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More than 1,200 people are feared dead in the storm's wake. See Haiyan's raw fury.

Typhoon Haiyan death toll could reach 10,000, say officials

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Saturday, November 9, 2013, 6:26 PM -

The death toll from one of the strongest storms on record that ravaged the central Philippine city of Tacloban could reach 10,000 people, officials said Sunday after the extent of massive devastation became apparent and horrified residents spoke of storm surges as high as trees. 

Regional police chief Elmer Soria said he was briefed by Leyte provincial Government Dominic Petilla late Saturday and told there were about 10,000 deaths in the province, mostly by drowning and from collapsed buildings. The governor's figure was based on reports from village officials in areas where Typhoon Haiyan slammed Friday. 

Tacloban city administrator Tecson Lim said that the death toll in the city alone "could go up to 10,000.'' Tacloban is the Leyte provincial capital of 200,000 people and the biggest city on Leyte Island.

Official reports put the number of confirmed dead at around 140 early Saturday morning.

Most of the dead were on Leyte Island, which felt the full force of Typhoon Haiyan on Friday.

Buildings have been swept away, and storm surges several metres high have swamped seaside communities.

The country's interior minister, Max Roxas, said the number of deaths is expected to rise as rescuers enter the worst-hit areas.

"All systems, all vestiges of modern living -- communications, power, water -- all are down," he told the Associated Press. "Media is down, so there is no way to communicate with the people in a mass sort of way."

One resident of Tacloban - a city of 200,000 people, said he and several others tried to hide in a jeep, until it was swept away by floodwaters "as high has a coconut tree."

ABS-CBN television anchor Ted Failon, who was reporting from the city on Friday, compared the storm's impact to the 2011 tsunami that struck Japan. 

"The sea engulfed Tacloban,'' he said.

Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda, is considered one of the strongest storms ever recorded on Earth, in terms of pressure.

The storm had winds of up to 235 km/h when it made landfall. It is presently en route to Vietnam, where evacuations are being ordered.

With files from the Associated Press.

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