Nov 222013
The head of the country’s disaster risk reduction council tasked to collate data on the effects of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on Friday denied receiving orders to stop releasing the death toll from the recent calamity.

“Let us settle that. Merong accusations na pinipigil or merong order na huwag ilabas ‘yung figure. Wala pong katotohanan,” National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Eduardo del Rosario said at a press conference.

He explained that the death toll was stalled at 4,011 during the past two days because the NDRRMC is still waiting for reports from the ground.

“Hinihintay ‘yung official report na isa-submit ng mayor, duly signed by the mayor and the health officers of the municipalities and cities concerned,” del Rosario said.

He added that official data from local government units affected by the typhoon will likely reach the NDRRMC central office within the day.

“Kino-collate na ngayon, and you will know today. Hopefully this afternoon, you will know a more concrete figure,” the NDRRMC chief said.

The official death toll from Yolanda slightly increased on Friday morning to 4,015.  The massive typhoon whipped through the Visayas and parts of Luzon two weeks ago.

In a separate briefing later in the day, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said the death toll has climbed to 4,919.

Days after the super typhoon hit the country, conflicting estimates on the number of individuals killed during Yolanda’s onslaught came out in the media.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier estimated that the death toll caused by Yolanda’s rampage through central Philippines would be around 2,000 to 2,500, lower than the estimate of a local police official.

Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria, the relieved Eastern Visayas regional police chief, earlier estimated that the death toll could reach 10,000. Eastern Visayas was the most severely hit region by the super typhoon.

Malacañang, through deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, has dismissed accusations that the government is suppressing Yolanda death toll as “pure speculation.” Andreo Calonzo/KBK, GMA News

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