverage is needed more than ever, but trust in the media is at an all-time low

Trial opens for Philippine journalist critical of Duterte

Ressa is out on bail and faces years in prison if convicted under the criminal cyber-libel law

Amnesty urges UN probe of ‘systematic’ Philippine drug war killings

The drug war is Duterte's signature initiative and is heavily supported by many Filipinos

Sri Lanka interviews 47 potential hangmen

47 male applicants would be interviewed on Wednesday and Thursday, after the government advertised the vacancies in February

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa freed on bail — court

Ressa posted bail after spending the night in detention at the National Bureau of Investigation

Duterte throttles online site

The Rappler news website is fighting a tide of disinformation and state-backed intimidation
Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Frank Chikane on the rainbow where colours never...

Reverend Frank Chikane has just completed six years as the chairperson of the Kagiso Trust. He speaks about corruption, his children’s views and how churches can be mobilised

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

More top stories

Covid-19 stems ‘white’ gold rush

The pandemic hit abalone farmers fast and hard. Prices have dropped and backers appear to be losing their appetite for investing in the delicacy

Al-Shabab’s terror in Mozambique

Amid reports of brutal, indiscriminate slaughter, civilians bear the brunt as villages are abandoned and the number of refugees nears half a million

South Africa’s cities opt for clean energy

Efforts to reduce carbon emissions will hinge on the transport sector

How designing ‘green’ buildings can help to combat the climate...

South Africa’s buildings account for 40% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. But the City of Johannesburg’s new draft green buildings policy aims to change that
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…