The central Philippine province of Leyte bore the maximum impact, with wind speeds up to 275 kph triggering major landslides and forcing 800,000 people to flee their homes
Manila : Thousands are feared to have been killed in the Philippines by the super typhoon ‘Haiyan’, a Red Cross official said. According to an estimate, as many as 10,000 are feared to have been perished in the devastation caused by it.
The central Philippine province of Leyte bore the maximum impact of the super typhoon that hit the Philippines Friday morning, with wind speeds up to 275 kph triggering major landslides and forcing 800,000 people to flee their homes.
“We now fear that thousands will have lost their lives,” a Red Cross spokesperson was quoted as saying, even though there are conflicting reports on the exact number of casualties. “An estimated more than 1,000 bodies were seen floating in Tacloban. In Samar, about 200 deaths. Validation is ongoing,” said Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross.
Though the Philippine government confirmed the deaths of only a few hundred people, BBC reported the police in the Philippines feared that 10,000 people may have died. The figure was based on estimates of officials in Tacloban city after a meeting Saturday night with the governor of Leyte, local newspaper Inquirer quoted regional police chief Elmer Soria as saying, reported Xinhua. Tacloban city is the capital of Leyte province, and has been worst hit by the super typhoon.
The national government departments and disaster management agency have not confirmed the high figure yet. “I don’t know how to describe what I saw. It’s horrific,” said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, who flew to Tacloban city Saturday.
The city was plunged into darkness 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. Around 120 police teams have been sent to Tacloban city, as reports of looting in the city emerged. Experts were flown to the storm ravaged areas of the Philippines 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.