10,000 feared dead after Philippines typhoon - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

10,000 feared dead after Philippines typhoon

Updated:
MANILA -

The official death toll from the typhoon that slammed into the Philippines on Friday has topped 900.

The Philippine military has confirmed 942 deaths from Typhoon Haiyan, but with communications still in shambles, the true death toll could be much higher.

Two officials said Sunday the typhoon may have killed more than 10,000 people.

Bodies were still visible in the streets of Tolosa. Another ravaged city is Tacloban, where flattened buildings stretch as far as the eye could see. Survivors described a 20-foot storm surge that swept people and buildings away and flattened homes along the coast.

US military aircraft have been helping ferry in supplies to Tacloban. But the relief effort has barely begun and it could be weeks before the full extent of the damage is known.

Many of the survivors have heart-breaking stories to tell, including a woman who lost a daughter during the storm. She says her little girl slipped from her hands and says she thinks her daughter sacrificed herself by letting go to not weigh her down in the water.

A 19-year-old student in Tacloban says he tried to ride out the storm in his home with his ailing father, but the storm surge carried the building away. Marvin Daga says they clung to each other while the house floated, but it eventually crumbled and they fell into the churning waters. He says his father slipped out of his grasp and sank -- and that he's not expecting to find him alive.

Larry Womack and his wife Bobbie, American missionaries from Tennessee, have lived in Tacloban for a long time. Womack says he chose to stay at their beachside home, only to find the storm surge engulfing it. He survived by climbing onto a beam in the roof that stayed attached to a wall. Womack says, "There were actual waves going over my head."

Even people who fled to evacuation shelters found that they weren't safe. A 21-year-old woman who was about to give birth was in an evacuation center that was devastated by the storm surge. She had to swim and cling to a post to survive -- eventually reaching safety at the airport, where she gave birth to a baby girl. The baby, Bea Joy Sagales, appeared to be in good health. Her arrival drew applause from others in the airport, and military medics who helped in the delivery.

The president of the Philippines issued an appeal to his countrymen to remain calm and stay united. Satellite dishes are being set up in Tacloban to aid in telecommunications.

Looting has become a problem. Some people are taking what they need to survive, but there are also reports of people stealing televisions and other things of value.

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