'Yolanda' slow death count stands at 5,240

PHILIPPINES - Only five confirmed deaths have been added to the official death toll from Supertyphoon "Yolanda" which, as of Tuesday, stood at 5,240 killed and 1,613 missing, according to Philippine Defence Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

The protocol followed by the government for the official tally of fatalities from calamities requires a certification from the local government units and the health department, a process that slows down the transmittal of the report to the NDRRMC headquarters based in Camp Aguinaldo.

President Benigno Aquino III on Monday acknowledged that the current official death toll from Yolanda has now doubled against the figure that he announced in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour almost two weeks ago.

The NDRRMC has pegged the cost of the damage to infrastructure and agriculture at 24.5 million pesos (S$750,000) in its latest report.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Del Rosario said that most of those who will be affected by Aquino's directive to keep coastlines off limits to house-building are illegal settlers.

The government wants to move the easement to 50 meters from the shoreline.

These families will in the meantime be transferred to bunk houses, said Del Rosario.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have built 116 bunkhouses in the Eastern Visayas.

In Leyte, 10 of the bunk houses are in Tacloban and 11 in Palo. In Samar, 18 are in Basey and 18 in Marabut; in Eastern Samar, 26 in Guiuan, 39 in Hernani, and three in Giporlos.