Eight people were crushed to death as a huge crowd of typhoon survivors stormed a rice warehouse near the devastated city of Tacloban.
“One wall of our warehouse collapsed and eight people were crushed and killed instantly,” Rex Estoperez, spokesman for the National Food Authority said on Tuesday.
Police, soldiers and private security teams were guarding the storeroom in Alangalang town, 17 kilometers from Tacloban, but were overpowered by the crowd, who carted off more than 100,000 bags of rice, Estoperez added.
“There must have been so many people to carry away so many bags of rice,” he said, adding that each bag weighed 50 kilograms.
“Our staff were there but they could not do anything without risking their safety.”
The spokesman said 129,000 bags had been taken—33,000 of which were full of edible milled rice but 96,000 contained grain which could not be readily eaten.
Estoperez said his agency believed looters were looking to profit by selling the grain.
“Some people are really hungry but others just wanted to ransack for money,” he said, adding that the food authority was coordinating with the transport department and military to ensure that ships and trucks carrying rice would be properly guarded.