Death toll likely exceeds 1,000 after typhoon slams Philippines

Posted at 8:20 AM, Nov 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-09 08:20:17-05

TACLOBAN, Philippines (CNN) — A day after Super Typhoon Haiyan roared into the Philippines, a Philippine Red Cross official estimated that the death toll could reach 1,2000.

“We estimate 1,000 people were killed in Tacloban and 200 in Samar province,” Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross, said of two coastal areas that Haiyan hit first as it began its march Friday across the archipelago.

The Red Cross said it would have more precise numbers Sunday. But experts predicted that it will take days to get the full scope of the damage wrought by a typhoon described as one of the strongest to make landfall in recorded history.

Tacloban suffered the greatest devastation, said Lt. Jim Aris Alago, information officer for the Navy Central Command. “There are numbers of undetermined casualties found along the roads.”

Officials found more than 100 bodies scattered on the streets of the coastal city of Tacloban, which one official described as having been worst hit.

“We expect the greatest number of casualties there,” Alago said, adding that 100 body bags had been sent to the area. People were wading through waist-high water, and overturned vehicles, downed utility poles and trees were blocking roads and delaying the aid effort.

“We have not been able to determine a specific death toll as communications are still down; other government agencies are reporting more than 100 casualties in Tacloban alone.”

Mobile services were down, and officials were relying on radios.

Another 100 people were injured in the city of 220,000 residents, said Capt. John Andrews, deputy director of the national Civil Aviation Authority.

Roofs and windows were blown off and out of many of the buildings left standing. Rescue crews were handing out ready-to-eat meals, clothing, blankets, medicine and water, Alagao said.

Residents slowly emerged from their homes and shelters on Saturday and trekked through streets littered with debris to supermarkets, looking for water and food. Several bodies were found at a chapel; a woman wept over one.

CNN’s Paula Hancocks and Andrew Stevens reported from Tacloban and Faith Karimi wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Michael Martinez, Aliza Kassim, Jessica King and Yousuf Basil contributed to this report.

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