MANILA -- Official figures released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Saturday put the latest death toll from Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan) at 3,637.
The death toll in the hard hit Eastern Visayas region has risen to 3,432, according to NDRRMC's 6 p.m. report.
The NDRRMC said 1,186 remain missing, while 12,501 were reported injured from last week's killer typhoon.
NDRRMC Executive Director Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario reiterated that the official list of casualties will still come from the NDRRMC. The United Nations earlier said the death toll has already reached to over 4,000.
"NDRRMC is the only [government] agency [that is] authorized to give an official death count," he said, as he expressed optimism that figures won't reach an initial estimate of around 10,000.
"I just hope hinde na tumaas [death toll]," del Rosario said.
The total cost of damage due to the typhoon has risen to P10,339,290,061, according to the agency's 6 p.m. update.
Del Rosario put the total damage to infrastructure at P1,250,106,600, while agriculture damage reached P9,089,181,461.
View official list of Typhoon Yolanda death toll
View official list of injured survivors
View official list of missing people
The Department of Agriculture said that 155,366 hectares of agricultural lands have been damaged with P4.6-billion worth of rice crops, corn, and high value crops had been destroyed, while P1.05-billion worth of damage was reported in the fishing industry and P2.07 billion in the livestock and cattle industry.
More than nine million individuals or 2.10-million families in 44 provinces have been affected after the devastation wrought the super typhoon, while 494,611 houses were reportedly destroyed by Yolanda’s wrath.
Power outages are still being experienced in parts of Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, and Central Visayas, while total power blackout is reported in the Eastern Visayas.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said telecommunication firm Smart Communications had restored about 82 percent of its service in the typhoon-hit areas, while Globe Telecoms has restored around 62 percent its cellular phone signal.
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Meanwhile, searching for missing loved ones since last week's storm has become a hellish daily activity for those who survived Yolanda's wrath.
John Lajara, is one of the many survivors who still peer under slabs of crumbled concrete and heaps of debris in search for the body of his brother, Winston.
"Somehow, part of me is gone," Lajara said as another fruitless expedition in the rubble ended Saturday.
Lajara has carried out the routine since both he and his brother were swept from their house by Typhoon Yolanda Nov. 8. And every day has ended so far with no answers on Winston's fate.
US Navy helicopters flew sorties from the aircraft carrier USS George Washington off the coast, dropping water and food to isolated communities. The US military said it will send about 1,000 more troops along with additional ships and aircraft to join the aid effort.
So far, the US military has moved 174,000 kilograms (190 tons) of supplies and flown nearly 200 sorties.
The focus of the aid effort is on providing life-saving aid for those who survived, the search for missing people is lower in the government's priorities.
Del Rosario, said the Coast Guard, the Navy, and civilian volunteers are searching the sea for the dead and the missing.
Still, he said, the most urgent need is "ensuring that nobody starves and that food and water are delivered to them."(With AP/Sunnex)