Photo by EPA/Francis Malasig
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines - Giporlos and Guiuan in Eastern Samar are in ruins, with typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan) damaging 95 percent of the two towns, according to eyewitness accounts on Sunday, November 10.
Because of the devastation, there are no clear estimates of casualties or survivors, they added.
Mark Biong, mayor of Giporlos, travelled 8 hours via a motorbike from his town to this city to report the devastation in Giporlos. In normal times, the road trip from Giporlos to Tacloban takes only one-and-half hours.
"It's total destruction," Biong told government officials and reporters here. At least 95% of the town has been damaged, he added. Giporlos is a coastal town, one of 22 municipalities of Eastern Samar. A 2010 census puts its population at 12,000.
Biong has no estimates of casualties or survivors.
Watch an interview with Biong below and see the destruction in Giporlos:
The more remote town of Guiuan has also been flattened, leaving survivors helpless and triggering looting, according to Solar TV News reporter David Santos, who finally reached Tacloban City Sunday morning, after his communication lines were cut off for more than two days. He rode a motorbike.
Weather forecasters earlier identified Guiuan as the first area that Yolanda, considered the world's most powerful cyclone to make landfall in recent history, would hit on its first landfall. (READ: How to help victims of Typhoon Yolanda)
Watch Rappler's interview with David Santos:
Earlier, Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone cited initial reports of at least 200 dead in another town, Hernani.
Evadone said his cousin, Arteche Mayor Rolando Evardone, was informed by the police and members of the Philippine Red Cross that about 200 to 300 people had died in Hernani.
The information was relayed to the Red Cross by Plan Philippines, an international NGO which has several projects in Eastern Samar, Evardone said.
The lawmaker however stressed the estimates were not official.
In the province's capital city of Borongan, Evardone said there are 3 confirmed casualties while 11 crew members of a barge remain missing. Rappler.com
Get the latest info on the status of areas affected by typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).
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