Cop who estimated 10,000 'Yolanda' deaths right after all?

Kim Arveen Patria
Kim Arveen Patria
Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom
Residents walking past destroyed houses and an overturned jeepney in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines, November 10, 2013

The police official sacked after estimating 10,000 deaths due to typhoon “Yolanda” will be reinstated, as the casualty count breaches 5,000 and continues to rise.

Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria will again act as regional director of the Eastern Visayas Police after his stress debriefing, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said in a radio interview.

A police statement earlier said Soria has been relieved from his position, noting that he may have been experiencing “acute stress reaction” after witnessing Yolanda’s devastation.

Critics have however claimed that the move was a “wrongful termination” and may have stemmed from his huge casualty estimate of 10,000 in Tacloban City alone.

A petition via online platform has urged President Benigno Aquino III to reinstate Soria. More 3,000 netizens have signed the petition.

But Roxas clarified that Soria’s position would still depend on the results of his medical exams. If the police official will be unable to fulfill his duties, he will be given another post.

Netizens earlier dubbed Soria a hero, saying the official was “instrumental in galvanizing international support” for areas ravaged by Yolanda, the strongest to hit land on record.

Soria’s estimate of 10,000 killed, they said, highlighted the magnitude of the devastation. Financial and logistical support from foreign countries poured into the country since.

As of Thursday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported 5,560 deaths. Official fear that more bodies will be found as clearing operations continue.