MANILA – The death toll from super typhoon "Yolanda" in Leyte province, excluding the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc, is near 4,000, the province's administrator said Tuesday.
Speaking to dzMM, Leyte Provincial Administrator Vincent Emnas said that the nearly 4,000 fatality figure was confirmed by the respective local governments of Leyte's 40 towns and one component city – Baybay – on Monday evening.
"Sa huling count namin, as of kagabi, mga 7 o' clock eh halos apat na libo na ang aming casualty count. Hindi pa kasama ang mga missing at affected families na tinamaan ng bagyo," Emnas told dzMM.
"Karamihan nito ay nanggaling sa bayan ng Tanauan at saka bayan ng Palo. Maraming bayan na paisa-isa, mayroong reported na zero casualty."
Emnas said the figure excludes those from the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc, which are considered independent and therefore are not required to report to the provincial government.
Emnas' figure is higher than the official death toll provided by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), which pegged the death toll in Leyte province, including Ormoc and Tacloban, at 3,310 as of 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Without the Tacloban and Ormoc figures at 694 and 31, respectively, the NDRRMC death toll in Leyte will be at 2,585.
Emnas suggested that the figures being sent by Leyte towns may also be lower than the actual number of fatalities, as some bodies retrieved were not reported to the municipal and city governments.
"Iyung data na pinagkukunan namin ay iyung munisipyo lang. Alam niyo po nung tumama ang bagyo, maraming casualty na ang iba nga ay hindi na nila nai-rereport sa mga munispyo, yung iba nililibing na derecho sa barangay nila," he said.
"In fact, nung makalawa eh namumulot pa kami ng bangkay na lumulutang sa dagat, 'di namin alam kung saan galing iyun."
The NDRRMC report, meanwhile, shows that bulk of the deaths in Leyte were reported in Palo (1,060), Tanauan (597), and Tolosa and Dulag (675).
The total death toll from the super typhoon in the latest NDRRMC report was at 3,982.
The issue on the reporting of death toll surfaced after the Palace was accused of manipulating the figures, something the national government denied.
"In any calamity that we've faced, we've always been upfront about the procedure that the NDRRMC adopts when it comes to the identification of casualties. So, no, there is no attempt to hide or to fudge any figures. Any assertion otherwise would just be pure speculations at this point," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an earlier interview.
The NDRRMC said at least 1,602 people remain missing 11 days after the typhoon devastated Eastern Visayas.
At least 18,266 were injured when strong winds and tsunami-like storm surges hit Tacloban City and other coastal areas of Eastern Visayas.
At least 2,166,891 million families or 10,047,652 individuals were affected by the typhoon, with about 800,000 families staying in evacuation centers.
The estimated cost damage to both agriculture products and infrastructures now stands at P11,737,153,892.92.