The death toll from the massive typhoon that hit the Philippines is likely closer to 2,000 or 2,500, not the previously reported figure of 10,000, President Benigno Aquino told CNN in an interview on Tuesday.
"The figure right now I have is about 2,000, but this might still get higher," Aquino told CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour in an interview was posted on CNN's website.
"Ten thousand, I think, is too much," he told CNN. "There was emotional drama involved with that particular estimate."
The revised death toll estimate comes as a U.S. aircraft carrier heads for the Philippines to accelerate relief efforts.
The nuclear-powered USS George Washington, carrying about 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft, was joined by four other U.S. Navy ships and should arrive in two to three days, the Pentagon said.
"The weather is pretty bad out there, so we are limited by seas and wind," Captain Thomas Disy, commander of the USS Antietam, a missile cruiser that's part of the carrier group, told reporters in Hong Kong. "But we are going to be going as fast as we possibly can."
Philippine officials have been overwhelmed by Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest on record, which tore through the central Philippines on Friday and flattened Tacloban, coastal capital of Leyte province where officials fear thousands died, many drowning in a tsunami-like wall of seawater.
Relief supplies poured into Tacloban along roads flanked with uncollected corpses and canyons of debris as the rain fell again. Rescue workers scrambled to reach other towns and villages still cut off, which could reveal the full extent of the casualties and devastation.
"There are hundreds of other towns and villages stretched over thousands of kilometers that were in the path of the typhoon and with which all communication has been cut," said Natasha Reyes, emergency coordinator in the Philippines.
"No one knows what the situation is like in these more rural and remote places, and it's going to be some time before we have a full picture."
She described the devastation as unprecedented for the Philippines, a disaster-prone archipelago of more than 7,000 islands that sees about 20 typhoons a year, likening the storm to "a massive earthquake followed by huge floods".
About 660,000 people have been displaced and many have no access to food, water or medicine, the United Nations said.
Britain is also sending a navy warship with equipment to make drinking water from seawater and a military transport aircraft. The HMS Daring left Singapore and expects to arrive in two or three days.
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