TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) — The central Philippine city of Tacloban was in ruins Saturday, a day after being ravaged by one of the strongest typhoons on record, as horrified residents spoke of storm surges as high as trees and authorities said they were expecting a “very high number of fatalities.”
At least 138 people were confirmed dead in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. But Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Gwen Pang said that agency field staff in the region estimated the toll was about 1,000. Pang, however, emphasized that it was “just an estimate.”
The typhoon slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes. At least 118 of the confirmed deaths were on hardest-hit Leyte Island, where Tacloban is located, said national disaster agency spokesman Maj. Reynaldo Balido.
But after arriving in Tacloban on Saturday, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said it was too early to know how many people had died in the storm, which was heading toward Vietnam after moving away from the Philippines.
“The rescue operation is ongoing. We expect a very high number of fatalities as well as injured,” Roxas said. “All systems, all vestiges of modern living — communications, power, water — all are down. Media is down, so there is no way to communicate with the people in a mass sort of way.”
Talks between Iran and world powers over disputed nuclear program hit a snag
GENEVA (AP) — Talks on a deal to temporarily curb Iran’s nuclear program ran into trouble Saturday when France questioned whether the proposal went far enough, casting doubt an agreement could be reached during the current round of negotiations.
Chances of bridging all differences appeared to diminish as the day went on, but efforts continued. The foreign ministers of the seven delegations discussing Iran convened a meeting late Saturday night, and were later joined by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in what appeared to be last-ditch efforts to salvage the talks.