Manila ( AsiaNews) - "Typhoon Haiyan has killed 1,200-1,300, but the death toll is expected to rise," said Fr Gianni Re, regional superior of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME). "The authorities estimate that the death toll will reach 10,000 given the extent of the destruction and the size of the devastated area. For a more accurate picture, we shall have to wait a few more days. The most affected area, the two islands of Leyte and Samar, central Philippines, are still without electricity or communications," he added. "Hence, we do not have a clear view of what happened and of the extent of the damages to people and property".
Today, Filipino authorities estimated that the number of dead could reach 10,000, making the Typhoon Haiyan the country's deadliest natural disaster. Police Chief Elmer Soria said that about 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the area in the path of the storm in Leyte province was destroyed.
The sight of affected towns and villages was impressive: torn roofs, concrete pillars standing near destroyed houses, uprooted electric poles, cars dragged for hundreds of metres.
Many survivors and members of emergency response teams compare the disaster to a tsunami.
On Friday, Typhoon Haiyan hit Leyte and Samar, in east-central Philippines, with winds up to 315 km per hour causing waves of up to three meters that swept inland. Haiyan then moved across the country for another 600 km, devastating everything it encountered.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "is deeply saddened by the extensive loss of life," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman, adding that UN humanitarian agencies would respond quickly with emergency assistance.