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Philippine typhoon death toll could reach 10,000 in one city alone; 300 dead on nearby island

  • 52e4cc01ca329d25420f6a7067002e33.jpg

    Tacloban Airport is covered by debris after powerful Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban city, in Leyte province in central Philippines, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Rescuers in the central Philippines counted at least 100 people dead and many more injured Saturday, a day after one of the most powerful typhoons on record ripped through the region, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes with massive storm surges. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) (The Associated Press)

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    Residents sift through the rubble of their damaged house following a powerful typhoon that hit Tacloban city, in Leyte province, central Philippines Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. The central Philippine city of Tacloban was in ruins Saturday, a day after being ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons on record, as horrified residents spoke of storm surges as high as trees and authorities said they were expecting a "very high number of fatalities." (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) (The Associated Press)

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    A resident passes by toppled car outside an airport terminal after powerful Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Rescuers in the central Philippines counted at least 100 people dead and many more injured Saturday, a day after one of the most powerful typhoons on record ripped through the region. AP Photo/Aaron Favila) (The Associated Press)

  • b2168bf9ca6e9e25420f6a706700b851.jpg

    Residents sit outside their damaged house after powerful Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. The central Philippine city of Tacloban was in ruins Saturday, a day after being ravaged by one of the strongest typhoons on record, as horrified residents spoke of storm surges as high as trees and authorities said they were expecting a "very high number of fatalities." (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) (The Associated Press)

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    This image provided by NASA shows Typhoon Haiyan taken by Astronaut Karen L. Nyberg aboard the International Space Station Saturday Nov. 9, 2013. Rescuers in the central Philippines counted at least 100 dead and many more injured Saturday a day after one of the most powerful typhoons on record ripped through the region, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes in massive storm surges, then headed for Vietnam. (AP Photo/NASA, Karen L. Nyberg) (The Associated Press)

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.