PHILIPPINE OFFICIALS TALK OF UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS OF DESTRUCTION
MANILA, Nov 10 — An estimated 10,000 people in central Philippine province of Leyte might have been killed by super typhoon ‘Haiyan’, media reported on Sunday.
The figure was based on estimates of officials in Tacloban city, the worst hit capital of Leyte province, after a meeting Saturday night with the governor of Leyte, Xinhua cited from a report in local newspaper Inquirer, which quoted regional police chief Elmer Soria as saying.
The national government departments and disaster agency have not confirmed the figure yet.
“I don’t know how to describe what I saw. It’s horrific,” Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, who flew to Tacloban city Saturday said.
The city became dark everywhere due to interruption of power supply, he added.
Roxas admitted the government found it difficult to give an accurate count of the extent of casualties after communication lines in hard-hit areas were cut off.
A team of 120 police has been sent to Tacloban city, as reports said looting occurred in the city.
Experts were flown to the storm ravaged areas of the Phillippines to assess the situation there, The Independent reported.
“The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami,” the daily quoted Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, head of the UN Disaster Assessment Coordination Team sent to Tacloban, as saying.–IANS
BBC adds: Philippine Interior Secretary Mar Roxas says the scale of the relief operation that is now required is overwhelming, with some places described as a wasteland of mud and debris.
Tecson Lim, city administrator of Tacloban in north east of Leyte, told the Associated Press that the death toll in the city alone “could go up to 10,000”.
Meanwhile police chief Elmer Soria told Reuters about 70% to 80% of the area in the path of the storm in Leyte province was destroyed.
He reportedly said most of the deaths were from drowning or collapsed buildings.
Typhoon Haiyan — one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall — swept through six central Philippine islands on Friday, wiping away homes.
The Pentagon has announced it is providing the Philippines with naval and aviation resources to help with humanitarian relief efforts.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US was delivering helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and search and rescue equipment after a request from the Philippines government.
Capt John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority in the Philippines, told the BBC he had flown over the worst affected areas and seen “utter destruction”.
“I have never seen such damage in my life,” he said.
“It would probably be similar to having a tornado run over a big open space. At the airport, there’s actually no structure left standing except the walls.”
The typhoon is now bearing down on Vietnam, where tens of thousands are being evacuated.
The BBC Weather Centre says the typhoon is expected to make landfall south of Hanoi on Monday afternoon local time (between 03:00 and 09:00 GMT), although it will have decreased markedly in strength.
It brought sustained winds of 235km/h (147mph), with gusts of 275 km/h (170 mph), with waves as high as 15m (45ft), bringing up to 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places. The category 5 super typhoon hit the Philippines on Friday morning with winds up to 275 kph triggering major landslides and forcing 800,000 people to flee their homes. About four million people were affected by the typhoon, the Philippines national disaster agency said.