The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

November 9, 2013

Officials fear Philippine typhoon death toll could reach 10,000

(Continued)

TACLOBAN, Philippines —

In Torotoro’s village, bodies could be seen lying along the muddy main road, as residents who had lost their homes huddled, holding on to the few things they had managed to save. The road was lined with trees that had fallen to the ground.

Vice Mayor Jim Pe of Coron town on Busuanga, the last island battered by the typhoon before it blew away to the South China Sea, said most of the houses and buildings there had been destroyed or damaged. Five people drowned in the storm surge and three others were missing, he said by phone.

“It was like a 747 flying just above my roof,” he said, describing the sound of the winds. He said his family and some of his neighbors whose houses were destroyed took shelter in his basement.

Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN showed fierce winds whipping buildings and vehicles as storm surges swamped Tacloban with debris-laden floodwaters.

In the aftermath of the typhoon, people were seen weeping while retrieving bodies of loved ones inside buildings and on a street that was littered with fallen trees, roofing material and other building parts torn off in the storm’s fury. All that was left of one large building whose walls were smashed in were the skeletal remains of its rafters.

ABS-CBN television anchor Ted Failon, who was able to report only briefly Friday from Tacloban, said the storm surge was “like the tsunami in Japan.”

“The sea engulfed Tacloban,” he said, explaining that a major part of the city is surrounded on three sides by the waters between Leyte and Samar islands.

Tim Ticar, a local tourism officer, said 6,000 foreign and local tourists were stranded on the popular resort island of Boracay, one of the tourist spots in the typhoon’s path.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered his condolences and said U.N. humanitarian agencies were working closely with the Philippine government to respond rapidly with emergency assistance, according to a statement released by the U.N. spokesperson’s office.

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