‘Yolanda’ death toll: 6,033
MANILA, Philippines—The death toll from Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan) now stands at 6,033 but recovery teams will likely be working over the Christmas holiday to retrieve more bodies, an official of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC) said Saturday.
Maj. Rey Balido, NDRRMC spokesperson, said the task force led by Senior Supt. Pablito Cordeta would likely be working even on Christmas Day given that the team continued to recover bodies more than a month after Yolanda ripped through Central Visayas, bringing deadly storm surges.
“We can’t say if there are still many bodies to be recovered. What we know is they find bodies every day,” Balido told the Inquirer by phone.
Balido said that on his trip to Tacloban City on Friday afternoon, he saw the task force putting seven corpses in body bags.
An earlier estimate placed the number of fatalities at 10,000, riling government officials who fired the police general who was quoted in news reports.
President Benigno Aquino III himself conceded that the death toll was rising, even after he earlier pegged it at 2,500.
Most of the fatalities drowned in the storm surges that were as high as 15 meters, wiping out many villages in Tacloban City and neighboring towns.
It is estimated the Philippines will need nearly $3 billion to rebuild parts of the country destroyed by the deadliest typhoon in its history, Malacañang said Saturday.
Mr. Aquino told reporters in Tokyo late Friday that scores of towns and cities across the central islands that were devastated by Yolanda needed national government help to clean up the debris and restore damaged infrastructure.
“The task is really daunting is it not? That’s why we are saying it will take about P130 billion to put everybody in at least a better situation than where they were,” he was quoted as saying in a transcript released by Malacañang.
Aquino was speaking on the sidelines of a summit between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The NDRRMC lists 1,779 people are still missing.
About a million houses were destroyed, leaving four million people homeless, according to the NDRRMC.
Tropical Storm Uring (International name:Thelma) which triggered flash floods and landslides that killed about 5,100 people in Ormoc, Leyte in 1991, was previously the deadliest storm recorded in the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year. With AFP
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