The city of Tacloban, a city of 220,000 and the capital of the Philippine province of Leyte on the island of the same name, was hardest hit by the massive storm and accounts for the overwhelming majority of fatalities. Haiyan combined tsunami-like 13-foot tidal waves with 150-mile-per-hour hurricane-force winds.
“I don’t believe there is a single structure that is not destroyed or severely damaged in some way — every single building, every single house,” U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy said after viewing Tacloban from a helicopter.
USA Today reported that Philippine soldiers handed out food and water in Tacloban, and a contingent of Marines distributed food, water, and generators to the city.
“This area has been totally ravaged,” USA Today quoted Sebastien Sujobert, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tacloban, as saying. “Many lives were lost, a huge number of people are missing, and basic services such as drinking water and electricity have been cut off,” he added.
The report cited a statement from Regional Police Chief Elmer Soria, who related information provided to him by Leyte provincial Governor Dominic Petilla late on Saturday indicating that about 10,000 people died on the island, most either drowning or being killed in the collapse of buildings. The governor's figure was based on reports from village officials in areas hit by the typhoon.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III toured some stricken areas on Sunday and declared a “state of calamity,” which would set in motion the release of emergency funds from the federal government.
Aquino was accompanied by his defense secretary, Voltaire Gazmin, who described the dire situation in Tacloban: “There is no power, no water, nothing. People are desperate.”
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Photo of Typhoon Haiyan aftermath: AP Images