Philippines defends accuracy of death toll from typhoon Haiyan

15.11.2013 - 11:55

Philippines defends accuracy of death toll from typhoon Haiyan 
2013-11-15 10:00:31  

  Philippines defends accuracy of death toll from typhoon Haiyan

     MANILA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government on Friday defended the accuracy of its lower-than-expected death toll number from typhoon Haiyan, saying it is being transparent in terms of the number of casualties.

     Philippines' Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte made the statement following reports that death toll from Haiyan had already reached over 4,000 as reported by the United Nations while the latest government official figure was only 2,360.

     "There is no attempt to hide or to fudge any figures," she said in a news briefing, noting that the government has always been upfront about the procedure that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) adopts when it comes to the identification of casualties.

     Local government and police officials were earlier quoted as saying that death toll could reach 10,000 in central province of Leyte alone. However, the regional police chief was relieved from his post several days after he made such statement.

     Valte denied that the decision of the police leadership to relieve Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria was due to the earlier estimate that he made on the number of fatalities.

     "The chief of the PNP (Philippine National Police) decided to relieve him because, apparently, that particular police officer has been through so much stress and he needs to take a rest," she said.

     Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III earlier said that the government expected the death toll to hit up to 2,500 and an initial estimate of 10,000 was too much. Enditem