Manila, Philippines -- As many as 10,000 people are feared dead after Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, slammed into the central islands of the Philippines, a senior police official said.
Regional police chief Elmer Soria said he was briefed by Leyte provincial Gov. Dominic Petilla late Saturday and told there were about 10,000 deaths on the island, mostly by drowning and from collapsed buildings. The governor's figure was based on reports from village officials in areas where Typhoon Haiyan slammed Friday.
Earlier it was reported that the death toll was 1,200 according to an estimate made by Gwendolyn Pang, secretary-general of the Philippine Red Cross, was culled by field reports from the relief organization's workers, Richard Gordon, CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, told USA TODAY.
Tacloban city administrator Tecson Lim said that the death toll in the city alone "could go up to 10,000."
As Haiyan heads west toward Vietnam, the Red Cross is at the forefront of an international effort to provide food, water, shelter and other relief to the hundreds of thousands of residents who have lost their homes and livelihood, Gordon said.
"This is a big, full-court press," he said. "We're pulling out all the stops to help."
With widespread power outages, roads blocked, bridges down and debris strewn everywhere, getting life back to some semblance of normal in the region will take time.
"The Philippines are always resilient, and we're going to get back up," Gordon said.