Cop chief sacked after '10,000 dead' estimate


Posted at Nov 14 2013 09:14 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2013 09:24 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - A police official who claimed that as many as 10,000 people were killed by super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) has been relieved of his post.

Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria, who headed the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 8, was also admonished by PNP Director-General Alan Purisima.

Soria, in an interview with media, said Saturday that he was told of at least 10,000 deaths in Leyte, mostly because of the storm surge.

He also said the typhoon destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of structures in its path as it tore through Leyte province on Friday.

President Aquino, in an interview with CNN, believes that the death toll is closer to 2,500 than the 10,000 mentioned by Soria.

"Ten thousand, I think, is too much," Aquino said. "There was emotional drama involved with that particular estimate."

"We're hoping to be able to contact something like 29 municipalities left wherein we still have to establish their numbers, especially for the missing, but so far 2,000, about 2,500, is the number we are working on as far as deaths are concerned," he said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), in a statement to ABS-CBN News, said Soria underwent severe stress because of the disaster.

"We all know that Chief Supt. Elmer Soria has been through a lot for the past days and may be experiencing what you call 'acute stress reaction,'" the PNP said .

"As such, it was deemed by higher headquarters that he might need to go through a stress debriefing," it added.

He has been replaced as regional director by Chief Supt. Henry Losanes.

The death toll stood at 2,357 on Thursday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

The typhoon also left 3,853 others injured and 77 missing. The figures are expected to rise as more bodies are recovered. - with reports from ANC and Reuters