Officials are now expecting a “very high number of fatalities” after Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest on record devastated the central Philippines.
A senior regional police official and a city administrator in the hardest hit city of Tacloban, which is a coastal city located in the central Philippines, both say the death toll there could reach 10,000 people.
Regional police chief Elmer Soria said he was briefed by Leyte provincial Gov. Dominic Petilla on Saturday, and that he was told there were about 10,000 deaths on the island alone, mostly the victims of drowning and from collapsed buildings.
Tacloban city administrator Tecson Lim said that the death toll in the city, alone, “could go up to 10,000.”
Earlier, the Philippine Red Cross told Reuters and other organizations it estimated at least 1,200 were dead in Tacloban, which is located about 360 miles southeast of Manila, and 200 deaths were expected in Samar Province.
Interior Secretary Max Roxas, who had arrived in the city of Tacloban on Saturday. said it was too early to determine how many people had died following Typhoon Haiyan, which is expected to hit the Vietnamese coast on Sunday afternoon.
“The rescue operation is ongoing. We expect a very high number of fatalities as well as injured,” Roxas said. “All systems, all vestiges of modern living – communications, power water, all are down. Media is down, so there is no way to communicate with the people in a mass sort of way.”
Rescue crews reported difficulty in delivering food and water to affected areas due to damaged roads and fallen trees.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that America “stands ready to help,” and the president of the European Commission said a team had been sent to “contribute with urgent relief and assistance.”
As previously reported by People’s Pundit Daily, World Food Programme spokeswoman Bettina Luescher, said the U.N. group was pooling together its global resources to send enough food to feed 120,000 people. “These high-energy biscuits will keep them alive,” she said.
She said, the world body was also dispatching IT teams and telecommunications equipment to help other humanitarian groups to coordinate their efforts once they actually reach the difficult to reach area.
She noted that much of the infrastructure — including basic roads, bridges, airports, and ports — have likely been destroyed or damaged and that the government could use help with logistics.
Luescher pleaded for financial support from the international community and directed those wishing to donate to http://wfp.org/typhoon.
“Those are families like you and me, and they just need our help right now,” she said.