President Aquino concedes 'Yolanda' death toll has doubled

President Aquino concedes 'Yolanda' death toll has doubled

President Aquino is not bothered that the official death toll from Supertyphoon "Yolanda" is now twice the estimate he gave in an interview with CNN last week.

Aquino told the Inquirer on Monday that the 2,000-2,500 estimate of the death toll that he mentioned in an interview with CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour was based on the initial, confirmed report he received from the ground.

"The actual figure now is really way beyond the initial estimate I gave," Aquino said.

But the government will not just yet give another estimate, even if the civil defence agency has begun to receive official reports from its regional offices.

"We want to give figures [that cannot be doubted], because we don't want to increase the people's anxiety, especially those with missing relatives," Aquino said.

The official death toll stands at 5,209, which does not include 1,755 unidentified bodies recovered in Tacloban City, Leyte province, from Nov. 15 to 21.

But the official death toll is still rising, with more bodies being recovered as workers clear numerous communities flattened by the typhoon on Nov. 8.

In hardest-hit Tacloban alone, the death toll is now close to 2,000, with the body count reaching 1,932 on Monday.

Bube Arce, head of the body recovery task force, said more bodies were expected to be found as workers clear the city of rubble and storm debris.

Senior Supt. Pablito Cordeta, information officer of the task force, said workers found 57 bodies on Sunday.

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