Typhoon Haiyan: Death Toll May Reach 10,000


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The estimated death toll from Typhoon Haiyan has reached staggering proportions. The super typhoon ravaged the Philippines on Friday, leaving devastation in its wake. Officials are projecting that the death toll may reach or even exceed 10,000.

Leyte and Samar Island were the hardest hit areas. Tacloban is the capital of Leyte and occupies 3/4 of the island. Its city administrator Tecson Lim has said that the death toll in Tacloban alone could reach 10,000.

Massive communication and power outages have made it difficult to assess the extent of Haiyan's damage.

There is still verification to be done, but it's looking like Haiyan - known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda - may be the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall, with one-minute sustained winds of 195mph. This easily earns it the classification of a super typhoon - one in which sustained winds attain or exceed 150mph. It would also mean that Haiyan's winds surpassed the 190mph record set by Hurricane Camille back in 1969.

After swooping through the Philippines, Haiyan entered the South China Sea where it was downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 4 typhoon. By the time it hits Vietnam and Southeastern China, it will be Category 1 or 2. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at US-based Weather Underground warns that the damage Haiyan can still wreck shouldn't be underestimated:

"I expect that the 8+ inches of rain that the storm will dump on Vietnam will make it a top-five most expensive natural disaster in their history," Masters wrote on his blog.

As US Marines are flying in from nearby Okinawa to assist with search and rescue operations, disaster relief organizations are quickly mobilizing.

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