Official Sacked for Wrongly Saying Haiyan Had Killed 10,000 People

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At least one government official has lost their job because of the response to Typhoon Haiyan, but not because he failed to keep the peace or couldn't get food and supplies to right place. It's because he gave a lot of people some bad information.

In the wake of Haiyan's devastation of the Philippines, early news reports started circulating that the death toll was over 10,000 people. The good news is that, so far, that report appears to have been a wild overstatement. The bad news is that the man who started that rumor, a police officer named Elmer Soria, has been fired for crying wolf. "Soria was even admonished earlier by PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima who stated that a police official should base his statements from correct figures," the Philippines News Agency reported, noting that the national police fired Soria on Thursday

The official death toll on Thursday was placed at 2,357, CNN reported. That's still heartbreaking, but it's better than the 10,000 that Soria estimated. The same sources say that an additional 3,800 were injured and 77 are still missing.

There is some other good news today, too, as the USS George Washington aircraft carrier and its crew of 5,000 has arrived in the Samar province to boost the relief effort. Reuters reports:

Ships carried 11 pallets ashore - eight containing 1,920 gallons of water and three containing food - at Tacloban airfield. Several pallets of water were taken to Guiuan, home to home to 45,000 people, which was also badly hit by the storm.

The carrier moved some fixed-wing aircraft ashore to make more room for the helicopters on the flight deck.

Helicopters, Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery said, are good to have because they're agile and integral in dropping off supplies to hard-hit areas. The relief efforts in the Philippines have been hampered because roads to the hardest-hit areas were blocked off by debris left from Haiyan's destruction.

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And those supplies can't come soon enough. Aside from the food and water, survivors also need medical care. Hospitals like the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban, one of the hardest-hit communities, are severely lacking the most basic supplies like painkillers, antibiotics, antiseptic, or even electricity. "The only source of power is a gasoline generator the size of a small clothes dryer, which powers the lights in the emergency room and a simple operating room," The New York Times reported.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.