TODAY | November 11, 2013
>> written. but let us begin with today's top story. that's the rescue and relief efforts in the philippines . official estimates could be as many as 10,000 people died result of the storm. millions of survivors are trying to cope with a lack of food and medicine. u.s. forces have flown to help with the recovery. harry smith is in tacloban this morning. good morning to you.
>> reporter: tacloban is ground zero of the super storm that hit friday with winds greater than what anybody anticipated but a storm surge that was devastating. we got to spend part of the day there today and what you're about to see is quite shocking. what was once the city of tacloban is now a pile of debris flattened by a super storm that created waves 20 feet high. storm chaser jim edge was there.
>> it was eerie. the combination of the wind and water coming at you was too much.
>> reporter: on the ground, the smell of death is everywhere. thousands, possibly up to 10,000 people are feared dead in the super storm . survivors stumble through devastated towns in search of water, food, and any kind of shelter. this pregnant woman has lost everythi everything. we are just trying to survive to the next day, she says. with the infrastructure destroyed looting is common and bringing aid to the hardest hit areas is proving a significant challenge.
>> the problem is 90% to 95% of people in city hall are causalities.
>> reporter: some hope this morning as u.s. cargo planes are making their way to devastated areas.
>> international relief organizations are here. obviously the military has capabilities that are unique. c 130s coming in.
>> reporter: survivors are lining up at the airport to get out of the devastated city. this woman wearing all she owns. many appealing to relatives back in the u.s. for help. but in the middle of all of this devastation, a new baby is born in what's left of the airport lounge . we're just back in manila from tacloban . there's more we'll be able to show you later on tonight on nbc nightly news with brian williams .
>>> all right. harry smith in the fiphilippines this morning. thank you.
>> thank you. joseph curry is in manila. good morning to you.
>> reporter: good morning.
>> you have seen your share of humanitarian crisis in your line of work but to put this in terms of what everybody can understand, how grave is the situation there now?
>> reporter: what we see the devastation and it looks like the tsunami and the scale that we're finding now is of a scale we've never seen in the philippines . it really stretches over so many different islands where we're seeing 80% damage of infrastructure, buildings ripped apart, trees toppled over huge expansions of land and so many people affected right now.
>> the philippines has the attention of the world, of relief services such as yours. but how can relief get there? it's very hard to get to the most hard hit areas.
>> reporter: it is a challenge. the sheer size of the emergency, there are 10 million people in need . this is the largest disaster that the philippines has ever seen. the intensity of the need is also there. people need food, water, shelter, health. they need all of the essentials just to get by in their daily life.
>> and finally, sir, just in terms of what you yourself have seen, can you give people a sense of how devastating this situation is.
>> reporter: via satellite phone today i spoke with our team and they're reporting total and complete devastation. buildings are ripped apart. houses are flattened. trees are toppled. people are looking for shade under any tree they can find. what worries us is there are so many areas that we have no information from and when we have this silence, this usually means that the damage is even worse.
>> we know it's a terrible situation there. thank you for your time this morning. if you want to find out how you can help with this relief effort head to our website today.com.