TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) - A senior regional police official and a city administrator in the typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city in the central Philippines say the death toll there could reach 10,000 people.
Regional police chief Elmer Soria says he was briefed by Leyte provincial Gov. Dominic Petilla on Saturday and told there were about 10,000 deaths on the island, mostly by drowning and from collapsed buildings.
Tacloban city administrator Tecson Lim says the death toll in the city alone "could go up to 10,000." He says about 300-400 bodies have already been recovered. A mass burial is planned Sunday in Palo town near Tacloban.
Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon says the U.S. and other governments and agencies are mounting a major relief effort "because of the magnitude of the disaster."
At the request of the Philippine government, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed U.S. Pacific Command to deploy ships and aircraft to support search-and-rescue operations and airlift emergency supplies.
The typhoon has weakened to 101 mph with stronger gusts as it approaches central and northern Vietnam where authorities evacuated more than 500,000 people ahead of landfall expected early Sunday.