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article imageTyphoon Haiyan death toll in Philippines likely to exceed 1,000

By Leo Reyes     Nov 9, 2013 in Environment
The death toll in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in Phl.) that battered central Philippines on Friday could reach over 1,000, an official of the Philippine National Red Cross said.
Gwendolyn Pang, secretary-general of the Philippine National Red Cross estimated the death toll at 1, 200.
"We estimate 1,000 people were killed in Tacloban and 200 in Samar province," said Pang.
The Red Cross estimate does not include the reported casualties in the typhoon-ravaged areas in central Visayas including Iloilo, Negros provinces and Bohol, among others.
The government have so far confirmed reports of at least 138 dead as of Saturday.
There have been reports of looting as help from the national government has not reached the affected areas particularly Tacloban City and the town of Palo, the two areas badly hit by the storm surge caused by Typhoon Yolanda.
Local government secretary Mar Roxas confirmed the earlier reports of looting but told media in Tacloban City, where he has been stationed since the landfall along with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, that he has already ordered police units from other areas not affected by the typhoon to secure the city and put order in the areas where looting has been taking place.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said 15,000 soldiers have been dispatched to the affected areas to help in the rescue efforts.
AFP choppers and C-130's have been transporting relief goods and bringing soldiers and aid workers to the areas hit by the typhoon.
International relief and humanitarian organizations including the UN have arrived in the typhoon-ravaged areas to assess the situation on the ground
"This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed and the streets are strewn with debris," said Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, the head of a UN disaster assessment coordination team.
"The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami," he said, referring to the 2004 disaster that claimed about 220,000 lives.
News about the extent of devastation in the affected areas have been coming in trickles as power and communication lines have yet to be restored.
Actual images of devastation have been posted on social media by residents of affected areas using their mobile and smartphones, depicting the extent of devastation as the typhoon unleashed its terrifying power that immediately isolated the city and outlying areas from the capital city of Manila.
Tacloban and nearby cities and towns are still without power as strong winds blow away electrical lines and posts.
Actual extent of devastation and damages to property in affected areas are expected to be known as soon as power in these areas are restored. Read more
The National Risk Reduction and Management Council said more than 70,000 families were affected, and nearly 350,000 people were displaced.
Typhoon Haiyan has left the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) Saturday and is now moving towards Vietnam where it will make landfall on Monday.
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