Philippines Typhoon Death Toll Climbs to 10,000

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 10 2013 10:41 AM

Philippines Typhoon Estimated Death Toll Climbs to 10,000 in One City

Residents walk through debris and victim's bodies in Tacloban City, Leyte province on November 10

Photo by TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images

It has gone from disaster to catastrophe. One of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded has appeared to kill thousands, if not tens of thousands, and wreaked far worse damage in the Philippines than initially expected. As many as 10,000 people are thought to have been killed by super Typhoon Haiyan in one city alone, according to a senior police official. But that number will almost certainly continue increasing considering there are some areas that rescue workers haven’t been able to even reach yet. In Tacloban, in Leyte Island, which so far appears to be the worst-hit city, witnesses describe complete chaos as survivors try to locate loved ones as they struggle to find food and water amid the devastation.

The Associated Press describes a harrowing situation: “Corpses hung from tree branches and were scattered along sidewalks and among flattened buildings, while looters raided grocery stores and gas stations in search of food, fuel and water.” A witness tells Reuters that “people are walking like zombies looking for food.” The national police and military sent reinforcements to Tacloban on Sunday to prevent the looting that has become commonplace as people broke into grocery stores and cash machines.

The typhoon appears to have destroyed almost all the structures that were in its path as it struck Leyte province Friday. But most of the deaths were not caused by the wind but rather by “a mammoth storm surge that reached up to 16 feet high,” notes CNN, with witnesses saying it resembled a tsunami.


"All systems, all vestiges of modern living—communications, power, water—all are down,” Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said after visiting Tacloban. "There is no way to communicate with the people."

US forces are being dispatched to the Philippines, reports NBC News. “At the request of the government of Philippines, Secretary Hagel has directed U.S. Pacific Command to support U.S. government humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan,” the Department of Defense said in a statement. It seems the Philippines will need lots of help in the coming days, weeks and months to recover from what appears to be its deadliest natural disaster on record.

President Benigno S. Aquino III declared a “state of calamity” to release emergency funds for disaster relief. But the state’s “coffers have already been depleted this year by a series of other natural disasters, most notably an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 that also struck the middle of the country four weeks ago,” notes the New York Times.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Why Not Just Turn Campus Rape Allegations Over to the Police? Because the Police Don't Investigate.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.