Over 100 dead, airport ruined in Tacloban after Yolanda onslaught
John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said the Tacloban airport manager had radioed the head office in Manila to report "100-plus dead, lying in the streets, with 100 plus injured."
"This report was relayed to us by our station manager so it is considered very reliable information," he told ABS-CBN television in an interview.
"According to the station manager, the airport is completely ruined."
Mobile communications have been spotty or non-existent since the storm struck Eastern Visayas Friday morning, so information about the full impact has slowly been trickling in.
Reporters from TV networks have been shown risking their safety in Leyte to capture the storm's fury. In one report by Jiggy Manicad Friday night, tearful TV host and Leyte native Love Añover narrated the helplessness of residents and her concern for her family in Leyte.
Tacloban is the capital of Leyte, a large island of about two million people that was hit by Yolanda on Friday morning when the storm was at its strongest, knocking out all its communication facilities.
Andrews said the information about the deaths was relayed by high-frequency radio to the authorities.
GMA News reported that storm surges had hit Tacloban and nearby Palo town on Leyte's east coast.
Its reporter said he counted at least 31 bodies, including 20 at Palo church.
Philippine authorities are now rushing rescuers and communication equipment to the island.
Five other people have been confirmed killed elsewhere in the central Philippines.
Yolanda hurtled into Leyte and nearby Samar island with maximum sustained winds of around 315 kilometers (195 miles) an hour, making it the strongest typhoon in the world this year and one of the most intense ever to make landfall.
It swept across the central and southern Philippines throughout the day before exiting into the South China Sea and tracking towards Vietnam. — Agence France-Presse/ GMA News