MANILA, Philippines – The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan that struck the central Philippines on Nov. 8 has passed 6,000 with nearly 1,800 people missing, officials said Friday.
Twenty-seven bodies, all unidentified, were among the latest to be recovered under debris in typhoon-stricken coastal areas including the hardest hit city of Tacloban, said Maj. Reynaldo Balido, the spokesman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The overnight tally pushed the overall death toll to 6,009 while 1,779 others remain unaccounted for, the government agency said, making the typhoon the deadliest natural disaster on record to hit the Philippines.
Balido said that 20 to 30 bodies were still being found every day. Identifying cadavers in the advanced stage of decomposition and matching them with the missing is a difficult process and the reason why the number of the missing remains unchanged, he said.
The homes of more than 16 million people also were either flattened or damaged by the typhoon, and officials said rebuilding will take at least three years.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said that temporary bunkhouses and emergency shelters were being constructed and residents given cash in exchange for work, including repacking and hauling relief goods.
"We will provide materials to rebuild their houses, however, we stressed to the local governments that new shelters have to be built 40 meters away from the shoreline on high tide," she said.