President Benigno Aquino 3rd debunked reports that the death toll from Typhoon Yolanda could hit 10,000.
Interviewed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, President said the death toll from Friday’s typhoon may be lower than earlier estimates by local officials.
He said the local officials did not have basis for their estimates.
”Ten thousand, I think, is too much. And perhaps that was also brought about by . . . being in the center of the destruction . . . There was emotional trauma involved with that particular estimate quoting both a police official and a local government official,” Aquino said.
”They were too close to the incident. They didn’t have basis for it,” Aquino added.
He said government agencies need to reach 29 municipalities more to check the casualties.
”The figure right now I have is about 2,000 but this might still get higher. We are hoping to be able to contact something like 29 municipalities left wherein we still have to establish the numbers especially for the missing,” he said.
”But so far, 2,000 to about 2,500 is the figure we are working on as far as deaths are concerned,” Aquino said.
As of 7 a.m. on Wednesday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) put the number of dead at 1,833, with 2,623 injured and 84 missing.
A total of 1,387,446 families or 6,937,229 were affected in 7,488 villages in 41 provinces, reported NDRRMC Executive Director Eduardo del Rosario.
Of these, 59,733 families or 286,433 people are staying in 993 evacuation centers.
Del Rosario said the situation in the stricken areas is fast improving after more policemen and soldiers were deployed and the distribution of medicines and relief goods have been orderly.
Aquino linked the Visayas disaster to climate change.
“I think it is already an accepted reality for the Filipino community that global climate change is a reality, and that there should be no debate that this is happening,” he said.
“We all live in one planet; either we come up with a solution that everybody adheres to, operates with, or let us be prepared to meet disasters, ever increasing disasters at a global level,” Aquino added.
He also urged developed countries to take steps to slow global warming and protect the planet.
“Especially to the most developed countries that are contributing immensely to global warming, there has to be a sense of moral responsibility that what they wreak is playing havoc on the lives of so many others incapable of defending themselves,” he said.
“People were—became—desperate, and that’s why we are trying to fast-track the situation where national government takes over these local government functions so that order is restored.”
With report from William B. Depasupil