TACLOBAN, Philippines. (AP) — Some 5,000 people have been confirmed dead in the onslaught of super typhoon Haiyan. There was an unofficial announcement that as many as 10,000 people might have died in Tacloban city on Leyte Island, just across Samar. As of press time, the government stopped the fatality count at 5,209.
Tacloban is near the Red Beach on Leyte Island where U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur waded ashore on October 20, 1944, fulfilling his famous pledge, “I shall return,” made in March 1942 after President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered him to relocate to Australia as Japanese forces pushed back U.S. and Filipino defenders.
Tacloban was the first city to be liberated by U.S. and Filipino forces and served as the Philippines’ temporary capital for several months. It is also the home town of former Filipino first lady Imelda Marcos, whose nephew, Alfred Romualdez, is the city’s mayor.