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Devastation in Philippines

Aired November 11, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Anderson Cooper reporting live from Manila.

We, throughout this hour, are going to have extensive coverage of the disaster here in the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan causing untold devastation. At this point, we do not have an accurate death toll. There had been some estimates as many as 10,000 people may have been killed in Tacloban alone. Some government officials now are saying that may be an overestimate.

The bottom line is, there are no accurate figures at all. And anything else is just speculation. Right now, the immediate needs are for people in a number of places, not just Tacloban and Cebu, but a number of low-lying smaller villages and towns all throughout the southern islands in the Philippines, places where the government has not even been able to get to.

People are desperate of food and of water and many of medical care as well. The exact numbers, we don't know how many people have been wounded. The hospital in Tacloban has been overwhelmed over the last several days. The relief effort is starting to come into some sort of a focus, but bad weather moving in has put a question mark over the next couple hour what's going to take place and how much relief will actually be able to get in, in the wake of what is believed to be another tropical storm heading toward the Tacloban area.

The reason we are coming to you from the airport here in Manila, we had actually flown very close to Tacloban and planned to land, then were told that all flights at that point were being stopped because of the bad weather and we had to return back here.

We have a lot of coverage with our correspondents in Tacloban, in Cebu and all throughout the Philippines over the next hour. We want to give you as much information as we can about the needs of the people here and the needs are great. That cannot be overstated.

What we have seen over the last three to now four days, it is now Tuesday at 11:00, some of the most dramatic images we have seen in recent times. Here's a look at what the storm looked like as it came ashore.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER (voice-over): The terror of Super Typhoon Haiyan began with its winds, gusts reaching up to 235 miles an hour, well above the threshold of a Category 5 hurricane. All many can do is simply pray, as millions braced themselves against Haiyan's winds and punishing rain.

It's the storm surge, however, that would cut the biggest path of destruction, walls of water up to 20 feet high engulfing entire neighborhoods. The typhoon rages into the night. Dawn brings a strange calm after the storm and with it the first glimpse of the full wrath of Haiyan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get international help to come here now. Not tomorrow. Now. This is really, really, like, bad, bad, worse than hell.

COOPER: Worse than hell. Buildings are now mangled piles of wood and metal. Family members pick through debris in a desperate search for their loved ones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not spoken to anyone who hasn't lost someone, a relative or close to them.

COOPER: Officials fear up to 10,000 people dead. The exact number made difficult to determine not only because of the endless piles of debris that might hold bodies, but also because the Philippines is made up of thousands of hard-to-reach islands.

Many live in areas only accessible by boat or by air. Here, on Cebu Island, the injured are being rescued by military choppers. But many other islands are still completely on their own. One of the hardest-hit areas is here in Tacloban. A massive ship hurled far inland shows the raw power of the typhoon.

With thousands clamoring for food, water, and medical attention, authorities are forced to focus on the needs of the living before turning to those who didn't survive.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Three days on since the storm itself, there are still bodies by the side of the road. Now, we can't show you the faces of these bodies. It's just too graphic. You can still see the terror as the wave hit on the faces of these bodies.

COOPER: An estimated 620,000 people are homeless from the storm, the government simply overwhelmed and calling on the international community for help. The U.S. military has now taken control of the airport in Tacloban and is flying in badly needed supplies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is almost the end of the world. Our goal is, I must go out of this city.

COOPER: Days after what's likely the strongest storm in recorded history, its full impact just starting to be discovered.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: We saw Paula Hancocks in some of that piece. She has been doing remarkable reporting over the last three, now into the fourth day. She joins us now on the ground live in Tacloban.

What is the situation now today, this Tuesday, compared to what you have seen, say, yesterday?

HANCOCKS: Well, Anderson, yesterday, I was actually thinking that the relief effort was picking up pace.

The U.S. Marines arrived and there were more helicopters and more planes arriving. But this morning there has been very little, as you know, arriving here at the airport because of the bad weather. We have had some torrential rain here overnight in the early hours of the morning, hours of torrential rain, which is just horrific for those who don't have homes.

People are sleeping out in the open and many people still don't have food and water. So it is a very desperate situation. There is a bottleneck here at the airport, which does often happen in these situations. You can get the supplies to the airport itself, but to get it out to the people who need it are incredibly difficult.

And as I say, many residents and the victims are saying to me, please help, the world, we need food and water and please tell the local authorities they must move the bodies. It's a very difficult situation for them. The mayor says today they are digging mass graves to try and bury those who lost their lives; 244 people are known to have died in just this area alone, where there's 250,000 people living.

He says there are 600 more bodies they know about, but they have not had a chance to recover yet. And on average, they can only recover 70 bodies a day because it is just so difficult to get around -- Anderson.

COOPER: And people may be buried under many feet of debris because it was that storm surge which moved with it so much debris, so much wood, corrugated tin. People may just be buried underneath piles and piles of that.

And that, unless you have heavy earthmoving equipment, it's going to be very hard to get to those people. How are able people able to get most importantly water and food and medical attention if they need it?

HANCOCKS: The majority of people who need it and can walk and are not too injured to walk are coming here to the airport. They are walking for hours and hours through this devastation to get here. And the military is giving out rice and giving out water.

They are also trying to get to the areas in the city. It's only about 10 miles away, 15 kilometers, but it's very slow going and it's also the security situation, really. The people are desperate. They are very hungry. They need food. They need water and they are climbing up on the lorries as they're making their slow way downtown to give the aid out, because they desperately need the food and water. The police are involved now to try and settle the security situation.

But it is a desperate situation. And I have not heard many helicopters coming in today surely because of the weather. That is just adding insult to injury here.

COOPER: Yes. And we talked to Chad Myers in our 8:00 hour, who said really over the next six or seven hours that's when most of the rain is going to be coming through. Obviously, that just adds to the misery, as you said.

I know you were at the hospital a while ago. It seemed overwhelmed two days ago. Is it still pretty much the same?

HANCOCKS: Well, there's a makeshift hospital that we have been to actually here at the airport. It's basically one of the terminal buildings that was almost completely destroyed, but part of the roof is still intact.

They have had to convert that into a makeshift hospital. The first day I got here, which was just the day after the storm, they could only deal with cuts and bruises. One lady came with a severe gash to the head. There is very little they could have done, except just try and clean the wound and then try and evacuate people out. It's still fairly basic, but of course it's better than nothing.

The hospitals in town, a lot of the private hospitals have been closed down. The government hospital is still the only one that is open. But the Red Cross said to me that they just don't have the medication. They don't have the medicine they need. The pharmacies within town were looted, they were ransacked by people desperate to get what they needed. And the Red Cross themselves don't have what they need on the ground at the moment.

COOPER: We're going to talk to the head of the Red Cross in the Philippines just coming up a little bit later in this hour. Paula, I appreciate your reporting. You and your team stay safe.

So many images that have really just started to emerge from the height of the storm, some extraordinary pictures I want to show you. This is a man named James Reynolds, a storm chaser who in conjunction with some other storm chasers and a team of CNN personnel who were riding out the storm in the same area had to intervene to try to help people who were in very great danger from some of the floodwaters, some the storm surge that came in. Take a look at what they witnessed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any more in there, Josh?


COOPER: James, we're seeing the video that you shot of rescuing people outside your hotel along with the other storm chasers and some of the CNN staff who you were with. Take us back to that moment when you realize, I got to you know, put down the camera, I got to start helping people.

JAMES REYNOLDS, STORM CHASER: It was a really perilous situation, Anderson.

The storm had already been in full swing for about two hours at that point. The hotel is shaking from these thunderous gusts, massive pieces of debris crashing into the side of the hotel. And then the water came up with such alarming speed that it caught these people off guard and just the chilling sound of a woman screaming desperately as she was smashing a window with her hands just in this absolute situation to escape that room and get out with her family.

It also included their disabled daughter and elderly relatives as well. So along with the CNN crew and my colleagues Mark Thomas and Josh Morgerman, managed to get some mattresses out there as a flotation aid and managed to extricate these unfortunate people from that situation. But it was a 50/50 flip of the coin situation that could have ended in tragedy, Anderson.

COOPER: I think a lot of people don't realize unless you have been in one of these things, that in that water, it's not just the power of the water sweeping people away. It's all the stuff that is in the water, all the nails, the debris, the wood that can slice you open. It can kill you.

REYNOLDS: Yes, absolutely, Anderson.

And we experienced that effect firsthand with Mark, who was one of the first people to try to rush to the assistance of this family. He sustained a major leg injury. A piece of old rusty metal roofing was underwater and sliced through his shin right down to the bone, a very, very serious injury.

Thankfully, we managed to escape the city very quickly. If Mark was still there now, he would probably be dead. That's how the situation just escalated beyond our control really and it's was very alarming and disturbing. And then there's also the threat of electricity. I could feel the current of electricity through my legs from must have been some power lines in the street a few hundred meters away, but that was incredibly unnerving and also one of the risks associated with the rising floodwaters, Anderson.

COOPER: Wow. You could actually feel it. Even though it was that far away, you could feel it through your legs. That's incredible. You have covered an awful lot of storms. I think you have been in more than 30 typhoons and hurricanes. How does this one compare?

REYNOLDS: This is off the scale.

Meteorologists are saying this is possibly the most powerful storm to make landfall in recorded history. There's no set procedure when you are dealing with a storm this strong. We were fortunate enough to have access to a lot of data and have knowledge about what to expect before the storm. So we took as many precautions as possible to keep ourselves safe. But even then, the situation escalated out of control as the hotel was starting to flood and we had to get in there and help people out. It was really, really severe and totally just incomparable to anything I have been through before, Anderson.

COOPER: And even though the government -- there were evacuations of large numbers of people, a lot of people didn't expect that storm surge and I think that is what clearly caused so much damage and loss of life.

How were you able finally to get out? As you said, one of your colleagues was badly injured.

REYNOLDS: There were three of us, you know, in the team I was with. And every person, you know, it was vital that there were the more brains just trying to work out how the hell we were going to get out of there.

We were going to do reconnaissance where one was going to hike to the airport to see what the deal was with -- there. Luckily, we had radios so we could stay in communications with each other. And it was just picking up little tidbits from people we would speak to and trying to formulate a plan.

And we took a gamble. We walked to a military staging area, happened to speak to a person of influence who said there is a chopper coming. There's space on it. You can get on it and get to the airport and then from there we were on a C-130 to Cebu, a real piece of luck to be able to escape so fast.

COOPER: James Reynolds, I appreciate talking to you. I'm glad you and your team were able to get out. Thank you for sharing your footage with all of us. Thanks for what you did for people while you were there.

I want to bring in Richard Gordon, who is CEO and president of the Philippine's Red Cross. I talked to him earlier today about the relief efforts going on. He's chairman of the Red Cross. Let's listen in.


COOPER: Richard, in terms of the difficulties of getting aid to people in Tacloban right now, what is the hardest part for you?

RICHARD GORDON, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, PHILIPPINE RED CROSS: The heavy lifting of goods that are needed like a lot of food, water, filtration plants, trucks. It's heavy, heavy going. It's hard-going. And we're almost there.

But hopefully we will make it by today. We started two nights ago. Hopefully, we will be there. We came by land from Manila. And another group is out in the other province on its way there. And it will carry 25,000 food parcels for our people.

COOPER: I understand that one of your trucks with aid actually had to turn around because of security concerns. What happened?

GORDON: That's correct.

They were stopped on the bridge. The moment you stop right now, people are going to mill around. Any helicopter, any truck that stops or lands are going to be surrounded by people who are in need. That's why we have to have strong measures by the authorities to ensure that the humanitarian services and goods are delivered to the area. They would be very much needed and would be really great if they can move faster.

COOPER: How concerned are you about the rain that's coming today just adding to people's misery there?

GORDON: We're very concerned because the land may be saturated with water and you may have landslides or flash floods. I'm not very much concerned about storm surges, but nonetheless you make a very good point about storm surges, because they have to understand what it is all about. It's not -- it's like a mini-tsunami.

But we're not worried about that at the moment, but we need to know that any typhoon could turn for the worse and have landslides or floods. We are very concerned about that. In fact, I'm trying to find out whether we can still go through in spite of that typhoon.

COOPER: And, Richard, in terms of people wanting to donate and wanting to help, what kind of things does the Red Cross need most? It is just -- is it simply a matter of money?

GORDON: Well, it's easier if it's money. But, you know, if they want to donate, we will take it in kind. But there is always, you know, the sorting it out and bringing it over there.

It could be better off bringing it in Cebu. We have a Red Cross warehouse there in Cebu. But if they could donate in fund generation,, it would a very good Web site to do so.

COOPER: Richard Gordon, I know you're busy. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. We will no doubt check in with you throughout the coming days.

We want to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to talk to the mayor of Tacloban to find out the situation on the ground as it right now as this new storm approaches. We will be right back.


COOPER: Our coverage of the disaster here in the Philippines, what Typhoon Haiyan has left behind.

You are looking at pictures from Tacloban, one of the hardest-hit cities, a city of 220,000 people. We have seen images like this before of course in Japan after the tsunami and Sri Lanka and Banda Aceh after the tsunami there. But every time, the horror is fresh, the images hard to imagine and hard to kind of adjust your eye to. It takes a while to really understand what you are looking at, just the block after block of devastation and that storm surge which carried with it so much debris, so much wood, corrugated tin from people's homes.

So much of it has just piled up on the streets, which makes distributing aid, getting aid, getting -- even walking down roads extremely difficult. The number of fatalities, we don't yet know. The focus right now is on the living and meeting their immediate needs, food and water foremost among them, and trying to get medical care to those who have been injured by some of the debris that was in that floodwater and by some of the collapsing buildings.

I want to talk to the mayor of Tacloban, who we spoke to in our previous hour. He actually survived by having to climb on to his roof. This is my conversation with Mayor Alfred Romualdez.


COOPER: Mr. Mayor, from everything I have heard, you are very lucky to be alive. I understand you at one point had to punch holes and climb on to the roof of your house. What happened?

ALFRED ROMUALDEZ, MAYOR OF TACLOBAN, PHILIPPINES: Oh, actually, it wasn't the house. It was beside my house.

There was a big ballroom. And the ceiling was about 20 feet high. And the next thing we knew, that we were just -- when the waves came in, it just brought us up. And we had no choice but to punch a hole in the ceiling and hide between the ceiling and the roof, and the waves were breaking in the roof.

And the place was a resort, and it's like a ballroom. So, it's a huge roof and a tall roof. And the waves just came so fast. But worse than that was the wind. The wind was just so strong that the visibility was about 10, 15 feet, just no way you could even look, because it was so strong it would practically pull out your eyes. It was the first time we have ever experienced that. And you couldn't see anything. And it was just howling with wind.

COOPER: In terms of how your city is right now, there have been estimates of different death tolls. Explain. Do you have any sense of fatalities in your city and people who are wounded? Do you have any numbers?

ROMUALDEZ: Well, the numbers that we have seen, physically that we have retrieved is about 250 bodies already.

But we can now only search more with some smell, you know, with the smell that, you know, because a lot of bodies were mixed up with all the rubble and all the debris. And we're getting reports also of some houses that were buried, and we see some bodies floating. And these are the things that we are trying to -- these are the stuff that we are trying to do to retrieve right now.

But accessibility is still a problem in some of our small communities, because all the debris is just scattered all over. And it is very difficult to get into these places. COOPER: What are the greatest needs of people there in Tacloban right now? Food? Water? Shelter?

ROMUALDEZ: Yes, food, water, and shelter are the greatest needs right now.

We were paralyzed here in the city government, and only about -- out of 300 policemen, only less than 30 were able to make it, showed up. And many are missing. Even our crew in the city government, we are 1,300 strong, and only less than 100 reported, because everything is damaged, even all the vehicles. That's why it paralyzed us. And we could hardly move.

And it was all by foot and it was all through volunteers that we were able to recover many bodies and we are able to do many rescue.


COOPER: That's the mayor of Tacloban.

When we come back -- we have to take a short break, but when we come back, coverage from the Philippines continues. We are going to meet a storm chaser who actually rode out the storm in Tacloban by hiding at one point inside a swimming pool. We will explain why ahead.


COOPER: It often takes several days, even weeks sometimes after a storm of this magnitude in order to see some of the images of what this storm actually looked like from those who were able to live through -- through it and ride it out. Earlier today, I spoke to Jim Edds, a storm chaser who at one point had to actually jump into a swimming pool in order to get out of the wind. And he felt the swimming pool was actually the safest spot to be in. Of all the many storms he's covered, he said he's never seen anything like Typhoon Haiyan. Here's my conversation with Jim.


COOPER: Jim, you have been through a lot of storms. How did this compare?

JIM EDDS, STORM CHASER: Well, this was at the top. Strongest wind, incredible storm surge, and it just really devastated the entire area.

COOPER: Did you expect the storm surge? Because I know a lot of people in Tacloban were caught by surprise.

EDDS: Well, the last report I had said 195-mile-an-hour wind. I knew it was coming. There's a lot of low-lying areas. And, yes, I knew exactly what was coming. They didn't. But I sure did.

COOPER: You rode out part of the storm in the swimming pool. Explain that. EDDS: Well, the Leyte Park Resort where I was, it's elevated 15 feet above the sea level. So there wasn't a storm surge problem. But we were up higher, and we had a clean fetch (ph) of wind off the water. So it was full-on wind. Everything it had blew through there.

A lot of times, as the storm's ramping up, you can move around and get some shots. And that was my plan, to shoot some -- some video of the wind going through palm trees and around the villas out back. And I was out there lining up shots, and was over there by the pool. I noticed the water at the pool was just blowing, hitting the edge of the pool and going up and over. And I was trying to frame up a shot when there were bigger gusts coming in. And I said, "Whoa, this is too big." I didn't have time to go sneak around the villa and seek shelter. So I just jumped in the pool, because I had -- you know, I was safer in the pool underwater, holding up my camera filming than I was trying to get back to the villa.

It's the first storm where it felt like the winds came in so fast you haven't have time to work it. So I'm quite comfortable in the water. I've been in a SCUBA diver, swim team swimmer. And so, you know, that was -- that to me was safe.

COOPER: You also shot video of people, one man on crutches trying to get through the water. I mean -- how -- did the people you saw, did they seem prepared?

EDDS: I don't think they knew what was coming, Anderson. They -- they get typhoons in the Philippines all the time. But my estimation is they say OK, another typhoon. OK. It's the same drill, whether it's a one or a five. They go to their usual place and get their provisions, and they ride it out.

They've never, ever seen that kind of storm surge come in, or else they would have been elsewhere. They didn't know what beast was coming into town. They just -- they just weren't prepared for that.

COOPER: I know over the weekend you called the relief effort shameful. How do you think they're going now?

EDDS: Well, Anderson, to be -- to be honest, this story gets sadder by the hour. The international community needs to turn loose every asset they have and get in there and help save people's lives. Because that's the most important thing right now.

Look, I was lucky to get out of the airport. I was severely dehydrated. I was one of the lucky. I got out on a C-130 over to Cebu (ph) where I have an Internet connection, to get the story out. People have wounds and are getting infections. Severe dehydration.

I was getting to -- getting to where I was losing my mind. I wasn't thinking clearly. The people at the airport, they were severely dehydrated. And all they wanted to do is get out of there. And it was difficult. It was just desperate. And that was three days ago. So I can't imagine what it's like now. It's just -- like I say, this story gets sadder by the hour.

COOPER: And the hospital there, clearly overwhelmed.

EDDS: Yes, one of the hardest things was you can't get around in the city. I spent all day and half the next day just covering an area where I'm going over fallen concrete poles, wires, debris, nails. It's tough getting around there. There's a lot of people that are hurt there. And if you can get to the hospital, that's going to be -- that was a long hike from where I was. So -- so I don't know.

They just -- they've to get the heavy equipment in there and clear these roads, these main arteries going into the city and then have check points where they can get aid out. But until they clear these roads with the heavy equipment, it's just -- nothing's going to change.

COOPER: And that is still a huge issue. Jim, I'm glad you made it and glad you made it out. And I appreciate you showing your video to the world. Thank you.

EDDS: Thanks for having me.


COOPER: Want to quickly check in with Isha Sesay, who's got a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, on this Veterans Day, President Obama placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and pledged that Americans will never forget the sacrifices made by those who served in the nation's military.

He paid special tribute to Richard Overton. At 107, he's the oldest known living veteran of World War II. He survived Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima and Okinawa.

Secretary of State John Kerry says negotiations to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions should not be rushed. His remarks today came after talks in Geneva failed to produce an agreement. This week Kerry will testify on the negotiations before the Senate Banking Committee.

Suspended NFL player Richie Incognito defended himself in an interview on "FOX NFL Sunday," saying his alleged bullying of Miami Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin is misunderstood.


RICHIE INCOGNITO, SUSPENDED NFL PLAYER: Jon never showed signs that football was getting to him, the locker room was getting to him.

My actions were coming from a place of love. No matter how bad and how vulgar it sounds, that's how we communicate. That's how our friendship was. And those are the facts, and that's what I'm accountable for.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SESAY: And a new study in the "Journal of Pediatrics" reports that violence in "PG-13" movies is surging. Researchers found that gun play has more than tripled in "PG-13" movies since 1985. And from 2009 to 2012, "PG-13" films have contained as much or more violence as films rated "R."

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right. Isha, thanks very much.

When we come back -- we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, I want to check in with Chad Myers, our severe weather expert. A weather system is moving in that's going to make it all the more difficult to get supplies in over the next couple hours to Tacloban. We're going to check in with Chad about that.

And also with Anna Coren, who is in Cebu to find out what the situation is there. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back. I'm Anderson Cooper. I'm in Manila, actually, at the airport. If you were watching our program earlier, you know we were trying to get into Tacloban earlier today, but a weather system moved in. We weren't about to land. We had to fly back here and scramble just to get the broadcast on the air.

We want to check in with Chad Myers, our severe weather expert -- He's at the Severe Weather Center in Atlanta -- just to get a sense of where that storm system is and how it may be affecting people on the ground over the next couple hours in Tacloban.

Chad, there's a lot of concern on the ground here about -- about the weather. How does it look?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, your flight was cancelled because of it, turned around. Other flights, it's the same story. Because there's no equipment at the airport. The airport had 15 feet of water on it. There's no equipment there. So you can't do IFR -- instrument flight rules -- landings. So there's no way to get in there when the ceilings are lowered, when it's raining or when it's windy. The IFR is gone. We only had MVFR, marginal visual flight rules. And we were below that. So you couldn't get there tonight. You had to fly back and stay there in Manila.

Now, there is, in fact, a backside to this system. It will dry out tonight. Even for you, even 6 p.m. local time for you, you will be able to get on another flight. Because as this back side comes by, the rain will move on by.

I believe right now that the low pressure system we've been talking about is down here to the south and is going to be moving off to the west away from you. So in a few hours everything gets better. But it was a big scare, because there's a high chance of this turning into something much more sinister here. Here's the story with Haiyan. It was 195-mile-per-hour hurricane. Typhoon, cyclone, same thing. Just different oceans. They mean exactly the same thing. They spin exactly the same way, unless you're south of the Southern Hemisphere of the equator.

So here you go: 195. That is equal to an EF-4 tornado on the ground. And people were saying the winds lasted for four hours. So an EF-4 tornado in Oklahoma lasts for 30 seconds and is gone. Can you imagine that tornado over your house for four hours? That was the problem.

Comparing it to Katrina, Katrina was 125, a big storm and big surge, too. And basically, it was. Ask Biloxi in the Gulf.

The story is, though, 125 to 195 seems like 60, 100 percent, whatever, higher. Not that quick. It doesn't work that way, Anderson.

We take a look at one square foot of a building. Just maybe a one-square-foot window. At 80 miles per hour where Sandy was, the force of that wind is 16 pounds per square foot. A hundred and twenty miles an hour, 35 pounds per that same square foot. A hundred and ninety-five miles per hour, 96 pounds per that same square foot. And if we really did have wind gusts to 235, it's 140 pounds blowing that window out, blowing those buildings down. That's why this one was so much bigger than all the other storms we've ever seen before -- Anderson.

COOPER: Amazing, the power of that storm. Chad, I appreciate the update on that.

I want to introduce you to Jacqueline Branscum (ph). You know, there's a lot of people watching around the world that have loved ones in Tacloban or elsewhere; haven't been able to get in touch with them; or have been able to get in touch with them, or have been able to get in touch with them and are concerned about their health. Jacqueline Branscum (ph) is one of those. She actually just was able to get in touch with her parents to get an update on them, but she desperately wants


COOPER: Jacqueline, I know Friday was the last time you actually heard from your parents. What did they say on Friday?

JACQUELINE BRANSCUM (PH), WITNESS: Well, right before the storm hit, my dad called. He told me that his plan was that they were going to stay in the upper level of the house. It's a two-story house and that he went ahead and bought some food and some water. And that he thought that it wasn't going to be that bad of a storm because he thought it was going to move pretty fast. Their plan was to stay in the upper level of the house.

COOPER: I understand you just got some word from a relative who walked, like, six -- six hours to actually find your parents. How are they doing? BRANSCUM (PH): I'm not too sure. I believe that they're OK. What happened, my relative, my cousin walked from -- which is about northwest of Tacloban about a 45 drive. He walked -- a couple of them -- actually, a couple of my cousins walked there to Tacloban City to check on my parents. And they took a -- my belief is that they drove their car back over somehow. They might have been able to finagle the roads.

And they had to leave because the house was in bad shape and the smell -- the stench, essentially, was getting ready bad for my mom, especially with her asthma.

COOPER: And I know you're hoping to get your parents out of Tacloban because of their health. What are their health issues?

BRANSCUM (PH): Well, my mom in particular, a few days before they went back to the Philippines -- they left on October 31, a few days before that, they -- my mom was in the hospital. She had an infection, and her COPD bronchitis was acting up. She has really bad asthma. She's had it for a long time.

So we are worried that she wasn't able to have her nebulizer with her and that she's not able to walk around, because she can't walk for long periods of time.

My dad, he also has diabetes. He has arthritis, as well. So he's also in some pain. So we're not too sure what his status is, especially being able to fight against a typhoon like that and protecting my mom.

So our main concern is my mom with her health and her able to -- her ability to be able to breathe, eat, have clean water and be able to be able to take all her medicine.

COOPER: And obviously, it's a chaotic situation, trying to get anyone out. Jacqueline, I wish you the best. I hope your parents stay strong. And we'll continue to check in with you. Thank you very much.

BRUNSON: Thank you.


COOPER: There's a lot of concern about areas in not just Tacloban, obviously. We're going to talk when we come back to our Anna Coren, our correspondent, who is in Cebu. We'll find out the situation there. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We have a number of correspondents all throughout the Philippines to try to give you as accurate a picture in all the different places about what has been happening here over the last several days.

I want to check in with Anna Coren, who is in Cebu. Earlier, she reported on some of the relief efforts there and also some of the search for the missing.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This airfield in Cebu has become a staging ground for the country's biggest relief operations. C-130 Hercules fly in survivors, all shell-shocked from what they've just been through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot say anything yet. I'm in certain shock. I'm so sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people are dead. Our friends are dead. Some of our family members are dead. So it's really devastating.

COREN: As the death toll grows by the day, families here desperately wait for news of their loved ones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am the only survivor of the family, and I want to know if they are still alive.


COOPER: So many people who frankly just do not have information. Communication is spotty, at best, and a lot of areas have not even been got into by government officials, by relief agencies.

Anna Coren joins us now from -- from Cebu. How are things there today, Anna? What's the situation?

COREN: Well, Anderson, the relief operation has certainly stepped up a gear in the last half hour. The largest plane in the world, the Antonov 225, which is a Russian plane, has just landed from China, packed filled with aid.

Of course, we know that the people on the ground in the disaster zone desperately need food, clean water, medical supplies and shelter.

Now, several C-130 Hercules planes have also landed here to pick up aid and to take it to that -- those areas, as well. Obviously, the weather is a real problem. You've experienced it yourself. But certainly, here it's been raining, and that could slow down the operation. It's certainly going to hamper the relief efforts but obviously cause a great deal more misery on the ground, Anderson.

COOPER: In terms of -- you talked to a woman who is still searching for her family members. In terms of, actually, recovery efforts, is there heavy equipment on the ground? How are people actually, you know, searching through rubble?

COREN: Yes, you know, at the moment, Anderson, I really think the focus is just on the survivors and getting aid and supplies to them. You know, we are going into the fifth day of this disaster as Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines. So these people have been without the basic necessities for that many days. Yesterday we were with the military and went to northern Cebu and some really remote islands. And, you know, we were picking up the wounded and the injured, ferrying them back, people with broken bones, with internal injuries.

And this is just a handful. As we flew back to Cebu, there were people on their homes, on their properties just waving frantically into the air. There is a real sense of desperation.

But the problem is logistics, Anderson. It's getting the aid, it's getting the help out to those people who so desperately need it.

COOPER: Anna Coren in Cebu. We'll have more coverage in just a moment.


COOPER: That's the latest from here in the Philippines. Thanks very much for watching. I hope you join me tomorrow on AC 360. We'll again be live from the Philippines.