MANILA, The Philippines -- The death toll in the Philippines due to the super typhoon Haiyan rose to 1,774 by Monday night, the government said, as the US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered his troops to step into rescue operations with over 10,000 people feared to have been killed following the devastating weekend storm.
The, with more than 600,000 displaced from their homes by the super typhoon that hit the Philippines Friday and exited the country Saturday afternoon.
The US Pacific Command's initial batch of 90 Marines and sailors flew more than 2,500 km south before arriving in the Philippines from the Marines' air station at Futenma, Japan, on a pair of KC-130J cargo planes.
Their initial efforts will involve search and rescue before transitioning to transportation and logistics of families devastated in the typhoon, locally called Yolanda,
"Roads are impassable, trees are all down, posts are down, power is down," Marine Brigadier General Paul Kennedy, the commanding general of the Okinawa-based 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, told reporters.
"I am not sure what else is there. I am not sure how else to describe this destruction."
According to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesman Rey Balido said that of the total confirmed fatalities, 1,660 were in worst-hit eastern Visayas region,
He said 82 people were still missing and 2,487 were injured.
Balido said they expected the number of casualties to increase as they were awaiting reports from other areas.
Meanwhile, as rescue workers struggled to reach some areas along a heavily damaged chain of Philippine islands, it was clear that survivors in this impoverished country will be contending with the impact for years.
Many roads remain impassable, according to the UN office responsible for humanitarian affairs, and some of the injured have no access to medical care. Even in Tacloban, one of the first areas accessed by aid workers, it takes six hours to make the 25-km round trip between the airport and the city because of the damage, officials said.
"It is vital that we reach those who are stranded in isolated areas as they are at risk of further threats such as malnutrition, exposure to bad weather and unsafe drinking water," said Luiza Carvalho, a U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Philippines.
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