'Miracle' baby a sign of new life after cruel Haiyan

A "MIRACLE" baby dubbed a sign of new life has been born in a Philippines airport as a state of national calamity comes into effect across the country following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.

Tine  Bea Joy was born to her mother Emily Ortega, 21, at an improvised clinic at Tacloban airport yesterday.

Bea Joy was named after her grandmother Beatrice, who was missing following the onslaught of typhoon Haiyan.

Ms Ortega was in an evacuation centre when the storm surge hit and flooded the city. She had to swim to survive before finding safety at the airport.

"She is my miracle. I had thought I would die with her still inside me when high waves came and took us all away,'' Ms Ortega said.

The scenes of devastation in the Philippines are merciless after what some are calling the biggest storm the world has seen left a bitter trail of agony on the nation.

President Benigno Aquino has declared a  state of national calamity, saying the measure had been taken to allow the military and authorities to speed up and protect the relief process.

Authorities said that at least 9.7 million people across 41 provinces have been affected by the storm. Mr Aquino said that Leyte and Samar, the two worst affected provinces, had suffered massive loss of life and destruction.

In declaring an official state of calamity, the government has also given itself the power to control prices of basic commodities and services - a measure it says will "avoid overpricing and hoarding of vital products".

International relief workers are struggling to reach the hundreds of thousands left homeless, while witnesses on the ground say a coordinated centre for the effort is still yet to be established.

Mr Aquino said: "In the coming days, be assured: help will reach you faster and faster. My appeal to you all is: remaining calm, praying, cooperating with, and assisting one another are the things that will help us to rise from this calamity."