TACLOBAN, Philippines – As many as 10,000 people are believed to have died in one Philippine city alone when one of the worst storms on record sent giant sea waves, washing away homes, schools and airport buildings, officials said Sunday. Ferocious winds ravaged several central islands, burying people under tons of debris and leaving corpses hanging from trees.
Regional police chief Elmer Soria said he was briefed by Leyte provincial Gov. Dominic Petilla late Saturday and told there were about 10,000 deaths in the province, mostly by drowning and from collapsed buildings. The governor's figure was based on reports from village officials in areas where Typhoon Haiyan slammed Friday.
Tacloban city administrator Tecson Lim said that the death toll in the city alone "could go up to 10,000." Tacloban is the Leyte provincial capital of 200,000 people and the biggest city on Leyte Island.
On Samar Island, which is facing Tacloban, Leo Dacaynos of the provincial disaster office said Sunday that 300 people were confirmed dead in Basey town and another 2,000 are missing.
He said that the storm surge caused sea waters to rise 6 meters (20 feet) when Typhoon Haiyan hit Friday, before crossing to Tacloban.
There are still other towns on Samar that have not been reached, he said, and appealed for food and water. Power was knocked out and there was no cellphone signal, making communication possible only by radio.