Police Chief Who Wrongly Predicted 10K Death Toll in Philippines Removed From Post

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 14 2013 10:46 AM

Police Chief Who Wrongly Predicted 10K Death Toll in Philippines Removed From Post

187972965
Affected residents survey the damage in Tacloban City on November 14, 2013 in Tacloban, Philippines

Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images

Two days after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, and with much of the world fearing the worst, Philippines National Police chief superintendent Elmer Soria offered up the estimate that seemed to confirm those fears: As many as 10,000 people were dead, he estimated, providing fodder for headlines and breaking news alerts around the world. That number, we now know, was thankfully wrong. On Thursday, the police department announced that Soria was being removed from his post:

Col. Reuben Sindac, spokesman for the Philippines National Police, confirmed to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria was removed as head of the regional office that oversees police operations in the central Philippines, where Typhoon Haiyan, locally called Yolanda, unleashed her gale-force winds and whipped up 15-foot-high storm surges before leaving the country Saturday.
Advertisement

While authorities on the ground are sadly still counting bodies in the wake of the superstorm, the good news is that it appears likely that the final tally will be nowhere near the figure first offered by Soria. The bad news, of course, is that the official death toll still stands at a staggering 2,357—and will likely inch higher as authorities continue to dig through the rubble. "We’re hoping to be able to contact something like 29 municipalities left wherein we have to establish their numbers, especially the missing," President Benigno Aquino III told CNN this week. "But so far 2,000 to 2,500 is the figure we’re working on as far as death is concerned."

While the 10,000 estimate has (again, thankfully) proved faulty, the nation still suffered incalculable damage, the recovery from which will take years, not weeks or even months. With that in mind, a reminder not to send your hand-me-downs; send money.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.